I usually stay away from fried foods but when it comes to fry bread I will always make an exception. Lets face it, you just can’t make that crispy airy bread any other way. And one of the best ways to eat fry bread is to make Indian tacos aka Navajo tacos. This past year with Covid we’ve been ordering takeout instead of eating inside and I haven’t had an Indian taco from a restaurant in over a year. It tastes so much better when it’s fresh and comes out to the table warm and crisp. So I decided to make them at home and I have to say they tasted pretty darn good! The fry bread was a simple prep courtesy of Desert Gardens Fry Bread mix. Just add water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes. I used half the dough and placed the rest in the fridge to make sopaipillas the next day. For the toppings I browned ground beef and added beans and green chile. It tasted so good along with lettuce, cheese, tomato and onion. The one thing I would do is make smaller portions next time. These turned out huge and way more than we could eat but every bite was delicious!
Start by browning your ground beef over medium high heat. Break apart any big chunks with a wooden spoon. Once the beef is completely cooked, drain any excess grease and return to the skillet.
I added my favorite seasoning mix that is going to make this ground beef taste so good!
I added Stewed Green Chile from “Monroe’s” to the ground beef. It has stewed tomatoes along with the green chile and it adds more liquid than just chopped green chile. It’s gives the ground beef so much added flavor and keeps the beef juicy and moist. When we moved back to Albuquerque, Monroe’s was the first restaurant we visited and the first thing I wanted was an Indian taco. The memories of that taco are still fresh in my mind. It was so so good and that atmosphere and knowing that we were back home will stay with me for a long time!
Start with a cup of stewed green chile and then add more if needed.
I divided the ground beef and added pinto beans to my portion. Joe doesn’t care for beans so I set aside some seasoned beef for him.
Stir the beans in with the meat. At this point I turned off the heat to focus on making the fry bread. **I will reheat it just before I assemble the tacos.
Here’s the bread mix I used from Desert Gardens. You can make either Sopaipillas or Fry Bread with this mix.
Add the mix to a large bowl and add warm water.
Mix together just until it all binds together in a wet sticky dough. Place a piece of plastic wrap over top and let sit for 10 minutes.
Once the dough has sit for 10 minutes, sprinkle some flour on a work surface. I pinched off half the dough and put it back into the bowl to refrigerate until later. I took the half that I’m using today and divided that into 2 equal sized balls about 2 inches in diameter. This is the amount the box directions indicated to make for fry bread, however in hindsight I would probably pinch off a smaller bit of dough for each fry bread.
The directions said to roll each ball out to 1/8 inch thickness. After it was all made, I think I would have gone 1/4 inch thickness. These rolled out to make an 8 inch fry bread which covered much of a full sized plate. Also with all the filling and toppings it was more than either of us could eat.
In a deep skillet heat 3 inches of vegetable oil. My “rule of thumb” to know when the oil is hot enough to fry is to stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil and see if it will bubble and fry. This will let you know that the oil is hot enough to fry. I also started to reheat the ground beef while I’m frying the bread so that it will be ready to go as soon as the bread is fried.
For fry bread I’ve always poked a small hold in the center so that the dough won’t puff up like a sopaipilla. Carefully lower the dough into the oil so that it lays flat. Make sure that the oil completely covers the dough and within seconds it will start to bubble up.
Once it bubbles up like this keep an eye out for the dough to begin to turn golden brown. Use tongs to gently lift the bread up so you can see the coloring. When it turns golden brown flip the fry bread over with tongs to brown the other side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Fry the next piece of dough in the same manner.
See how huge this fry bread is! It consumed most of my plate. This mix was really good and gave the dough that perfect bubbled airy bread that your looking for. Time to start loading it up with toppings.
This is the way I load mine, with the meat and beans going on top of the fry bread.
I’m making Joe’s plate to order without beans and without onions. He likes a little bit of lettuce, lots of cheese and tomato. We also added a little more stewed green chile on the side. It was soo good!!
This is my taco loaded with lots of lettuce, cheese, tomato and onion.
To Order: Monroe’s Stewed Green Chile
1 box Desert Gardens Fry Bread Mix
1 pound Ground Beef 85% or higher
2 teaspoons Burrito Seasoning, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups Pinto Beans, homemade or from a can, drained
1 cup Green Chile or Monroe’s Stewed Green Chile
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Finely chopped Lettuce
Vegetable Oil, to fry
Alternative toppings include black olives, avocado, sour cream, guacamole, roasted corn, salsa, red chile sauce or green chile sauce
Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat. When fully cooked, drain any excess grease and return to the skillet. Add burrito seasoning and stir well. Add green chile or stewed green chile and pinto beans to the mix and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside. Will re-heat later.
Make bread mix according to package instructions. Use what you need and any extra dough can be refrigerated to use later. When dough is ready, roll each dough ball to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness. Heat a deep dish skillet with 3 inches of vegetable oil. **Reheat the ground beef mixture at this point so that it is warm and ready to go when you have fried your bread.
Test the oil with the handle of a wooden spoon. When it begins to bubble and appear to fry the handle, the oil is hot enough to fry the bread. Gently lay the rolled out dough into the hot oil and fry. It will start to bubble within seconds. Fry until the bottom becomes golden brown. Use tongs to turn the dough once and fry until the other side is also golden brown. Remove dough to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oils. Fry any remaining dough in the same manner.
When the fry bread is golden and ready to top, add a layer of the ground beef/bean mixture over the fry bread. Top with lettuce, cheese, tomato, onion or any of your favorite toppings.
Note:* A 2 inch dough ball rolled out to 1/8 inch thickness will make an 8 inch fry bread. Adjust the size of dough ball if you want a smaller sized fry bread.
1 teaspoon Ancho Chile, ground
1 teaspoon Guajillo Chile, ground
1 teaspoon Green Chile Salt (1 part sea salt ground, 1 part green chile powder)
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Coriander
1/4 teaspoon Chile de Arbol, ground
Combine all spices together. Any unused seasoning can be stored in a plastic zip lock bag for later use.