Navajo tacos bring back good college days memories for me. They filled me up after a day of skiing and got me through finals more than once.
I remember the first time that I encountered a Navajo taco was at BYU’s “Cougar Eat”. Dinner plate-sized Indian fry bread was covered with chili, then piled high with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Sometimes, I would split a Navajo taco with a roommate, but more often than not I would eat the whole thing all by myself. (Oink, oink!)
Indian fry bread is made from a simple dough which is rolled into a flat circle and then fried in hot oil. I have found that fried dough is always amazing, whether it shows up as a doughnut, a funnel cake, a fritter or fry bread.
As expected, recipe sources vary in their listed ingredients in and methods of handling fry bread dough. The more I read about fry bread, the more confused I became–yeast vs baking powder; eggs vs no eggs; shortening vs no shortening; milk vs water. One aspect on which all of the recipes agreed, however, is that fry bread is not sweet. It can be eaten plain or topped with honey butter, or used as a base for a Navajo taco. I imagine that a good Southerner would find it lip smacking good with sorghum syrup and sour cream.
A web page by the Manataka American Indian Council finally answered all of my questions regarding fry bread recipes. On their web page, Cookin’ with Three Sisters, various fry bread recipes are accredited to each of nine different Native American tribes. After trial and error, I chose a Creek Indian fry bread recipe. With its four simple ingredients of flour, baking powder, salt and buttermilk, it was very easy and worked well for me each time I made it.
The remainder of the toppings for a Navajo Taco are similar to Mexican-style tacos. I prefer a chili topping on my fry bread, but others may prefer simple, seasoned ground beef and pinto beans. Canned chili or left-over chili works very well, too. I’ve included a simple, flavorful chili recipe for these Navajo tacos, just in case you are feeling rock-starish.
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