Navajo fry bread is an easy flatbread that does not use yeast. It is incredibly easy to make and prepare with limited ingredients.
The lockdown has created a rush on yeast and many stores are out of stock, however, it’s easy to make bread without yeast and Navajo fry bread, once you know how to make it, is a go-to yeast-free bread that you can come back to again and again.
Navajo flatbread is said to have originated when the Native American tribe were displaced in 1864, forced to walk over 300 miles from Arizona to New Mexico. As their new land could not support their traditional diets beans and vegetables, they were forced to improvise a frybread using flour, sugar, salt and lard that was given to them by the US government.
For this reason, the relationship with the flatbread with Native Americans can be complex. While the bread symbolises their resilience in overcoming incredible hardship, it is also a symbol of colonialism.
Despite the origin of the bread, Navajo flatbread is unquestionably delicious and be made by anyone. While the Indian frybread, or Navajo tacos as it is often called, the recipe remains the same, the serving varies from region to region. Generally, ground beef and sour cream are common accompaniments.
An easy Indian fry bread recipe includes only flour, oil, milk salt and baking soda.
Navajo Fry Bread recipe
500 g flour
1 teaspoons salt
1.5 tablespoons baking powder
1.5 or more cups warm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for frying
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. Make a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the warm water little by little until you form a ball of dough. Cover the dough and let it rest for two hours. AS this is a no yeas flatbread, it will not rise, but the results will be much better if the dough rests. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and then pull off golf ball size pieces of dough. Roll them out with a floured rolling pin. In a frying pan with a thick layer of hot oil, place the bread in the pan and fry on both sides until golden brown and bubbly. The Indian taco can then be removed and served.
Navajo Fry Bread is great as a side dish to accompany almost any dish, but it is particularly good as Navajo Tacos with ground beef, kidney beans, sour cream and chillies, shredded lettuce and tomatoes.
Indian fry bread works well also as a dessert. Try serving it with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice, or even better smother it in Nutella for a real treat. It can also be served with a fresh fruit salad, drizzled with honey and nuts or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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