When I lived on the reservation in Canada (another story for another time), one of my biggest treats was the Indian fry bread that my ex-husband's mother used to make.
She tried to teach me, but I need a recipe and she was from the "you just throw some of this and grab a handful of that" kind of approach.
But now I've found a recipe that tastes just like I remember and for supper I prepared Indian Tacos. Well, more like Indian tostadas as I didn't make them large enough to fold over. But the fry bread was oh so yummy!
Indian fry bread is the Native American counterpart to the Mexican tortilla, another staple we seem to eat a lot of in our new life. It is thicker and more substantial than a tortilla, delicious and very filling.
This recipe calls for the authentic ingredients and I believe this was the big difference. You may have similar memories of your mother, or in my case my grandmother, cooking with lard. Yup, they still sell it and it's cheaper than the Crisco.
The other part is using the dry milk. Refrigeration was a luxury most of us didn't have and so dry milk was often substituted.
You will need the following:
4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder (don't use that old stuff, make sure it's fresh!)
3/4 cup instant dry milk
1 tsp salt
2 - 2 1/2 cups warm water
Lard, for frying
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, dry milk, and salt. Add the warm water and mix, using just enough to form a soft dough; cover and set aside for 2 - 3 hours.
Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for one minute. Shape the dough into a log and cut into 12 even pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out into 5 inch rounds.
Heat the lard to 360 degrees in a cast-iron skillet 1/2 deep. I used my regular fry pan and it was fine. I would suspect you could use a fry daddy also with good results, they would just be a bit smaller.
Fry the dough pieces, one at a time, for 1 - 2 minutes on each side until slightly browned. Drain and cool on paper towels. Makes one dozen.
I divided this recipe into half for the two of us, as fry bread isn't good after it cools and sits too long.
After they were drained and ready I piled on some shredded lettuce, tomatos, onions, taco meat, cheese and salsa.
We had had Navajo Tacos once while traveling through the Black Hills and I do believe mine were even better!
Long Live the Queen of Fry Bread