Student Recipes

Try our Native scholars’ favorite family recipes.

Cooking with Ironwood

Cooking with Ironwood

Student:
Jason

What I would like to share is not necessarily a recipe, but more of a way to cook a food.

On our reservation there is a tree we call ironwood. Ironwood is very fire retardant. It is the perfect cooking tool for our number one source of food, salmon. For generations and generations our people have used ironwood to cook our barbequed salmon. It is not uncommon for our families to pass down ironwood barbeque sets to the next generation.

Cooking fish on a stick is very simple. All you need is salmon, the ironwood, and a fire. It doesn’t take long to cook salmon over the fire; 30-45 minutes is ideal cooking time for the salmon.

Navajo Fry Bread (the “right way”)

Navajo Fry Bread (the “right way”)

Student:
Brandon

I have such fond memories of making Navajo fry bread with my family and it’s been such a meaningful experience to make it with my college peers for powwow concessions. It’s funny because everyone has their own spin on it, based on their own family’s recipe, so we always end up bickering about the “right way” to make it.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Bluebird flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp shortening

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients together. Use warm water and pour it over the flour mixture slowly. Knead until soft. If the mixture is sticky, sprinkle flour into it until the dough is nice and soft. Let it sit for about one hour. Next, warm up the grease/shortening. Pat out the dough, poke a hole in the center, and slowly put it into the grease. Turn the bread clockwise while cooking to keep with tradition. Fry until it’s light golden brown.

Blackfeet Berry Soup & Bannock Bread

Blackfeet Berry Soup & Bannock Bread

Student:
Autumn

My family comes from the Blackfeet Nation, from a rural area called Two Medicine. It’s where the buffalo roamed and our people lived richly off the land. Berries were one of the most commonly gathered food and buffalo was one of the main proteins used in recipes. One of the recipes passed down from my ancestors was berry soup, made from sarvis berries, and bannock bread. While it’s been in my family for generations, this recipe was first shared with me when I went to Montana to pick berries along the same river as my mom and grandmother.

Ingredients

Sarvis Berry Soup

  • 6 cups Sarvis berries
  • 2 cups bison or deer broth
  • ½ cup pemmican (dry meat)
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 cup sugar (leave out for sugar-free soup)

Bannock Bread

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 sp baking soda per cup of flour
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of oil

Instructions

Sarvis Berry Soup

Clean the berries in cold water, let boil with broth, stirring berries regularly so they don’t burn. Turn the heat to medium to simmer, add sugar, take off the heat and smash berries until smooth. Put the mixture back on the stove and bring to a boil. In a separate bowl, combine ½ cup of water and 1 tbsp of flour. Stir until smooth and add the mixture to the berries. The combined mixture will be thick. Finally, add the pemmican, and turn the heat to medium/low.

Bannock Bread

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and add warm water until all the dry flour is wet. Knead together. Grease a cake pan with oil and put the bannock bread ingredients on it and cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Check the center with a toothpick. If toothpick is dry, remove the bread from the oven, smear the top with butter and serve with the soup.

Four-Vegetables-Mixed

Four-Vegetables-Mixed

Student:
Taylor

Today, there are various traditional gardens across the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. When I was searching for a recipe that is both traditional and delicious, a friend of mine who works in the Tribal Education Department suggested a book titled Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians as Recounted by Buffalo Bird Woman by Gilbert L. Wilson. The book is filled with traditional Hidatsa gardening methods and recipes recounted by Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Native and expert gardener. As winter approaches, I thought it would be wise to suggest a winter dish called four-vegetables-mixed. The following recipe is an excerpt taken from Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden: Agriculture of the Hidatsa Indians, Chapter III: Sunflowers.

To make this dish for a family of five, I did the following:

I put a clay pot with water on the fire.

I threw one double-handful of beans into the pot. I recommend sticking with this amount of beans, regardless of how many people you are cooking for.

When we dried squash in the fall we strung the slices upon strings of twisted grass, each seven Indian fathoms long. (An Indian fathom is the distance between a woman’s two hands outstretched on either side.) From one of these seven-fathom strings, I cut a piece as long as the distance from my elbow to the tip of my thumb; then I tied together the two ends of the severed piece, making a ring. Then I dropped it into the pot with the beans.

Once the squash slices were well-cooked I lifted them out of the pot by the grass string and placed them into a wooden bowl. With a horn spoon I chopped and mashed the cooked squash slices into a mass, which I then returned to the pot with the beans. I threw away the grass string.

Then I added four or five double-handfuls of mixed meal, of pounded parched sunflower seed and pounded parched corn. The whole thing boiled for a few minutes more and then it was ready for serving.

I have already mentioned how we parched sunflower seed. I used two or three double-handfuls of seed to a parching. I used two parchings of sunflower seed for one mess of four-vegetables-mixed. I also used two parchings of corn, but I put more corn into the pot at a parching than I did of sunflower seed.

Pounding the parched corn and sunflower seed reduced their bulk so that the four parchings— two of sunflower seed and two of corn—made four or five double-handfuls of the mixed meal.

Four-vegetables-mixed was freshly cooked; and the mixed corn-and-sunflower meal was also made each time. A little alkali salt might be added for seasoning, but even this was not usual. No other seasoning was used. Meat was not boiled with the mess, as the sunflower seed gave sufficient oil to furnish fat.

Four-vegetables-mixed was a winter food; and the squash used in its making was dried, sliced squash, never green, fresh squash. (Woman, 1917).

Gabooboo Bread

Gabooboo Bread

Student:
Alana

This recipe is always nice for me because I would wake up in the summer and my mom would be on a mission to make this bread! She’d have our whole kitchen covered in bowls, cans, and powder. I’d watch her make it, and it always looked like it took so much work and time, but it actually wasn’t that complicated. When we eat gabooboo bread we usually put butter and jam on it and then eat it with beef stew.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ can milk
  • ½ cup of water

Instructions

  • Mix
  • Put a hole in the middle of the powder
  • Add 2 eggs
  • ½ can of milk
  • ½ cup of water, if it’s too thick add more water

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