A couple of summers ago, we took the kids to a Pow Wow in Oklahoma at the Pottowatomie Nation’s yearly gathering. Our middle child is a member of this tribe, so we wanted him to experience this occasion and enjoy learning all about his heritage.
They had a traditional Pow Wow that we watched, where they danced in traditional outfits to the drums. Very cool!
The food was great, especially the Indian Fry Bread! The ladies of the tribe were frantically making the fry bread as folks lined up to get their share. They made Indian Fry Bread Tacos and also served it dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey. So delicious!
According to Native American tradition, Indian Fry Bread dates back to the Navajo creating it out of necessity in 1864 when they were forced by the US government to relocate by making a 300 mile journey known as the “Long Walk”. During the 4 years of captivity and movement, the US government supplied the Navajo and Mescalero Indians with supplies of lard, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder or yeast, and powdered milk that often went rancid. Fry bread came from these meager supplies and it has become a common food at most all PowWows of numerous tribes. To some, Indian Fry Bread is a sacred tradition. It is to be consumed by the people until the earth has again become purified. Today, Indian Fry Bread is found among most all Southwestern tribes and is often named after whichever tribe the reservation belongs to.
For this recipe, I incorporated my Homemade Sourdough Starter for a deliciously tangy fry bread! If you don’t have sourdough starter, substitute with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon baking powder.
Indian Fry Bread
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 cup milk warmed
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Lard or Crisco Shortening for frying
- In a large bowl, combine warm milk and yeast, whisk to combine and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Stir in remaining ingredients and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 3 to 5 minutes or until dough is soft and satiny in texture.
- Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 1 hour.
- In a deep cast iron skillet, heat about 3 cups of lard over medium-high heat.
- While grease is heating, pinch off balls of dough and form into 6 to 8 inch discs and make a small hole in the center (no bigger than the size of a drinking straw).
- Place prepared discs into hot great and fry until golden brown on each side.
- Serve with butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar or honey, or make Indian Fry Bread Tacos.