If you’ve ever been to Cherokee, NC, I’m sure you’ve seen the signs for Cherokee Indian Tacos. They are delicious. Indian Tacos are traditional frybread, covered with whatever toppings you like. Traditional Indian Taco toppings are: Chili, fresh chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, an sour cream.
The difference in the various types of Indian Tacos seems to be in how and what the frybread is made from. Here is a Cherokee Indian Taco recipe I learned from a true Cherokee:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup instant dry milk
- 2 cups shortening
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, powdered milk, and water into a bowl and mix just enough to form a dough ball. Make sure you don’t overwork the dough.
Heat the shortening until flakes of flour start to bubble when dropped into oil. While shortening is heating, pull off a palm sized mound of dough and slowly roll it into a smooth ball. Then flatten the ball into a round disk shape.
Size of the dough is a matter of preference and your the size of your pan. Place the dough into pan, cook until brown, turn over and cook other side until brown. You can take a brown paper bag and place a few sheets of paper towels on the bottom and drop finished fry bread into bag to let the grease drain. The recipe makes about 6 servings.
We made some of our Mountain Chili recipe prior to cooking the frybread. We placed a piece of hot frybread on to a plate, spooned chili on the center of the frybread, covered it with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, mild cheddar cheese and sour cream. I like black olives, so I threw some of those on mine.
You can also use pork, beans, fish and numerous other toppings. We’ve even seen desert versions where they are topped with fresh fruit, and whipped cream.
Regardless of the toppings used, Frybread and Indian tacos are absolutely delicious, especially when the frybread is hot and fresh. Hope you enjoy!
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Indian Taco and Frybread History
Frybread was created in 1864 by the Navajo Indians using supplies given to them by the United States Government. The Navajo where living in Arizona, and force to make a 300 mile journey, known as the “Long Walk”, relocating them to New Mexico. This new land could not easily support their traditional staples of beans and vegetables.
For many Native Americans, frybread is a link across generations and connects native Americans with their painful history. Frybread and the Indian Taco are a symbol of the Native Americans survival and cultural diversity. Frybread is often served at home, and at more formal gatherings. How it is served various from region to region and from tribe to tribe. Even the actual frybread recipes vary some.
You can read more about the history and importance of the Indian Taco here.