Tuesday, April 17, 2018

#Next150 Challenge - Part 2 - Frybread

A couple months ago I joined the #Next150 Challenge. This week (9) the challenge takes me way out of my comfort zone.  See my #Next150 Challenge Part 1 blog posting for weeks 1 to 8.

Week 9: Bannock/Fry Bread

The challenge is to make bannock or fry bread and either post a video of you going through the baking process or a photo of the end result.

There are great instruction videos and lots of links to recipes on the #Next150 website. So I downloaded recipes. The Bannock Awareness pdf is especially good with health and Indigenous history information and a ton of recipe possibilities.

I read the recipes. I re-read the recipes. I re-read the recipes again. You see where I'm going with this?

The problem?  I'm not a good cook. Also, I hate frying. It makes my apartment smell greasy for days. I know, you can also bake bannock but I also hate wasting food (see "I'm not a good cook").  I can do easy stuff like scrambled eggs,  muffins (but only on a rainy day), and turkey meatloaf ('cause you just throw it all together). My main cooking tools are the microwave, toaster oven, crockpot, and rice cooker.

Still, I accepted the challenge.

I thought maybe I could do Victor's mom's frybread recipe, from the movie Smoke Signals. Maybe it would be magic for me.

Recipe from Victor’s Mom
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup steaming tap water
Vegetable oil for frying
Step 1: Mix ingredients together with a fork in a medium bowl. (will be sticky).
Step 2: Liberally grease your hands with vegetable oil and shape dough into a ball. Leave dough in bowl and cover with a towel and set in warm place for at least 20 minutes, but leaving longer makes the bread fluffier.
Step 3: Heat vegetable oil on medium heat at least 1 inch deep or deeper in a frying pan or electric skillet. Test a small ball of dough in grease, it should float in grease, not sit on the bottom, if it doesn’t immediately float, oil is not hot enough.
Step 4: When oil is ready, grab a ball of dough a little bigger than a golf ball and stretch out in your greased hands until dough is flattened out about the size of a large cookie. Poke a few small holes in the center of the dough with your fingers.
Step 5: Fry to a golden brown before turning over and frying other side. Drain on paper towels.
Step 6: Serve immediately with anything you like.

Okay. I did it. I think.

I made some modifications.

First I cut the ingredients by half.  If I messed up I would only mess up a little.

Then I followed the instructions up to the mixing of the stuff with a fork in a medium bowl.  Looking at the white batter I had a childhood flashback of making gluey paste out of flour and water. So I threw an egg in - it looked much better - then set aside the rolled ball for about 1/2 hour.

When I put corn oil in my little cast iron skillet, just enough to make a thick layer, not the 1 inch the recipe called for.

Like pancakes, it took a few tries before I got the right brown.

Then voila... frybread biscuits!

My biscuits were pretty bland tasting by themselves but pretty good with currant jam.  

Having never had real frybread I don't know if this is how they're supposed to turn out. I'll have to check out a pow wow this summer and find out.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to do, though. I'm thinking of trying again and maybe adding onion bits or maybe basil. Or blueberries! There are creative possibilities here!

It's said that bannock and frybread are considered comfort food.  I'm thinking I might add it to my comfort food list, too.

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