Indian Fry Bread

If you can learn to make Indian Fry Bread, you will be praised far and wide. If you can’t next time you’re invited to help with preparations for feast days, see if someone can fill you in on their secrets.

Like sopapaillas, the trick is having the oil nice and hot. Be ready for a little smoke, and if you have the means, cook it outside.

4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup shortening
1 cup warm water
Oil for frying

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening until the mixture is the texture of coarse cornmeal. Gradually add up to one cup warm water, adding only enough for the dough to stick together and form a ball.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and let it sit under a damp cloth for a few minutes. Then knead the dough until it is soft and pliable. Roll into fist-sized balls. Let rest again, covered for 10 minutes or so. Pat them out to the size of large pancakes. Don’t use a rolling pin if you can help it. That will make them tough and less airy.

Fry in an inch or an inch-and-a-half hot oil in an iron skillet if possible until golden brown on both sides. Turn it or baste it while it fries. Let cool on paper towels to blot excess oil. Serve warm.

Serves 20