The Indian Taco a.k.a. Navajo Taco, may be something that you have seen at carnivals, fairs, rodeos or other such places that are famous for innovations in deep-fried foods. An Indian Taco is a disk of Indian fry bread or bannock, smothered in ground meat, baked beans and other typical taco toppings such as lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream. In a Buzzfeed Video, a group of people were served what the producers labeled “Native American Food”. The Indian Taco was one of these foods.
The Indian Taco has become so associated with Indigenous Cuisine that it is often added to the menus of Indigenous Restaurants, and often is asked about if it is not. For example, you can order an Indian Taco from Salmon and Bannock and from the Mr. Bannock Food Truck. The concern that Sean Sherman of the Sioux Chef has with Indian Fry Bread and the Indian Taco is laid out in the introduction of his book:
“Fry bread represents perseverance and pain, ingenuity and resilience…Yet fry bread contributes to high levels of diabetes and obesity that affect nearly one-half of the Native population living on reservations…When you pile on the processed cheese and potted meats of an Indian taco, you’ve got a recipe for chronic illness and pain”
Learning the history of Bannock was really eye-opening. I think it is important to demystify the understanding of bannock or fry bread. As I have learned about the history of bannock, I became more interested in learning about authentic Indigenous food traditions. Before I jump into other more authentic recipes I wanted to give this recipe a try. The recipe that I tried is found here at Lil’ Luna.
A deep fried flatbread associated with Indigenous peoples. Served as the base of the Indian Taco.
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup warm water
1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk until combined. Make a well in the middle and slowly add the warm water while mixing with wooden spoon or your hands.
2. Mix until a dough is formed, once formed allow to rest for 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
3. On a floured surface take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll it out to a 6" disk..
4. Meanwhile, have a skillet with high edges heating over medium heat. Add oil so it is about 1-2 inches deep. Fry disks one at a time. Once golden brown on one side flip. Once golden on both sides, remove from oil and place on paper towel to allow the oil to drip off.
Indian Fry bread topped with taco toppings such as ground beef, beans etc.
- 1 lb ground beef
- lettuce shredded
- tomato diced
- sour cream
- cheddar cheese grated
- red onion diced
1. In a skillet, brown ground beef. Drain of excess oil and season with desired seasonings ( I use paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder and oregano).
2. Top Indian fry bread with desired taco toppings.