Updated date:

How To Make Fry Bread, Wojapi, and Indian Tacos

Indian Taco

Indian Taco

Fry bread is perhaps the Native American comfort food, a flatbread that is fried rather than baked, unlike most other popular flatbreads. Fry bread dough is basically the same as biscuit dough.

Probably the most common way to eat fry bread is to tear off pieces and dip them in wojapi, which is a thickened fruit sauce. While any kind of fruit or berries may be used to make wojapi, cherries are the most traditional, because choke cherries were one of the fruits gathered by Native Americans.

Wojapi is basically the same thing as pie filling—fruit that has been heated with water and thickened with flour or cornstarch.

Perhaps the most delicious way to use fry bread is to use it to make Indian Tacos. Indian tacos are simply traditional taco fillings wrapped in fry bread, instead of being put into a taco shell.

I first tasted Indian tacos when I was teaching on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Local cooks often took orders from teachers and delivered them at lunch time. Indian tacos were also one of the foods prepared for school events and fund-raisers.

Indian tacos—taco fillings wrapped in fresh, hot fry bread—are heartier and more satisfying than taco fillings served in taco shells. This is a truly special dish that is bound to become a family favorite!

Here’s how to make these Native American treats.

Fry Bread

Fry Bread

Finest all-natural artisan soaps, bath bombs, facial soaps, facial serums, and healing salves. The most luxurious bath and body products!

Finest all-natural artisan soaps, bath bombs, facial soaps, facial serums, and healing salves. The most luxurious bath and body products!

FRY BREAD

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup water

Lard for frying

Mix salt, baking powder, and flour. Add water and mix. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Break off golf-ball size piece. It is traditional to pat to flatten pieces to ¼” thickness. Most people with find it easier to roll out fry bread on a floured board, using a rolling pin. Fry in hot lard until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

If you will be using the fry bread to wrap taco fillings, keep them soft by blotting quickly on paper towels and slipping them immediately into plastic freezer bags. Fry bread that has stiffened after cooling can also be softened by microwaving for a few seconds.

Fry Bread with Wojapi

Fry Bread with Wojapi

WOJAPI—The Dipping Sauce for Fry Bread

2 cups fresh berries (pitted cherries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

2-3 tablespoons corn starch

In a saucepan, cook berries, sugar, and water together until berries are done. Mix the cornstarch in a little cold water. Bring the berries to a boil and add the cornstarch and water mixture to the boiling berries, stirring constantly. Remove the berries from heat when the sauce thickens—which will happen after a few seconds of cooking.

Serve as a dipping sauce for fry bread, or spread wojapi on fry bread like jam.

Here's one way to kind of cheat on the wojapi: Wojapi is indistinguishable from canned pie filling. After you've gone to all the trouble to make fry bread, you could serve it with warmed, canned, cherry pie filling (or other pie filling). Nobody has to know!

Open Faced Indian Taco

Open Faced Indian Taco

INDIAN TACOS

To make Indian tacos, simply prepare taco filling in the same way as for traditional tacos: Brown ground beef, and add taco seasoning and water per package directions.

Some people prefer to mix refried beans into the hamburger and seasoning mixture, both as an extender for the hamburger, and to help hold the taco meat mixture together.

Place the hamburger mixture in the middle of a warm piece of fry bread and add other toppings, such as taco sauce, chopped tomatoes, chopped scallions, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

When Indian tacos are offered for sale, the fillings and toppings are usually wrapped completely in fry bread and secured with toothpicks. This wrapping method works well when Indian tacos will be transported somewhere, either for sale or for a picnic. When Indian tacos are offered for sale, they are often wrapped in aluminum foil.

At home, Indian tacos can be served open-faced or with the bread wrapped securely around the fillings—however is most convenient for your family.

For most appetites, a single Indian taco makes a hearty meal.

Selling Indian Tacos at School Events and Fundraisers

On the reservations, sales of Indian tacos at school events and fund raisers is usually a big success, and because a well filled Indian taco is a full and really delicious meal by itself, they command a good price.

The best approach for offering Indian tacos for sale at school events and fund-raisers is to prepare both the fry bread, fillings, and toppings ahead, so that preparers need only assemble the tacos.

  • Coconut-Almond Madeleines
    Here is my original recipe for coconut-almond madeleines, as well as the basic recipe and the recipe for chocolate madeleines--along with some (perhaps heterodox) tips.
  • Gooseberry Jam with Elderflowers
    Elderflowers added to gooseberry jam impart a delicate “muscat” flavor, and give the jam a beautiful “calico” look, that makes these jams excellent for giving as gifts.
  • Cooking from Scratch for Busy Moms: Wilted Lettuce
    Wilted lettuce is an old-time traditional favorite that can serve as a main dish or light dinner unto itself, though our family generally includes a more substantial second offering. This hearty salad can become a satisfying complete meal just by...
  • Foraging and Cooking Wild Foods
    Here are a few commonly available wild plants for foraging, along with some simple recipes for making yummy wild food dishes!
  • The Stockpot and the Art of Soup
    Soup is some of the best of all cold-weather foods, and the best way to make homemade soup is to begin with homemade soup stock!

Comments

Sharon Vile (author) from Odessa, MO on December 09, 2018:

I have never tried this, but it sounds like a very good idea!

Molly on December 06, 2018:

Have you ever prepared the dough the night before you use it? I read you can put in zip lock and put in fridge. So I wanted to ask

Sharon Vile (author) from Odessa, MO on September 15, 2017:

Anything you want!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 15, 2017:

Looks good and easy to follow the instructions. Too bad can't find blueberry here. Maybe can I replace it with apple or banana?

Kelley Marks from Sacramento, California on July 04, 2017:

Gimme one of those Indian tacos! Of course I love all tacos, so I'm easy to please.

Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on April 26, 2017:

Oh my gosh, it's been forever since I had an Indian taco. Now I'm craving them! Thanks to your recipe, I'm going to try making frybread at home for the first time.

maramora on June 23, 2016:

If you want a really good version of an Indian Taco the Prairie Wind Casino has something called the "Lakota Burger"as well as the Plains version of the Indian Taco. It is such a nice fluffy bread and worth the trip.

http://prairiewindcasino.com/dining

Sharon Vile (author) from Odessa, MO on January 05, 2016:

True! But it's pretty good!

JMartin on January 05, 2016:

This is not Traditional Native American food this is reservation food. The things we had to work with after we were put on Reservations and taken away from our traditional food sources...

Sharon Vile (author) from Odessa, MO on April 10, 2014:

Thanks! Tacos are normally an easy dinner. We always did them buffet style. The fry bread makes it more of a project, but it's definitely worth it!

Lisa Roppolo from Joliet, IL on April 10, 2014:

These look really yummy, I will definitely be trying to make these over the weekend!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 26, 2014:

The Indian taco definitely does sound like a hearty meal! Fry bread with either wojapi or taco filling sounds delicious.

Author Victoria Sheffield from Georgia on March 24, 2014:

The food looks pretty darn good!