Monday, May 5, 2014

Navajo Fry Bread

You know what I love?

Any reason to celebrate something with food.

And today being Cinco De Mayo, well, it was a perfect excuse for a foodie celebration. Now, I know that Cinco De Mayo is actually not celebrated much (read: at all) except in the one area of Mexico that was involved in the vicotorious fight against the French, but for some reason, we gringos have latched onto it as a reason to celebrate all things Mexican. So... I go with it.

I have been in something of a creativity rut with food and cooking and blogging... so I was pretty sure I was going to go simple with my Mexican dinner celebration... but I still looked around for potential inspiration... and found some!

My original plan, boring as it is, was tacos. (I say boring... I just mean uncreative. We love them.)

Then I saw these. Navajo Tacos. Meaning... same taco "stuff," but instead of using either a hard or soft tortilla shell, you use Navajo fry bread - a fried, crisp, golden, puffed kind of flatbread.  I know they're not authentically Mexican, but hey - neither is making a big deal out of Cinco De Mayo!  So I went for it.

The process is simple, but takes a bit of time and concentration.

Flour, baking powder and salt are mixed together, and then you dump in one cup of water.

This is then mixed together loosely to form a ver sticky dough.

Very. Sticky.

But you don't want to knead this - it's not "real" bread where you want to strenghten the gluten and develop strong bonds and all that scientific bread-making stuff. You just want to be able to work with it, to shape it into rounds.

Umm... kind of rounds. Close to rounds. You get the idea.

And then, the time consuming and must-be-careful part - you fry.

And they become beautiful and puffy and golden.

And then we just treated them like taco shells!  Well, ones you can't roll up... so... taco bases.

And let me say - they were delicious! SO worth the frying time (and minor burn... who said being a food blogger wasn't hazardous??). Even daddy, who is still doing his low-carb thing, snuck a taste and loved it. I actually am curious what else I can put on these... I bet they'd make a great base for, say, a breakfast sandwich (eggs, cheese and bacon, anyone?) or even for egg salad or something. Or just with some butter next to a salad!

So I hope you had a lovely day, whether you celebrated the faux-Mexican holiday or not. But I'll keep celebrating.

Navajo Fry Bread
(from Tips From A Typical Mom)

2 cups flour (all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water
extra flour for hands and dusting surface
vegetable oil for frying

Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Pour the water all at once into the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until combined.
Flour your hands and continue to squeeze the dough until it’s mixed well. Do not knead the dough or it will be heavy.
Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and on a floured surface and press each piece into a flat, circle shape.
In a deep heavy pot, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil on medium high heat until it reaches 350 degrees (you can test it by adding a small pinch of dough and see if it bubbles).
Fry the bread one or two at a time until browned on one side, then flip over and repeat.
Remove from oil with tongs and place on double layer paper towels to cool. You can keep the finished breads on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven to keep warm while frying the rest of them and waiting to eat.

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