Friday, July 18, 2014

Indian Frybread Video Recipe - Indian Summer Vacation Series

This is my forth Indian Summer Vacation video, so I think it's time for a recipe.Once we were well into Arizona, and Native American town names and symbols began to appear, I became aware of Indian Frybread at gas-stop markets and restaurants. I was eager to try it, and was not disappointed.

All it takes is 4 ingredients o make traditional Indian Frybread. And the ingredients are cheap but the flavor is top shelf. Frybread is light like a large puffy and yeasty flour funnel cake/tortilla/pancake. It's simply made with oil, flour, water and baking powder, mixed then fried in lard or coking oil.

But it's a controversial addition to the Navajo Indian diet, originating when they were forced to resettle from Arizona to New Mexico over 140 years ago. They were given lard, sugar and flour by the government for the long trek, and from that arose Frybread. It has become synonymous with Indian cuisine. Now, we all know you shouldn't eat doughnuts every day, well Frybread carries the same baggage. You can read all about the controversy by clicking here.

I don't eat doughnuts often, but when I do they go down so good. I can't advise eating Frybread routinely, but as a decadent meal, you gotta try it at least once. I had it with Chili Powder sprinkled on, and my wife had it with honey and cinnamon powder.

 Frybread with Chili Powder
Frybread with honey and cinnamon

And on our drive through Arizona we stopped at a restaurant for a Frybread Taco, filling and tasty (my recipe for it is here.)

Frybread Taco

When we were touring Navajo country, we stayed in a hogan at Spider Rock Campground where we were served fresh made Frybread for breakfast, prepared by a young Indian named Lance. He said the recipe came from his grandmother. I got Lance on video making Frybread, so you get the recipe firsthand.

Lance and trailer kitchen

I shot Lance on the last day of our vacation, so this video is out of chronological order, as I have a few more Indian Vacation posts to publish. And it was a delicious way to end our stay.

Here's the Frybread recipe video I made, shot in a small trailer at the Spider Rock Campground, after a tour of Canyon De Chelly in Chinle, Arizona.

Indian Frybread Recipe - Video #4

Play it here, video runs 5 minutes, 19 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients (2 large Frybread)
2 cups white flour
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
Cooking oil or shortening - enough to fill bottom of a pan about one inch deep.

Add flour to a large bowl. Sprinkle in baking powder and mix well.

Add a little water at a time and mix into flour. Keep adding water and mixing to form a ball of dough.

Sprinkle on more flour if needed and mix into dough-ball. You want the dough to feel damp, but not sticky.

Pinch or cut dough into two rounds - these are your Frybread for cooking. This is a good time to heat up the oil in the frying pan to medium/high heat.

Now you need to flatten the first dough-ball until it's like a pizza crust or large tortilla. You can use a rolling pin, or just watch the video to see how Lance formed his Frybread rounds by hand.

He basically pulls the dough outward while rotating the ball. Once is is larger then it rests it on his fist, then whole hand, and he keeps pulling while rotating the dough. You want it thin and round. It's okay if the dough tears a little (unless you're making a Frybread Taco.)

When dough is stretched take a small pinch of it and see if the oil is hot enough. The oil should bubble right as the dough is added. Remove the small piece of dough.

Carefully lay in the flatten Frybread into the frying pan of oil. Be careful of the hot oil. Allow the Frybread to cook about 30 seconds, then start checking it to see when it first starts to lightly brown. That's when it's ready to turn over to finish frying. Depending on the oil temperature, it will take about 2 minutes total for the Frybread to cook through.

When done remove the Frybread and place on a paper towel of metal rack to drain. Repeat the stretching and frying on the other dough-ball. Lance made large bread, you could make smaller ones - maybe four instead of two Frybread.

That's it. I had it with a sprinkle of chili powder. My wife had hers with some honey and cinnamon.

My recipe version for Frybread is a click away, here.


B.Keene said...

Yum ! Can't wait for u to make it for me !! Ha

Dinahsoar said...

Mmmmm...looks good. Back in the late '70's I found a recipe for Navajo Fry Bread, to be used in Navajo tacos. I was leery that it would work, but boy did it. Delicious. Basically the same as Lance made w/ the exception of amounts and milk was used in addition to the water: 4.5 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder combined; add 1.5 cups water and .5 cup milk. Knead w/ hands. Pat or roll into circles 5" in diameter. Make a hole in the center w/ your fingers, then fry in hot oil (400 degrees) Serve w/ honey or Navajo tacos. The Navajo taco recipe said to spread the fry bread w/ refried beans; top w/ cheese and broil til melted. Then add chopped/torn lettuce.

My husband was in college and I needed low cost recipes. This fit the bill. Later I quit making it when the so called experts told us fried foods are bad for us.

At the same time (I was researching Native American recipes) I found a recipe called Indian pudding. Made w/ corn meal and honey plus a few other things. It too was delicious on a cold winter day.

Enjoying this series! The desert is beautiful. Makes me really want to come back and see it again.

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