I have no resolutions this New Year…just some things that I would like to do and accomplish and one of them is to experiment with some new flavors along with the familiar ones. Breads, the wonderful world of pizzas, taking things step-by steo are also on my list along with helping more animals. It’s an eclectic list as is this blog : ) My first little little culinary endeavor was to make some Indian Fry Bread and then dress it up into a fun dinner…in the end I came up with my version of Navajo Tacos with Homemade Indian Fry Bread.
Navajo Tacos with Homemade Indian Fry Bread
Looks yummy doesn’t it? It is and I have to tell you that it is also very healthy and oh so satisfying. This fry bread could not be easier so don’t be shy, you can make this with no problem any day of the week.
I found myself searching around for a good solid base to jump off from…so my version of Indian Fry Bread is adapted from this one from the Food Network. I followed it to a T and it was very good but I felt as though I wanted to make a few changes so I did. So I whipped together another batch changing out 1 1/2 cups of warm water to 3/4 cups of warm water and 3/4 cups of warm milk, it called for 1/2 teaspoon of salt and I increased it to 1 teaspoon (that is a personal preference…just felt it was a bit bland) and I added a tablespoon of olive oil. Even though the recipe does not call for it…it made the dough a bit richer. What is awesome about fry bread is that it is so incredibly easy to make, the ingredients are in your pantry all ready and that the fry bread is so incredibly versatile. Many times it is just serves with honey drizzled over it or sprinkles with cinnamon and sugar. You can make smaller versions and use it as a base for your favorite egg…then there is the wonderful world of tacos where any of your favorite combinations can be used…endless culinary delights await you with Indian Fry Bread as your base! If you truly don’t have the time to make the Fry Bread…you can used prepared Naan, flat breads, soft shell or hard shell tacos…or other breads you love.
Let’s make the Indian Fry Bread First and then get to the filling and toppings.
Indian Fry Bread Recipe:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 generous tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt (for those of you that do not like salt or have a restricted salt intake…use 1/2 teaspoon…this is just a family preference)
3/4 cup of warm water
3/4 cup of warm milk
Vegetable Oil for frying
Makes 6 large fry breads…each being plenty for a meal base!
Put all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Now add the warm liquids and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir just until the dough comes together. Now transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed the dough but do not over work it…I kneaded for about 3 minutes. Then transfer the dough into a clean bowl…cover with a tea towel and place in the fridge for about 45 minutes. It will not rise…but it needs to rest…don’t skip this part ok.
Now in a cast iron pan, frying pan, your choice…pour in your vegetable oil (about 1 1/2 inches worth of oil) and heat it up to approximately 350 degrees. Remember one thing…the oil has to be HOT for this to work. What I do is the old trick of just taking a little piece of the dough and dropping it into the oil…when it starts to sizzle…the oil is ready or of course you can use a thermometer. This batch of dough made 6 nice size breads and believe me…one is more than enough for anyone…you can also make 12 smaller ones. All you have to do is take an egg size piece of dough and form the rustic bread by hand…pressing outward from the center…stretching it a little…I really like this method much better than the rolling pin…the texture is a bit more rustic and has those little nooks and crannies. Each bread should be a little thinner than 1/4 of an inch. Now this step is A MUST…A MUST…make sure you cut a little hole in the center of each piece…if you don’t your bread will wiggle and curl and begin to rock and roll…really…with the hole in place it stays nice and flat with just a few little flips. So the oil is ready…I fried each one individually for approximately 3 minutes till golden brown…placing each one on a paper towel to drain the minimal oil on them. You can keep them all warm in a 200 degree oven till you are ready to serve.
Now for the FILLING …
This is so simple!!! One 15 ounce can of black beans completed rinsed until the water drains clear or if you have the time you can make your beans from the dried state…this time I went with the canned bean. 2 medium sweet potatoes or 3 if you want a bit more. 1 clove of finely minced fresh garlic, a full bunch of scallions, 1 jalapeno or habanero pepper finely diced…this is TOTALLY OPTIONAL…this will give it some heat especially the habanero. If you like a little heat I would suggest you use the jalapeno and remove the rib and the seeds to make it milder…if you don’t like any heat…simply don’t add any. Salt and pepper to taste. 2 tablespoons of olive oil. That’s it.
Cook your sweet potatoes in the oven or microwave…I am not a fan of the microwave but it works perfectly for this…each sweet potato took about 3-4 minutes depending on your microwave or you can bake them for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees…peel them and cube them. Saute your garlic and thinly sliced whites of the scallions (reserve the greens for the topping) in the heated olive oil for about 1-2 minutes…then add your beans and sweet potatoes…salt & pepper to taste then toss everything up …make sure everything gets covered with the oil mixture (it will be a light coating but a good one : ) stir and heat through thoroughly (about 5 minutes) …it’s done! This filling makes and AMAZING quesadilla.
Now for the Toppings!
Here’s a delicious salsa topping but when added to a bed of baby spinach or your favorite lettuce it becomes a healthy…happy… salad…either way it’s yummy and goes perfectly with this dish. 1 pint of grape tomatoes halved and then quartered. 1/2 of an avocado cubed. 1 clove of thinly minced. 1/2 bunch of scallions sliced thin…whites and green. Juice of two limes. Salt and pepper to taste. If you happen to have a mango on hand…feel free to cube some up and add it…it’s fabulous! Now put everything into a bowl…pour the lime juice over the mixture…add some salt and freshly ground pepper…toss thoroughly and it’s ready!
Let’s put it Together!
Grab your warm fry bread…place it on the plate…top it with the black bean and sweet potato mixture…sprinkle with your favorite cheese…we used an extra sharp cheddar and then top with seasoned or plain sour cream. I whipped the sour cream with a little whisk…adding a touch of salt…pepper and a splash of hot sauce…then put it in one of those plastic squirt bottles…you know like a ketchup or mustard bottle and squirted it from there…it works GREAT! Now you can do one of two things…you can add the baby spinach and salsa directly to the top or you can have it on the side and just add as you go. That is how I like it because that way I get a bit of everything with every bite!
Serve some sliced lime on the side.
Come and experience a tower of flavor!
You can top this yummy bread with your favorite chilli…veggie taco filling…roasted veggies…melt some cheese on it…how about some sauteed mushrooms with Jarlsberg or how about a special salad…the list goes on and on and on. One thing is for sure…it is so versatile and delicious your family will want it as a regular. Experiment! Have fun! Mix up you favorite flavors and textures…create a topping bar for the family that you know they will love! ENJOY! Stay tuned for many new fun and tasty recipes…have you tried our new Lentil Soup?
Here’s an interesting piece of Indian Fry Bread History…Native Americans used Tinpsula in the original development of their bread…I would love to experience it using ground Tinpsula…if I get a hold of some…I will be sure to share.
Its similar to a potato but comes with a husk and has a more complex taste. It’s eaten raw, stewed, or ground into flour. It used to be found from North Texas to Saskatchewan and was quite important to the different tribes of Plains Indians and others trying to survive on the edges of civilization.
The Native American culture was and is so incredibly resourceful and talented…they make incredible foods out of basic ingredients and never never ever is their waste!