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Every summer I make my way to several of the native Pow Wows in my area to enjoy the culture and the Indian Tacos. What I find exciting about native food is that it is often simple and sustainable and for a prepper, those are two things that matter. I spend a lot of time thinking about food networks and distribution and as some of you may know, I live in that area of California that burns each summer. This past summer fires forced us to evacuate four times and we were told to get out another two but stayed. Food preparedness that is easy and sustainable matters a lot in a situation where incoming food supplies are questionable. This was true this summer when we experienced whole towns evacuate as major road systems closed. These situations bring home the reality of natural disasters on a “when”, not “if” scale. In this blog, I will provide a recipe for Indian Fry Bread. I will also ramble a bit about how to use the recipe and why learning how to make this traditional food is important.
Indian Fry Bread
- 2 cups of flour – All-purpose flour works well. You can also use other varieties such as wheat flour or spelt flour.
- 1 Tbsp of Baking Soda
- ¼ – 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1 ½ cups of water
There is no yeast in this recipe so adding sugar is optional. You can also substitute things like seasoning salt for table salt, mix flour types, add herbs, pepper, and garlic, etc. The recipe is just basic and alters easily.
Mix the dry ingredients and add that mixture to the warm water. You can use cold water, but you will have to stir more. The dough should be sticky and come away from the sides of the container but not be well-formed like bread. This recipe makes six fry bread pieces.
Divide the dough into 5-6 equal balls and mash them in the palm of your hand using a slight twisting motion – Like making a tortilla. The bread should be about ½ inch thick before frying. You can make it as thin as you’d like but it will cook faster.
Traditionally, the Native Americans cooked the dough on a hot rock or held above the fire with sticks. The modern version we fry the dough in oil or butter. You can cook it without the oil in a cast iron pan or as mentioned on a hot rock. If you opt to fry them, the oil should be in the 325°F -350°F range. An easy way to tell is to drop in a single kernel of popcorn. When it pops, the oil’s temperature is about 330°F. Cook the dough until it is golden brown on both sides – Usually about 2 minutes or less in hot oil.
What to Do Now?
The fry bread is a wonderful start to a simple meal. Now all you need to do is to top it. The bread adds a versatility to meal prep and especially for prepping situations. Some ideas topping included pulled pork, chili, vegetables, and cheese, etc. You can also turn this into a sandwich or tacos. In fact, the list of what you can top these with is quite long and nowhere near exclusive. In this blog, we will talk about pork fajita – with Wertz Canned Pork – as a possible topping for this wonderful bread.
Making the Fajita Spice Mix
Most of us just rip open a store-bought envelope of seasoning and move forward. Around my house, we enjoy the art of cooking. Basic spice mixes are essential in the production of great food and they are a huge opportunity to make recipes your own. When you buy an envelope of seasoning at the store you are buying a company’s recipe for how food should taste. Nonsense in my book. Make your food taste like you want it to taste. If you have ever been to a BBQ cookoff then you have experienced the goodness (and madness) of developing proprietary blends of spices. Pork is pork – Beef is Beef – but when you season it just right it becomes a favorite meal.
Fajita mix is just a few ingredients – Chili powder, paprika, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. In fact, you can make a single batch by adding a teaspoon of everything on this list except for the pepper – a generous pinch will do. Around here garlic is a favorite and I grow a lot of it, so we use fresh garlic over garlic powder. You can grow Cumin – Cuminum cyminum – in your garden. Cumin powder is simply the crushed seeds of this plant. It is part of the parsley family and kind of looks like dill or fennel. Cumin powder is a staple in many Latin American dishes. You can also make your own chili powder if you grow your own chilis. Generally, commercial chili powder is made from the ancho chili to which they add many of the above spices – cumin, paprika, oregano, etc. Make it yourself. You can mix pepper varieties also so that you make it hot or mild or somewhere in the middle. Of note: If you make your own chili powder do not expect it to be red in color, it is usually a red-brown color because you are not adding the food dyes.
