Bannocks, Fry Bread and Indian Tacos


Bannocks Fry Bread


Bannocks, Fry Bread and Indian Tacos

Whilst travelling in Canada recently, I saw the emergence of more and more First Nations restaurants and cafes in the towns and cities I visited, where Bannocks, Fry Bread and Indian Tacos are the signature dishes at most of these authentic indigenous eateries; and, whilst eating in these restaurants, I learned that the bannock is more than just daily bread to the First Nations Peoples of North America, it’s a symbol of their identity, history and culture, it’s so important, that The Ministry of Forests produced Bannock Awareness in commemoration of Aboriginal Awareness Day, which is celebrated annually on the 21st day of June. I was fascinated with the Canadian First Nations’ Bannock, as being part Scottish, I know bannocks as a traditional Scottish recipe, and although the bannock in Canada is reputed to have come across with the Scottish fur traders who worked with and for the Hudson’s Bay Company, there is also evidence that the Indigenous Peoples already had their own bannock type recipe, which the following article by Michael Blackstock explains:


Bannocks

The History of Bannock

“The Aboriginal staff of life, Bannock, is common to the diet of virtually all North America’s first peoples. The European version of bannock originated in Scotland and was made traditionally of oatmeal. The bannock of Aboriginal people was made of corn and nut meal, and flour made from ground plant bulbs. There were many regional variations of bannock that included different types of flour, and the addition of dried or fresh fruit. Traditionally, First Nation groups cooked their bannock by various methods. Some rolled the dough in sand then pit-cooked it. When it was done, they brushed the sand off and ate the bread. Some groups baked the bannock in clay or rock ovens. Other groups wrapped the dough around a green, hardwood stick and toasted it over an open fire. Pioneers may have introduced leavened breads to the Aboriginal people. The use of leavened breads spread and adapted from there. Pioneers also introduced cast-iron frying pans that made cooking bannock quicker and easier. Today, bannock is most often deep-fried, pan-fried and oven-baked. Bannock is one of the most popular and widespread native foods served at pow wows, Indian cowboy rodeos, festivals, and family gatherings.”


Description English: Indians trade furs at a Hudson's Bay Company trading post in the 1800's. Date 26 September 2013, 15:55:26 Source Historic image from the Hulton Archive Author Unknown artist from 1800 According to Getty Images

Indians trade furs at a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in the 1800’s. Unknown artist from 1800

I am sharing two recipes today, one for Bannocks, but the Fry Bread variety, and one for Indian Tacos, the bannock recipe was found here: Basic Bannock Recipe (Fried or Stick-cooked), and I changed the measurements to metric for use in Europe and Australasia. Michael Blackstock also shares a recipe for Indian Tacos, but I tried to replicate today’s recipe from the dish I enjoyed at Feast Cafe and Bistro in Winnipeg, so, my recipe is slightly different to his, which is shared below:



Fried Bannocks: Michael Blackstock


Fried Bannocks: Michael Blackstock

Indian Taco
(Deep-fried)

Cook the Navajo Fry bread in cooking oil that has two tablespoons of lime juice added.

Top the cooked bannock with: chilli, shredded strong cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and onion (sour cream and salsa are optional).

– Michael Blackstock –


Feast Indian Tacos

Indian Taco in Feast Cafe Bistro, Winnipeg, MB

Navajo Fry Bread (Bannock)
(Deep-fried)

3 cups unbleached flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk mixed with
3/4 cup hot water (hot enough so mixed liquid is almost too hot to touch)
1 tbsp oil or shortening
oil or shortening for deep-frying (heated to 360°F)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in milk/water mixture and knead briefly with lightly oiled hands until smooth. Rub the remainder of the one tbsp of oil over the dough. Cover and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Pat or roll enough dough to fit in the palm of your hand in a circle about 1/8” thick (at least, a touch thicker is better). Deep-fry the dough in hot oil or shortening for about one minute per side, or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 pieces.

– Aboriginal Tourism – Native Cuisine –


Indian Taco at Feast Cafe Bistro in Winnipeg

Indian Taco at Feast Cafe Bistro in Winnipeg

I was very pleased with the way my fried bannocks turned out, and even happier with my Indian Taco! I’ve shared both recipes below, and I think they’d be wonderful for an alternative family mid-week supper, or for a TV sports day or weekend, with a beer or two. (Six Nations Rugby I’m thinking at the moment!) Fry Bread Bannocks are definitely on my weekly menu now, as well as the baked versions that I have seen, more akin the original Scottish bannocks recipe my grandmother used to make; they can be made sweet or savoury, and as a quick unleavened bread, they are a Godsend for frazzled cooks with not much time on their hands. This is the first in a new series of Canadian recipes I will be sharing, so do keep popping back to see more recipes from Canada, both historical and modern.


