Navajo Fry Bread


Corn is a main crop raised by the Navajo. They use it in many of their ceremonies because they believe it brings good luck and a long and healthy life.

To read about the history of corn:

Story about Big Long Man's Corn Patch


This recipe is from Marilyn Yazzie, Navajo, Tsenjikini (honeycombed rock) mother's clan, Tachiinnii (Red runs into the water) Father's clan. She favors using only fresh chiles, and likes it hot. She uses lean pork and no salt, for health reasons. If you're not so sure about fiery southwestern foods, use only 1 jalapeno, or use only mild green chiles, no jalapenos. This and many others can be found in Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking (see main RECIPES page, cookbooks section).


Simpler Posole, Navajo -- serves 4-6


2 cups blue dried posole (dried whole hominy)

1/2 cup mild fresh green chiles, roasted, peeled

amd chopped or 1 4 oz can

1 - 3 fresh or canned jalapeños, peeled, seeded, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 -2 peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes (about 1 cup)

2 - 3 lb boneless pork roast

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup choppeed fresh cilantro

Salt to taste


Rinse posole in cold water until water runs clear. Soak for several hours or overnight in cold water. Place posole with water to cover in large heavy covered pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and summer, covered, till posole pops, about 1 hour. Roasat the peppers (if fresh) in a paper bag in a 400°oven for about 10 minutes , remove, cool, peel (skin slips off easily). If using canned posole (about 8 cups) or frozen (3 lbs), omit the cooking step. Add everything but the herbs and salt. Simmer, covered, 4 hours. (3 if using canned or frozen hominy). Remove meat, shred, return to pot, add herbs. Taste forseasoning, add salt to taste. Simmer, covered, 1 more hour.



Lots of Corn Recipes and Information about Corn and Tribes





Southwestern tribes made hominy by cooking the dried corn kernels in a lye water made from a mix of
corn-cob ashes and powdered lime in water, I'm informed. Either way, the net effect on the nutritional
value of the corn is that while some nutrients are leached out, those weren't in available forms anyway.
The treatment greatly increases the amounts of usable protein, usable vitamin B (especially thiamine,
rarest among vegetable sources), and adds a considerable amount of usable calcium and potassium to the
resulting food. (This is probably not true of the way factory-canned hominy is made.) If corn is the staple
of your diet, it is hominy you will mostly eat. White people were unaware of this, because relatively little
scientific attention was given to nutrition, and no scientists were willing to learn from so-called primitive
people with their so-called irrational customs. In the 1920's and '30's, there was widespread pellagra
among poor whites, especially in the south. Pellagra is a serious, eventually fatal, disease caused entirely
by nutritional deficiences that arise from eating diets largely of of milled cornmeal, chemical hominy, and
corn-off-the-cob or canned. Corn was bum-rapped by scientific nutritionists because of the pellagra
epidemic. They didn't realize that traditional people, whose diet often consisted almost entirely of corn
and beans knew how to handle it to get the best food values from it. 



Navajo Fry Bread
Navajo Fry Bread
>From the
More-with-Less Cookbook:
Sift into a bowl:
4-1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
Stir in:
1-1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
Knead with hands. Pat or roll into circles approximately 5" in diameter.
With fingers make a small hole in the center. Fry in several inches of hot
oil at 400 degrees; electric skillet is convenient. Dough will puff and
bubble. Turn when golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot with
honey, or use while fresh for Navajo Tacos.