Fry bread is a Native American bread, and there are many versions, depending on the region and the tribe. There are versions made with yeast and cornmeal, and some are made with the addition of shortening, lard, or another fat, and might include an egg.
This version, made with all-purpose flour and baking powder, is a very simple fry bread with no extra fat or eggs. It's an excellent choice to go with a hearty stew or chili, or make Indian fry bread tacos with seasoned ground beef and your favorite toppings (see below). Or serve the fry bread with honey, maple syrup, or fruit jam or preserves.
This recipe makes four small fry bread loaves; the recipe is easily scaled up for a larger family.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- vegetable oil (or shortening for deep frying; enough to reach 1-inch depth)
- In a deep cast iron skillet or heavy saucepan heat about 1 inch of oil to 350 F. If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer to attach to the pan, dip the handle end of a wooden spoon in the oil. The oil should bubble around it fairly steadily when it's ready. Another way is the popcorn method. Put a kernel of popcorn in the oil. It will pop when the oil reaches 350 F to 360 F.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; mix well to blend.
- Add the milk and stir until the dough holds together. Knead 3 or 4 times on a floured surface.
- Divide the dough into four uniform pieces and shape each into a ball.
- Roll each ball of dough into a circle with a lightly floured rolling pin. Make a depression in the center of each round of dough.
- Carefully slide one or two into the hot oil and fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
- Remove the fried dough to paper towels to drain.
- Fry dough can also be spiced and sweetened with sugar and then served with syrup or honey.
- Serve the bread as a base for taco salad, or cut hot fry bread into wedges and serve with salsa or a dipping sauce.
- To make Indian tacos, brown 1 pound of ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a packet of taco seasoning and water as directed on the seasoning packet. Heat a 15-ounce can of refried beans or drained and rinsed pinto beans. Top fry bread with some refried beans or pinto beans, if using, and then top with a generous amount of seasoned ground beef. Layer with your favorite taco toppings, e.g., shredded lettuce, diced fresh tomatoes, sliced ripe olives, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, green onions, shredded cheese, jalapeno pepper rings, etc.