Indian Taco with Bannocks Fry Bread

Before I go, I’d like to share a list of some of the First Nation’s cafes and restaurants in Canada – if you know of any more that I may have missed, do please let me know in the comments below! I hope you will try my Bannocks (Fry Bread) and Indian Taco recipes, and DO let me know if you make them, and how you enjoyed them. I will also be back very soon with a new post, “Why Not Winnipeg in the Winter”, based on a recent press trip to the city, and with lots of activities you can enjoy, as well as places to eat in the city…….have a great week, Karen 



Fry Bread Bannocks


Bannock – Fried Bread

An authentic recipe for First Nations Bannocks or Fry Bread; these easy to make unleavened bread cakes are the mainstay of the indigenous peoples of Canada and North America as a whole. The mixture can be prepared in advance for campfire cooking in the field.

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons of fat (such as bacon grease, butter, lard or margarine)
  • 2 tablespoons skimmed milk powder
  • cold water, to mix
  • fat or oil, to fry

Note

An authentic recipe for First Nations Bannocks or Fry Bread; these easy to make unleavened bread cakes are the mainstay of the indigenous peoples of Canada and North America as a whole. The mixture can be prepared in advance for campfire cooking in the field.

Directions

Step 1 Mix all of the dry ingredients together, and then rub in the fat until it resembles coarse sand. At this point, you can store the mixture in a sealed zip-lock bag for cooking in the field, as in over a camp fire.
Step 2 Grease and heat a heavy based frying pan/skillet. Add cold water to the mixture, working quickly to mix it all together, to make a firm dough. Separate the dough into cakes about 1/2″ thick, flatten them out, and sprinkle with extra flour.
Step 3 Fry the bannocks in the pre-heated and greased pan for 6 to 7 minutes, until a crust has formed underneath, then flip them over and continue to fry on the other side for a further 6 to 7 minutes. It will take between 12 to 15 minutes to cook all the way through. (If you are in the field and you don’t have a frying pan, make a thicker dough by adding less water and roll the dough into a long ribbon (no wider than 1 inch). Wind this around a preheated green, hardwood stick and cook about 8 inches over a fire, turning occasionally, until the bannock is cooked)
Step 4 Serve the fried bannocks immediately with jam, butter, honey or as an accompaniment to fried eggs, bacon, chilli or soup and stew. You can also use them as a base for Indian Tacos.


Indian Taco with Bannocks

Indian Tacos with Fry Bread Bannocks

These delicious Indian Tacos are popular in Canada, where I first tasted them, as well as the whole of North America. They are a First Nations take on Mexican tacos, but in place of maize tortilla tacos, they use Bannocks or Indian fry Bread as a base.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 cooked bannocks, fry bread
  • 400g lean minced beef
  • 1 sachet taco seasoning
  • Iceberg lettuce (shredded)
  • chopped tomatoes
  • 4 spring onions, chopped (or half an onion, peeled and chopped with fresh chives)
  • 125g tinned sweet corn
  • 125g grated Cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • sliced jalapeno peppers

Note

These delicious Indian Tacos are popular in Canada, where I first tasted them, as well as the whole of North America. They are a First Nations take on Mexican tacos, but in place of maize tortilla tacos, they use Bannocks or Indian fry Bread as a base.

Directions

Step 1 Fry the bannocks according to the recipe, cover and keep warm.
Step 2 Dry fry the minced beef in a frying pan for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring all the time; add the taco seasoning according to the packet instructions with water, and continue to simmer until the the meat is fully cooked and the mixture is thick and dry with no excess juice.
Step 3 Top each cooked bannock with the taco mince, then add the shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions, sweetcorn and half of the grated cheese.
Step 4 Top with sour cream and sliced jalapeno peppers and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Serve immediately.

Manitoba:

Cookem Daisey’s, Winnipeg


Cookem Daisey's, Winnipeg

Cookem Daisey’s, Winnipeg

Neechi Commons Come ‘n Eat, Winnipeg


 sweet potato croquettes

Sweet Potato Croquettes, Neechi Commons Come ‘n Eat

Feast Cafe Bistro, Winnipeg


Bannock Cheese Burger & Bison Chilli, Feast, Winnipeg

Bannock Cheese Burger & Bison Chilli, Feast, Winnipeg

Ontario:

Kokom’s Bannock Shack, Dryden


Kokom's Bannack Shack Indian Taco

Kokom’s Bannack Shack Indian Taco

Tea-N-Bannock, Toronto


Tea'n'Bannock Burger

Tea’n’Bannock Burger

Alberta:

Native Delights, Edmonton


Native Delights Bison Roast and Berry Salad

Native Delights Bison Roast and Berry Salad

British Columbia:

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt & Westbank


Saskatoon berry smoothie at Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon berry smoothie at Kekuli Cafe

Salmon n’ Bannock, Vancouver


Salmon'n'Bannock Sockeye Salmon

Salmon’n’Bannock Sockeye Salmon

Thunderbird Café, Whistler


Thunderbird Cafe, Whistler - Venison Chilli with Fry Bread

Thunderbird Cafe, Whistler – Venison Chilli with Fry Bread


Indian Taco with Bannock


Indian Taco with Bannock


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