You can’t take a trip through the Southwest of the USA without exploring the rich and diverse history and culture of Native Americans. From New Mexico and Colorado to Utah and Wyoming, there is plenty of opportunity to educate yourself on indigenous North America, and of course that means giving yourself over to the culinary history as well.
Take your taste buds to Utah’s Monument Valley, where the 100% Navajo staff of Goulding’s Stagecoach Restaurant cook up family recipes handed down by generations. One such is for frybread, a dish often considered the “soul food” of Indian country but one which has a complicated history tied to oppression and settlement.
Despite the history surrounding frybread and its problematic place in American History, the treat is still enjoyed at many Native American eateries, given how fluffy and delicious it is. While you’re cooking up this, you should also take the time to learn the history tied to it, and explore other Southwest culinary institutions like the historic Santa Fe School of Cooking in neighbouring state New Mexico.
- 8 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups room temperature Sprite (yes, the soft drink)
- Oil for deep frying
- Mix all dry ingredients together, then slowly add water, then Sprite, mixing to form a moist ball. It is best to spray hands with oil to work dough into round balls.
- Flatten and poke a small hole in the center of each.
- Fry until golden brown, turning to brown both sides. If pan frying, use a minimum of 1 inch vegetable oil in the pan. For deep frying, set the temperature at 176 degrees celcius. Use tongs to turn over to brown both sides. Drain well on paper towels.
- Serve with honey and powdered sugar to eat as is, or serve with stew, chili or your favourite soup. Make a traditional Navajo Taco by topping with chili or beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese.