Included here are two traditional Native American recipes: one for Indian Fry Bread and the other for Wojapi, a thick berry sauce. Wojapi is a Lakota word meaning “chokeberry pudding.”
Indian Fry Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees F)
- 4 cups shortening for frying
- Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Stir in 1½ cups lukewarm water.
- Knead until soft but not sticky.
- Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes.
- Shape dough into balls about 3 inches in diameter.
- Flatten into patties ½ inch thick, and make a small hole in the center of each patty.
- In a deep cast iron skillet or heavy saucepan, heat about 1 to 2 inches of oil in the pan to 350 degrees.
- If you don’t have a deep-fry thermometer, dip the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil; the oil should bubble around it steadily when it’s ready.
- Fry one at a time in the hot shortening.
- Turn each one until it is brown on both sides and poofs up, frying for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
- Drain on paper towels.
Serve with wojapi, fresh berries, fruit jam or preserves, honey, sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, or other sweet sauce. You can also use the fry bread for tacos, taco salad, or sandwiches.
Wojapi is a thick berry sauce, like jam or even pudding, that is traditionally made with corn flour, honey, and a combination of wild berries that can be found growing on the Great Plains, like chokeberries and buffalo berries. Today, it is also made using blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, or any combination of fresh berries.
- 6 cups fresh berries to cook for the sauce
- 1 cup or more of fresh berries to be kept intact
- 1 1/2 cups water to cook the sauce
- 1/4 cup water to mix with cornstarch
- 1-2 tablespoons wild corn flour or cornstarch
- Honey, sugar, or sugar substitute to sweeten to taste
- Clean the berries.
- Place the berries in a mixing bowl and mash the fruit. A potato masher works well.
- Add the fruit and water to a large saucepan.
- Add the berries that will be kept intact.
- Bring to a boil.
- Stir, being careful not to burn the berries.
- Reduce the heat and simmer the pulp on low heat for one hour.
- Watch the pot carefully and stir constantly.
- Taste and see if you need to add honey or sugar to sweeten to your taste. Adding honey or sugar may not even be necessary, depending on the sweetness of your berries. Remember, the purpose of the sauce is to taste the berries, not sugar.
- Continue to simmer to reduce the berry mix to the thickness you want. Wojapi is sometimes enjoyed with the thickness of pudding.
- Or place one tablespoon of cornstarch into a cup and add cold water. Slowly add to the hot pot of berries and stir to the thickness you want.
Serve with fry bread. You can also serve wojapi with waffles, pancakes, toast, or rolls. I also enjoy it on ice cream and on fish, pork, chicken, and bison.
I have enjoyed Indian fry bread served with buffalo berry wojapi in South Dakota, served with chokeberries in a remote Navajo home in Arizona, served with huckleberries at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort on the Warm Springs India Reservation in Oregon, and served with strawberries and blueberries that I picked on Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch and treated Miya and me on her visits to my homes in the Pacific Northwest.