Made with simple ingredients, frybread (also spelled fry bread) is a flat dough bread flatbread recipe that can be eaten alone or with various toppings such as honey, jam, powdered sugar, venison, beef, and more. Frybread can also be made into tacos, like Navajo tacos.
Pan Frito ~ Navajo Frybread
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- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 ½ tbsp baking powder
- 6 tbsp margarine
- 1 cup milk or water
- 2 inches vegetable oil
- Combine flour, salt, baking powder and shortening; mix until shortening is blended. Add water; mix well. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Roll dough into a ball; place into a plastic bag and let sit for 10 minutes. Separate into 10 balls and roll out each ball of dough to make 10 (4-inch to 6-inch) flat, thin rounds.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees F. Place rounds in oil one at a time; cook each side 18 to 35 seconds or until light golden brown. Remove rounds from skillet with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Fill with prepared fillings as desired or eat as a bread with soups and stews.
History of Frybread
The most common story is that Frybread was introduced to the Native American population in 1864 by the United States government when the Navajo, who were living in Arizona, was forced to make the 300-mile journey known as the “Long Walk” and relocate to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. The land could not easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans. New Mexican cuisine style sopapillas also share this origin due to Pueblos and Hispanos of New Mexico having a similar subsistence at this time. Boarding schools also helped to spread frybread in Native American diets.
However the Spanish conquest of the Americas brought European white wheat flour introduced during the colonial period of New Spain replacing corn. Which means that Native American tribes would have been aware of flour as an ingredient in cooking long before the forced march led by Col. Christopher “Kit” Carson and the U.S. Cavalry in 1864.
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