Talk about delicious! Navajo Tacos have been a favorite since college when I could get one for $1.25 in the cafeteria! I was delighted to learn from a Navajo friend, that they're really an authentic and popular Navajo dish. Many other Indian tribes in North America claim them as well. There are several variations but most are made of seasoned meat, beans, lettuce, tomato and cheese piled on fry bread -- similar to a tostada.
What is Indian fry bread?
Some Fry Bread recipes use yeast, others, like this one, use baking powder as a leavening agent. Using baking powder qualifies this fry bread as a "quick bread." You don't have to wait for the dough to rise before forming it.
Main dish or dessert?
For a main dish, divide the dough into four to six pieces. Then shape each piece into a ball. Note: if you'd like to make a sopapilla type dessert, form the fry bread into 12 pieces.
How to form Navajo fry bread
Gently pat dough back and forth between your fists/hands until it begins to stretch and flatten out. (Your can also do this with a rolling pin.) Just be careful not to handle the dough too much. If you overdo it, you'll end up with tough fry bread.
Next, shape the dough balls into round discs ¼ inch thick, and about 8 inches in diameter. You want the dough fairly thin so it will fry quickly and rise as it cooks.
Fry dough until golden on both sides, then place it on a paper towel lined plate to absorb grease.
After frying, the fun begins when you add your toppings! Meat and beans ... cheese ... lettuce and tomatoes ...
You can add extra toppings to your taste like salsa, jalapenos and sour cream. Navajo Tacos are a colorful dish bursting with flavors! The fry bread, like a sopapilla, is also delicious served with cinnamon and sugar, or honey for a dessert or snack.
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- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce 15 ounce can if you want it more saucy
- 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans drained
- ½ head iceberg lettuce shredded
- 2 green onions sliced
- 2 to matoes diced
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- optional: onions sour cream, salsa and jalapenos for topping
- 2 cups all-purpose flour + a bit more of needed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- Fry ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Drain fat. Add salt, cumin, chili powder, tomato sauce and beans to meat. Mix well until heated through. Set aside.
- Prepare additional toppings: lettuce, tomato, cheese and anything else you choose and set aside.
FOR FRY BREAD
- Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Heat milk to lukewarm (about 25 seconds in microwave) and stir into flour mixture.
- Stir gently until dough comes together. (Add more flour if needed.) On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth (about 2-3 minutes.)
- Let dough rest for 5 minutes. For large tacos: divide dough into four pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
- Gently pat dough back and forth between your fists/hands until it begins to stretch and flatten out. (Your can also do this with a rolling pin). Shape into round discs ¼ inch thick, and about 8 inches in diameter.
- Heat oil (about 1-inch deep) in heavy skillet to 375 degrees. Fry dough in hot oil until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
- Top with meat/bean mixture, cheese, lettuce, green onion and tomato, plus anything else you choose for a main dish.