Indian Tacos are a popular food at fairs and Indian cultural events throughout the Southwest. The foundation of the dish is a hearty round of Indian fry bread. The bread is topped with layers of cooked beans, spicy meat and garnishes like chopped tomato, green onion and shredded cheese. Here are some tips for constructing Indian tacos at home.
Indian Tacos can be elaborate or simple -with only beans and shredded cheese. Your version can be as simple or elaborate as you wish to make it.
Indian Tacos are great for a casual buffet. Serve a platter of hot, puffy fry breads and a large pot of chili or one of the bean & meat combinations suggested below. Add smaller bowls filled with all the Garnishes mentioned below.
Invite your guests to build their own Indian Tacos. Here is how they should stack up. Place a piece of fry bread on the plate then top with a portion of chili or bean & meat topping. Top with any of the Garnishes. A fresh green salad or fruit salad would be nice served on the side. Offer beer, iced tea, lemonade or a fruity punch-one that is not too sweet.
Fry Bread Base (make one piece of fry bread for each guest)
Try my recipe, Pumpkin Fry-Bread with Fiesta Gold Honey, for the basic fry bread. It can be found in another post in the same categories. The pumpkin puree can be omitted, if you prefer. Any other favorite recipe for fry bread will work just as well.
In my recipe, the dough can be divided into 3 portions for man-size servings or the recipe can be doubled for 6 large portions.
Protein Toppings (Select one; spoon on fry breads.)
- A pot of spicy, hot chili, using your favorite recipe or a quality commercial brand.
- A pot of cooked, hot pinto beans or black beans with a bowl of your favorite spicy taco meat mixture using ground beef, turkey or pork.
- A pot of warm refried beans with a bowl of spicy taco meat mixture or a spicy meat sauce using ground beef, turkey or pork.
- A pot of beef or lamb stew
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Longhorn Cheddar, queso fresco or feta cheese) Ripe tomatoes, diced
Sliced green onion or chopped red onion
Cooked frozen corn with diced red bell pepper
Guacamole or diced avocado
Sliced pitted black or green olives
Snipped fresh cilantro leaves
Slightly crushed tortilla chips or Fritos
Toasted pine nuts
It is fun to prepare at least ten garnishes. Include other favorites, if you wish. Prepare them ahead of time; cover and refrigerate until needed (except for the chips and pine nuts).
Spicy Meat Sauce
This sauce blends together the meat and refried beans. Spoon over Indian fry bread then top with your choice of Garnishes.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Saute 1 small diced onion, 1 small diced green or red bell pepper and 2 minced garlic until soft.
Add 2 pounds ground turkey or ground chuck; stir until done. (Add a bit more oil, if necessary, but drain off excess oil after the meat is cooked. )
Stir in 1 package of taco seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon pure chili powder, if available.
Stir in one 16-ounce can lard-free refried beans, one 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes with juice and 1 cup water. Simmer 30 minutes or until thickened to a desired consistency.
Add more liquid, if desired. Season, to taste. Mixture can be made one day ahead then reheated.