Navajo Tacos are just like a regular taco, except the corn or flour tortilla is replaced with fry bread. Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish where the tortilla is then folded around the filling. In Northern Mexico, they are called Gorditos but in the United States, they are called Navajo Tacos.
The Navajo taco was voted the State Dish of Arizona in a 1995 poll conducted by the Arizona Republic newspaper. They are now more commonly known as Indian Tacos and other Indian tribes have adopted them.
A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, beans, vegetables, and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. They are often garnished with various condiments, such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, and vegetables, such as lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and chiles. Tacos are a common form of antojitos, or Mexican street food, which have spread around the world.
- 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
- 1 tbsp oil
- ½ yellow onion diced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper
- ⅛ tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies, mild
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced black olives
- Slice avocado
- Pico de gallo
- 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.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, just until they begin to soften. Add the meat and brown with the onions.
- When the meat is no longer pink, add all of the spices, kidney beans, tomatoes, and chilies, and decrease the heat to medium-low. Stir everything together, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then use to top Indian fry bread for Navajo tacos.
- Add any toppings you like to the base of fry bread and taco mixture, piling it high.
The Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian Nation in North America. In 2002, they have a population of 290,000 people and their territory officially covers 25,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Navajo Fry bread was an invention born of necessity when the Navajo were imprisoned near Fort Sumner, and had little access to quality food. In the summer of 1863, the Navajo had been invading army forts that had appropriated their land in the areas of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. The army forced many thousands of the Navajo people to surrender by burning the areas around their lands so that there was not enough food. In 1864, the army began a series of marches to the Bosque Redondo camp near Fort Sumner in southwestern New Mexico, during which hundreds of Navajo people died.
Every weekend from April through October, thousands of Native Americans throughout the United States and Canada pack up their cars and head out to Powwows. Some families go “on the circuit” to many large Powwows which are held at different places every weekend. A traditional powwow is a social gathering of Native Americans from many nations. Powwows help maintain cultural identity and attract visiting dancers from all over.
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