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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fry Bread - School Project







From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's not much of a recipe, but it comes with a fascinating history that curious minds and my older grandsons might find interesting. Fry bread is the politically correct name that has been given to what was once called squaw bread. For my friends in Asia, Africa and Europe, and others not schooled in American history, the word squaw was once used to describe native American women in an insulting and derogatory way. Native tribes across the United States have been working for decades to remove this, and other demeaning words used to describe their people, from the English lexicon. They are slowly making progress. The bread that carried that offending name was not part of their diet until the tribes were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands and placed on reservations. The Navajo call this period of their history the "Long Walk", while the Cherokee, also subject to the forced march, referred to it as the "Trail of Tears". To supplement meager food stores and prevent starvation, they were given allotments of white flour, baking powder, salt and lard by the army. They used it to fashion a simple skillet bread that became a staple of their diets while they were kept on the reservations. While no longer commonplace, it is still served at tribal feasts and gatherings and some believe that eating the bread is a sacred tradition that must be continued until the earth is again purified. Bob and I first had fry bread at a ceremony called a Tsalila that is held on the Oregon coast. The bread is traditionally made with lard and its texture depends on how it is fried. When deep fried it is fluffy and has a texture similar to Yorkshire pudding or popovers. When shallow fried, it is crisp and has a decided cracker-like crunch when bitten. This bread, like all fried doughs, is best eaten straight from the fryer. The dough can, however, be made ahead of time and be stored in the refrigerator for a day or so before cooking. The finished bread can be split and filled with meat or other fillings, but most prefer it spread with jam or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. It is very easy to make and would be wonderful for a school project. Here's the recipe.

Fry Bread
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons lard, melted (butter may be substituted)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup room temperature milk
4 cups oil for deep frying

Directions:

1) Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
2) Combine water, milk and lard or butter in a large measuring cup.
3) Slowly add liquids to flour and mix just until dough forms a ball. Knead in the bowl, about 10 times, to form a smooth ball that is not sticky. A small amount of flour may be added if needed. Cover dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.
4) Heat oil in a deep fryer or a high-sided pan. If using an electric pan set thermostat to 350 degrees F.
5) Divided dough into 8 approximately equal pieces. Pat on a floured board or with floured hands to form circles about 5 to 6-inches in diameter. Place dough, a piece at a time, into hot oil and cook for 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all dough is used. Yield: 8 pieces.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Indian Pudding - Simply Recipes
Navajo Fry Bread and Navajo Tacos - Commonplace Kitchen
Cherokee Fry Bread - Bake Space

47 comments:

3 hungry tummies said...

Mary this is so similar to a Chinese snack (ham jim bang) that I just ate, it has red bean paste filling. I am going to try making this and find out the difference :)

Kamalika said...

I love more to read ur intro always...so many things and information u share with us..that are really so nice and helpful too...loved ur fry bread too...take care and have a wonderful day...

Jhonny walker said...

What a fantastic history...The fried bread look great as well..but the info on the sqaw was just fantastic!

Angie's Recipes said...

This is quite like Chinese fried dough...I ate lots of them when I was still young and not afraid of having a few of pimples. ;-)

PeggyR said...

Great history and I'm sure the bread tastes good!

Michelle said...

My Mom used to make something similar to this or maybe it's the same thing. I remember her setting up the deep fryer on the kitchen table and laying out the hot bread to cool. As soon as it cooled enough for us to handle we ate our fill!

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

If it's bread, I'm there!

Bits of Taste said...

Wow! I am sure my son will love this.... lovely!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

The Indian recipes plus the history you put on your blog are interesting as it is something I would never see here. Thanks Diane

Sophie said...

Hello Mary!!

Brussels calling!! I had never heard from this recipe before but I am going to make this tonight!!

Thanks for the inspiration!! Great history!

The fried bread looks so tasty & apart!

MMMMMMMMM,.....

Federica said...

questo pane deve essere squisito!! aspettami che arrivo con il prosciutto!! :) ciao!

Robyn said...

Oh YUM. I love deep-fried anything but this looks just gorgeous...

Chef E said...

Yum Mary- for some reason when I was growing up in Texas we had a neighbor who made this, and my mom learned how. Seems like she might have been from NM, and it made since.

WOnderful information for us here!

Some friends and I went out to dinner the other night, and we were all so famished that one of the guys said to the waitress, do you have anything that can come out quick, then they brought bread sticks and you could instantly tell it was fried, but it was good, oh the calories :)

Martha said...

Having just come back from New Mexico, we fell in love with Fry Bread -- served with every New Mexican meal we had there first to be eaten as bread and then with honey to be eaten as dessert!

Thanks for the recipe!

Allie and Pattie said...

Mary, this is fascinating. And from the comments it seems various cultures havve their own versions. It's much like the Italian "fried dough" which was a Peasant" dish, but has evolved in America into a well-loved dessert!
xoxo Pattie

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I remember eating this on a trip to Arizona. It's addictive.

Biren said...

You always do such a good job in giving us the hostory behind the dish. Love reading about them :) This bread will be delicious sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

Joanne said...

