Sean Sherman takes a stance on Indian Tacos in his cookbook, and instead of providing a recipe for Indian Tacos he provides a recipe for Indigenous Tacos. In his own words, “we took the idea of the fast food- Indian Tacos- and slowed it down with authentic ingredients. This is a delicious and superhealthy alternative to the fry bread and commodity hamburger version“. This recipe brings my Indigenous Cuisine project full circle. I started with Indian Tacos, and now we are completing this journey with a more authentic interpretation.
These tacos were a lot of work to put together as they required corn cakes, wojape and griddled maple squash. Some of the ingredients were also hard to find such as the sumac and juniper. I found the sumac at a shop on Granville Island called The Grainry, and I found the dried juniper berries at my local farmer’s market stand. The sumac provides a lemony-citrus note, whereas the juniper is used as a replacement for pepper. This recipe was the most thought provoking to put together. In order to try out these recipes I really had to take an active role in seeking out the ingredients and following the instructions in the cookbook as everything was new to me.
These two recipes are so different, the flavours of the Indian tacos were familiar and the flavours of the Indigenous tacos were totally new. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical when I read the recipe. I wasn’t sure how the flavours would all work together. Who puts a berry sauce on a taco? But I was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully the flavours worked together. My husband and I looked nervously at our plate, and then we each took a timid bite. We looked at each other and smiled because DANG it was really good. We scarfed down the rest.
If this project has interested you in trying out Indigenous Cuisine, I encourage you to check out your local library for cookbooks, or if cooking isn’t your thing below is a list of restaurants, cafes and food trucks in BC that serve Indigenous Cuisine.
- Kekuli Cafe ( Merritt & Westbank, BC)
- Salmon n’ Bannock (Vancouver, BC)
- Thunderbird Café (Whistler, BC)
- Painted Pony Café (Kamloops, BC)
- Mr.Bannock (Food Truck)
- Lelem’ (Fort.Langley & Richmond)
- Indigenous World Winery’s Red Fox Club (Kelowna, BC)
- Kitchens of Distinction (Victoria, BC)
Griddled cakes of cornmeal.
- 3 cups water
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
In a large pot over high heat, bring the water with salt to boil. Once boiled slowly whisk in the cornmeal until smooth. Reduce the heat and simmer until thick for about 30-40 minutes.
Allow to cool until you are able to handle it. Shape the mix into round corn cakes. In a skillet over medium high heat add oil. Once hot add the corn cakes and cook until golden brown and flip. Cakes are done when they are golden brown on both sides and cooked through.
- 1 small butternut or acorn squash diced
- 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sumac
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Dice into small bite sized pieces. Place in a small bowl. Drizzle squash with oil and toss to make sure it is evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt and sumac.
In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium heat, once hot add the squash. Cook, stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking. Once the squash has softened brush with the maple syrup, if easier you can pour the maple syrup on top of the squash and stir to evenly coat. Squash is finished when it has got golden brown spots and is tender.
If needed season further with salt, sumac or maple syrup.
After cooking a pot of wild rice, reserve the cooking liquid. Place in a sealable container such as a mason jar. Allow to cool uncovered and then cover and place in fridge until use.
- 1 lb ground bison (I used ground beef)
- Generous pinch of salt
- generous pinch of juniper
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves chopped
- 1/4-1/2 cup wild rice stock
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup to taste
- Corn cakes (see above)
- Wojape (see post)
- Griddled Maple Squash (see above)
In a large skillet heat the sunflower oil over medim high heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned about 3-4 minutes. Add the ground meat, salt, juniper and sage and cook until browned.
(At this point I recommend draining the meat of excess fat, as I didn't because the recipe didn't call for it, but it was a bit too greasy for my taste).
Add the stock and simmer until the liquid has reduced which should take about 3 minutes. Season with maple syrup to taste.
To Serve: Spoon ground meat mixture over top of corn cakes. Drizzle with wojape. I also made Griddled Maple Squash to go on top. Garnish with sage as desired.