Navajo Fry Bread

Thank you for sharing!

Last Updated on November 13, 2019 by Chef Mireille

Navajo Fry Bread, Indian BreadIn my junior year of college, I went away to the University of New Mexico as part of the National Student Exchange program. This is a great program that allows you to go to another university in another state, but still pay your own school tuition, as you are still considered a student of your home university. As such, you also don’t have to worry about credits transferring as the schools arrange it so that all schools within the program recognize each other’s classes and credits. If you live in the US, you will know that universities always have two tuition rates. One for in state residents and a higher cost for out of state residents and it is usually quite a big difference. Therefore, it is far more expensive to go to a university outside of your home state. The only extra costs then are room & board. This allowed me to go out of state for a year, without it costing my parents an arm and a leg.

New Mexico took a while to get used to, both environmentally and culturally. Living in Albuquerque with a much higher elevation than NYC, oxygen levels are different. Therefore, I spent the first two weeks sleeping when I wasn’t in class. The different oxygen levels make you sleepy all the time. Once that passed, I was able to enjoy the new culture a bit more. You might say but it’s the same country, how much cultural difference can there be? Well, quite a lot.

First of all, there was the food. Where the Latin food in New York is mostly Dominican and Puerto Rican, in New Mexico the only Latin food was Mexican. My regular readers no how much I LOVE plantains. No plantains ANYWHERE. Even Chinese food tasted totally different and forget about delivery. Here in NYC EVERY Chinese restaurant delivers, if I wanted Chinese food in Albuquerque, I had to go and get it myself. However, the biggest adjustment was learning about the Native American culture. Here in NYC, we don’t have many Native Americans, so my image of Native Americans was what I see on TV, brown skinned people with long straight black here. Well I learned that is only the representation of the Navajo, but the different tribes look very different. For example, the Zuni look more Korean, with light skin and slanted eyes and the Cherokee can look Caucasian, with blond hair and light eyes.

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Thanksgiving I spent with a friend of mine who had a Cherokee mom. If you saw my friend Terri with white blond hair and crystalline blue eyes, her being Cherokee was not something that would ever have occurred to me. Her mother spent the evening telling me mystical Native American stories…so much that I couldn’t sleep alone that night as every time I opened my eyes, I saw a Native American man watching over me. This was all in my mind (I think), but it seemed very real to me. In the middle of the night, I had to knock on Terri’s door so I could sleep with her.

One thing that I fell in love with while living out there was Native American cuisine. For any new transplants to New Mexico, one of the first requisite excursions is a visit to a reservation, which I did within a week of my arrival. I stayed away from the stews of rattlesnake or gopher, but the sweet treats and flat breads were something I could sink my teeth into.The cuisine is not for the faint of heart, as a lot of deep frying is used and traditionally, most things are fried in lard. Navajo Fry Bread became one of my favorite things to eat. Every Wednesday, the Navajo club on campus would sell fry bread and other treats. Every Wednesday, I was there to get my fry bread, slathered with honey or melted butter and powdered sugar. These are also sometimes used as a base for Navajo Tacos, but here’s the sweet presentation.

This recipe is from a cookbook that I got from a used book store, which I would spend hours perusing when I lived there. It was my Sunday afternoon excursion, if there wasn’t a football game or some other activity going on at school. It’s called The Best from New Mexico Kitchens, filled with Native American and Tejano (Southwestern cuisine of Mexican descendants) recipes.

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Navajo Fry Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 7 breads

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • honey, for serving
  • melted butter, for serving
  • powdered sugar, for serving

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add water a little at a time and knead until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. (you probably will not need all of the water)

Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Heat a pot with enough oil for deep frying.

Tear off a piece of dough about the size of a peach. Pat and stretch it into a thin round. If you can do this by hand like an expert pizza maker – fantastic! If not, place on a lightly floured surface and with your fingertips, stretch the dough outward. Make it as thin as possible without the dough breaking. Poke a hole in the middle.

Bread -edit

Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve, drizzled with honey or melted butter and powdered sugar.

Indian Fry Bread -edit

Notes:

This is a somewhat healthier version. 100% all purpose flour versions are more popular and traditionally, it would be fried in lard.

This does not reheat well, so size down the recipe accordingly, if necessary.

…I even still have my dreamcatcher from my New Mexico days…

Fry Bread -edit

I hadn’t eaten this since I left New Mexico 20+ years ago. I had forgotten how good it is!

Bread and Honey -edit

Navajo Fry Bread, Indian Bread
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Navajo Fry Bread

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Servings: 7

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • honey for serving
  • melted butter for serving
  • powdered sugar for serving

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add water a little at a time and knead until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. (you probably will not need all of the water)
  • Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Heat a pot with enough oil for deep frying.
  • Tear off a piece of dough about the size of a peach. Pat and stretch it into a thin round. If you can do this by hand like an expert pizza maker - fantastic! If not, place on a lightly floured surface and with your fingertips, stretch the dough outward. Make it as thin as possible without the dough breaking. Poke a hole in the middle.
  • Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve, drizzled with honey or melted butter and powdered sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I'd love to share them!

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Thank you for sharing!

About Chef Mireille

CHEF MIREILLE - AUTHOR, RECIPE DEVELOPER AND PHOTOGRAPHER FOR Global Kitchen Travels
***
Chef Mireille is a NYC based freelance chef instructor and food photographer. Due to her very diverse family background, she was able to travel and learn about global cultures and flavors from a young age. Her passion for culture, cooking, history and education had made her an expert on developing traditional globally inspired recipes & delicious fusion cuisine.
Her extensive travel history provides a plethora of background information and Travel Tips!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Usha

    Nice write up about your experience in New Mexico. I can relate to the cultural differences with in the country, having lived in other parts of the country before moving to NYC.

  2. Sowmya

    This is one of the reasons I stalk your blog…you have unique, one of a kind recipes I don’t hear about elsewhere….will add this to the list as well!

  3. Holly @ Woman Tribune

    I really need to try this bread! My husband frequently makes his own pizza dough and the difference it makes compared to ordering out is astounding. This recipe just made my short list of breads we need to try, and I love that idea of squirting some honey on it.

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