My favorite sandwich from the Cheesecake Factory is made on fry bread...and it really is the bread and not the stuffing that makes the sandwich so fantastic! Thanks for sharing this recipe and all of the history attached to it!

Barbara said...

Fascinating history of fry bread, Mary. I was brought up in a little town in Michigan right across the river from Canada. The little Canadian town there was comprised mainly of Native Americans so I basically was brought up with them. My mother made fry bread for years...sometimes she would sprinkle confectioners sugar on it.
Lovely post!

Bellini Valli said...

onder if this is similar to bannock which has the same ingredients but the native Indians cooki it by placing ity on a stick and cooking it over a fire or in a griddle.

Mary said...

BV, it is very similar. Mary

Pondside said...

Good morning, Mary. I think many cultures have something similar - in Ottawa during winter carnival we have Beaver Tails - fry bread really.
When I was a child my mother made this as a treat every once in a while. I come from Nova Scotia, which has a rich history of trade with the West Indies - rum and molasses - so we always dipped our fry bread in molasses. Thanks for bringing back memories!

Joe Ambrosino said...

Thank you Mary,not only for the recipe, but for raising awareness of the plight of Native Americans. We in the East, because we don't live near Indian tribes or see any poor Indians may forget that our country has had a shameful history with the Native people of the Americas, one that still impacts their lives to this day.

Cottage Sisters said...

My first time trying fry bread was in Tempe, Arizona at the Tempe Street Fair. It was delicious and you could get it with beans, cheese and lettuce on it or honey with powdered sugar. I of course, picked the honey and sugar one! Thanks for the lesson on where it came from. Denise@cottagesisters

♥ Kathy said...

I had family members on the Trail of Tears. Great history Mary and delicious recipe, "not much of a recipe" or not :)

Lucie said...

Thanks for this little bit of interesting history, Mary!

Holly said...

Looks delish!!

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Vnese have fry bread too. My mom hasn't made it in years though.

When I was in SW Colorado last summer, I ate Navajo tacos. Fry bread with taco filling. And a breakfast version too with bacon and eggs.

Shree said...

I LOVE fry bread. Specially Navajo taco style.

. said...

This looks so good.
Alfazema

Cathy said...

Oh dear. Given my fondness for all things fried I know I would love this bread. Butter and jam please.

Dee said...

This looks wonderful. I have always wanted to make this. Thanks for the info. Great blog post, yum!!

Sharon said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Mary! I love *meeting* new friends!

Your blog looks so interesting and I always like learning the history behind a recipe. I signed up to follow your blog and know I'll enjoy visiting often. :)

Have a wonderful day!

Cherine said...

Looks wonderful and delicious!

The Blonde Duck said...

I remember eating this in Arizona once!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

What a great background lesson on fry bread, Mary. There is a yearly pow-wow here in NY where they make frybread 'tacos' using ground buffalo meat. I never made my own. They look delicious and their so versatile!

Danielle said...

I am loving this recipe!! Thank you for the history lesson. I had heard of the bread before but didn't know of it's origin. I like the name Fry Bread much better :)

Lori said...

Most people dont even realize how Indians have suffered, even aside from Trail of Tears. Its a travesty. Did you see what Stephen Hawkings said about not wanting aliens to arrive because most likely they will do to us what we did to the Indians? There was quite a buzz about it. It was on Yahoo.

Devaki said...

How wonderful and I learned something about Native American Indians. Great history lesson and yummy eats.

You are the best! BTW, Love the Bill Gates article. I have printed it and tapes to the door of my boys rooms.

Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

Debinhawaii said...

I love fry bread--such a fun guilty pleasure! ;-)

NikiTheo said...

OMG, I love you for posting this!!! There is a sandwich at the Cheesecake Factory that puts their filling in fry bread and I love it but don't get to go often! I can't wait to try this!

Genie said...

I'm Chinese living in New Zealand and I can confirm that this is similar to both Chinese fry bread and Maori fry bread.

Carla and Michael said...

I am in bread heaven right now. I'll go for a savory filling please. This is such a wonderful and easy way to make a pocket for filling with anything you want for a sandwich. Now I don't have to pay 3 dollars for pita bread or flat bread. You are such an inspiration. Thank you again, as always.

Karen said...

I once lived close to an Indian Reservation in Arizona. On Saturdays we'd walk to the tribal offices where they had a snack bar and chow down on Fry Bread. My favorite way to eat it is with beans and cheese. We'd make them at home as teens and just used self-rising flour with a little water. Impatient we were!

Tuty @Scentofspice said...

Fry bread across cultures... in the Caribbean, they are called "Bakes"... Interesting isn't it? Trinidad is famous for its Sharks & Bakes.

In Indonesia, they are called Roti Bantal meaning Pillow Bread.

Have a blessed weekend, Mary.

Andreas said...

Where can I sign up for that school project?

;)

Sarah O. said...

I once spent two weeks on a Lakota Sioux reservation with my church youth group. Five of us were working on a house that had been damaged by a storm. The family of nine that lived there was impoverished, but every day when we showed up to work the mother would have hot fry bread waiting for us. It was so sweet. At the end of the week we all signed T-shirts for each other, and she wrote on mine, "Fry bread buttz drive men nutz!" I treasure that T-shirt to this day. :]

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