Indian Tacos 101

Indian Tacos are delicious. There is no other way to put it. Whether you call them Navajo Tacos, NDN Tacos or Indian Tacos they all translate to one thing…a happy tummy.
For the frybread base you can either use a yeast based bread or a more traditional bannock. Most tacos that I have had that were made with bannock are a bit on the heavier side once all the toppings are on, so I tend to make a yeast based frybread.

Behold my beautiful frybread!

It’s lighter (in texture not calories…it’s still fried bread after all.) For my fry bread, I use my favorite bread recipe from my Home Ec. teacher in High School.

White Bread

2 c. milk
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. lukewarm water
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
6 1/2 to 7 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. melted butter

In small saucepan, heat milk just until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat. Add sugar, salt and 1/4 cup butter, stirring until butter is melted. Let cool to lukewarm (a drop sprinkled on wrist will not feel warm.)

Check temperature of warm water (aim for lukewarm.) Sprinkle yeast over water in large bowl, stirring until dissolved. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so yeast can get all bubbly.  Stir milk mixture into yeast mixture.

Add half the flour; beat with wooden spoon, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing it in with hand until dough is stiff enough to leave side of bowl.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured board. Cover with the bowl, let rest 10 minutes. Knead by folding toward you, then pushing down and away from you, with heel of hand. Give dough a quarter turn, repeat kneading, developing a rocking motion. Continue kneading and turning 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place on lightly greased large bowl, turn dough to bring up greased side. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk (2 fingers poked into dough should leave indentations rising is sufficient.) Punch down dough with fist, turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into smooth ball. Cover with towel, let rest 10 minutes. Take small balls of dough and flatten.  Pierce the bread dough with a fork so they will fry evenly.  Fry in mild cooking oil, flipping once to brown each side.

The following is a recipe for bannock.  If you are planning to use your bannock for tacos you have to FRY your bannock dough.  Otherwise, just enjoy the delicious oven baked bannock.

Bannock : These measurements are an approximation as most bannock makers do not follow a recipe. Trial and error is the key to perfecting bannock.

4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup water or milk (or a combination of these 2)
½ cup cooking oil or melted (cooled) lard
1 egg (for baked bannock NOT fried bannock)

Sift or whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl; creating a well in the middle. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft & moist but not sticky dough. Mix and knead and bake at 350F until it smells so delicious that you can’t stand it (Approx 20-25 minutes, but watch your oven carefully. My mom flips her bannock near the end of the time so it can lightly brown on both sides.)
**FOR FRIED BANNOCK**Flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a sharp knife or pizza cutter into squares. Score 1 or 2 lines into each square of dough so that they can cook properly. Carefully fry each piece in oil until brown and “puffy,” turning once.

Taco Meat Filling
I fry lean hamburger with the holy trinity (onion, green pepper and garlic) and drain any grease that remains. Then I add mushrooms (fresh is best but canned will do), taco-y spices, kidney beans and tomato sauce (homemade or canned.) Actually the meat base is a matter of personal taste…some people just use taco flavoured meat, others use chilli. My preference is a combination of these.

Toppings (personally I hate raw tomatoes so feel free to adjust toppings to your taste)
Shredded Lettuce
Chopped Tomatoes
Diced Onion
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Taco Sauce/Salsa/Guacamole

NDN(speechmom) Taco