Fajita Seasoning – One Teaspoon of each:
- Chili powder
- Oregano – use less if using fresh herbs. Mexican oregano is awesome in this mix.
- Salt – we use pickling salt or kosher salt for cooking and iodine salt for the table.
- A good pinch of pepper – adjust to fit your tastes
That is all that you need to make a general version of fajita seasoning. In fact, you can use this for many Mexican and Latin dishes. Just tweak it to fit your needs and tastes.
Fajitas are sautéed peppers and meat in a sauce. These are usually drier than they are wet and oven roasted peppers are awesome in this. We use a variety of onions and peppers in our fajita, which adds value to that which I am always saying – Grow what you love. I am fond of Marconi peppers, Bells, Jalapeno, Ortega, Yellow wax or Banana peppers – these are all sweet peppers. You can go hot with Anaheim, Ghost, Sriracha, or Cayenne peppers. All are hot, some more than others. Beware the Ghost Peppers, even touching them can cause blisters. Also, if you are going to work with hot peppers, wear latex food gloves. These all have a hot wax that will get into the folds of the skin on your hand and cause blisters.
You will also need the juice of a lime. I buy them when they are in season by the bag and then juice them. Pour the juice into a dedicated ice cube tray, and freeze. You can store the frozen lime cubes in the freezer in a freezer bag and use them as needed. You can preserve lemon juice this way too.
This is easy and one of the reasons I love it – besides the great taste – is that these are so simple to make. Just slice up the peppers into thin strips – the term in cooking is Julienne. Julienne the peppers and onions and set aside. Add a small amount of oil to a pan. – a light drizzle is all. Because we are not frying the pork, we don’t need to use much oil. Heat the oil, add the julienned peppers, and onions – I mix a half a yellow onion with a red (hotter variety.) Open the can of Wertz pork and dump in the juice from the can into the pan with the peppers and onion. Add the dry mix and simmer until the peppers and onions wilt. Add the pork from the can. I put it on a dish and gently mash it with a fork to make it more like pulled pork. If the mixture is watery, you can thicken it with a roux. In a small dish or bowl, add 1-teaspoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of hot liquid from the pan. Mash the flour and liquid into a paste. Add more liquid as needed. Your goal is to have a paste that is uniform in texture – no lumps. Add this to the pan and stir. The roux should thicken up the mixture. If you over-thicken the fajitas just stir in a tablespoon of water. The recipe is very forgiving.
Top of your fry bread with a portion of the cooked meat, peppers, and sauce. Garnish with cheese if desired.
Drizzle oil into a pan and heat over medium heat – We use cast iron and a 10-inch frying pan will work just fine.
Add the peppers, onions, and broth from the canned pork, and dry seasoning mix to the pan. Stir. Let the moisture evaporate. So that the sauce thickens. If you find that your sauce is too thin just use a roux as described above to thicken the sauce. You can also use cornstarch and hot water.
When the vegetables wilt, add the pork to the pan and stir a few times.
Let the mixture heat and then add as a topping to your fry bread.
Garnish and enjoy.
I am a big fan of Wertz foods, so I recommend their canned pork for this recipe. I find their meat is firm, tender and flavorful. It helps that it is also GMO-free and that they use environmentally positive farming and ranching methods. Plus, their meat products are made right here in the USA and they use the prime cuts too, not just the chuck. Good meals start with good food and Wertz has always been good food in my kitchen. You could also substitute their canned beef for this and make beef fajitas too. Or, you could also be interested in our stew recipes with canned beef or pork.
Learning to make easy and nutritious foods is important. These types of recipes stretch food supplies by making it easier to use fresh foods longer.
David Stillwell is a lifelong naturalist with a background in healthcare and biology who lives in the heart of wildfire territory in Northern California. Prepping for him is a way of life and necessary on a daily basis. He focuses on food production and agriculture and grows 80% of what he consumes.