Kid-friendly Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

Recipe: Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by (Jit-anong Sae-ung/shutterstock)
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

Most people associate it with Native American cuisine, but did you know that fry bread is not a traditional indigenous food source? Quite the opposite. Fry bread dates back to 1864, when the United States government forcibly removed indigenous people from their land and relocated them hundreds of miles away, disrupting their farming traditions. As a result, indigenous diets of vegetables and grains were replaced by commodities like white flour, processed sugar, salt, and lard. From these new, government-imposed ingredients, fry bread was born.

Despite its ties to oppression, dense, crispy, chewy fry bread is considered by many indigenous people to be a comfort food that connects them across tribes and generations. So whether it's consumed at a powwow or your dinner table, we bet you'll enjoy every bite!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • stir-fry :

    to cook meat, fish, or vegetables rapidly over high heat while stirring briskly—used in Asian cooking.

Equipment Checklist

scale
1X
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Ingredients

Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

  • 1/2 12-oz can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T honey or white sugar
  • 4 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil

Food Allergen Substitutions

Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour in Bread Bites.

Instructions

Unalii Friendly Fry Bread Bites

1.
measure + blend

Add 1/2 can of black beans to a large mixing bowl. Measure and add 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon honey to the bowl of beans. Blend this mixture until smooth.

2.
measure + mix + knead

In a separate bowl, measure and combine 4 cups flour and 3 teaspoons baking powder. Combine the flour mixture with the wet ingredients. As you stir, a dough will start to form. Once the dough has formed a large ball, sprinkle it with a bit of flour and knead for 5 minutes.

3.
divide + bake

Pour 1/3 cup of vegetable oil into a large skillet. Turn the heat to medium. While the oil heats up, divide the dough into as many 2 tablespoon-sized balls as possible. Lightly flatten the balls into disks and carefully lay them into the hot oil using a spatula. Don’t overcrowd the pan with too many pieces of bread. Cook on each side for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. If the oil begins to smoke, remove the pan from the heat and cool the oil down before continuing. Serve these tasty treats alongside the Giving Thanks First Nations Three Sisters Skillet Casserole (see recipe)!

Surprise Ingredient: Black Beans!

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Photo by Ildi Papp/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Black Bean!

"My full name is "black turtle bean" because of my hard outer shell, but you can just call me "black bean." I'm a variety of common bean, although I'm anything but common! I bring a distinctive shiny look, sweet taste, and meaty texture to Latin American, South Asian, Cajun, and Creole cuisines."

History

  • Globally, there are 13,000 known varieties of beans. They include the white bean, like the Italian Cannelini, Great Northern, and Navy Bean; the black turtle bean (usually shortened to black bean); and the pinto bean. What kind of beans are you using today?
  • Beans were one of the first foods gathered, according to archaeologists. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors used beans as food tens of thousands of years ago. They were grown around 7,000 years ago in the Middle East. 
  • In ancient Greece, public officials were elected if they picked the single white bean from a bunch of black beans. 
  • In the 15th century, Spanish explorers brought beans to Europe when they returned from voyages to the New World. Then, Spanish and Portuguese traders took them to Africa and Asia to sell. 
  • Beans are now prevalent worldwide, primarily due to their use as an inexpensive, plant-based protein.
  • Today, the largest commercial producers of common dried beans are India, China, Indonesia, Brazil, and the United States. 
  • North Dakota grows forty percent of the beans in the US, more than any other state!
  • Brazil grows the most beans in the world. 
  • In Nicaragua, newlyweds are given a bowl of beans for good luck.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Did you know: Beans are technically a fruit! 
  • Beans are legumes, so they have seeds that dry in the seed pod. Other legumes include lentils, peas, peanuts, and soybeans.
  • Beans plants leave the soil better and healthier than before they were planted. Most plants deplete the soil, but not beans. This is because they have nodules on their roots that add nitrogen, which the soil needs. 
  • The world's tallest bean plant was over 45 feet tall! That's the equivalent of three average-sized giraffes stacked on top of one another. The plant was grown in the USA in 2003.
  • The word "bean" was first used before the 12th century. It comes from the Old English "bēan," from the Proto-Germanic "bauno," and is related to the Dutch "boon" and German "Bohne."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Beans are harvested at full maturity when their pod reaches about six inches long, and the leaves turn brown and fall off about 75 days after the beans are planted.
  • When harvested, the shells are broken open, and the beans are collected as long as they are dry. If they're not thoroughly dried, they can be hung up to finish drying before they're popped from their shells. 
  • We can't eat raw, uncooked beans. Why? Because beans have something called lectins that are poisonous, and the only way to remove most of these lectins is to cook the beans.
  • If you're using dried beans, soak them before cooking to remove "antinutrients," compounds that block the absorption of nutrients. 
  • Dried beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins; both canned and dried beans are available throughout the year. 
  • Canned beans can stay fresh for years! 
  • Combine the creamy texture of beans with a whole grain such as brown rice, and you have a virtually fat-free high-quality protein meal. 
  • Beans are made into burgers, dips, brownies, cakes, dips, fudge, muffins, pies, and drinks (coffee and cocoa beans). They can also be used in jewelry, toys, and musical instruments. "Bean bag chairs" are made with polystyrene "beans," but the small bean bags for play are sometimes made with real dried beans. 

Nutrition

  • Beans are complex carbohydrates and high in fiber, which keeps our digestion strong and smooth and our tummies happy. 
  • Beans are excellent sources of iron, magnesium, and potassium. The body needs these minerals to grow, develop, and stay healthy.
  • Beans supply several B vitamins to our diet, especially folate (B-9). These vitamins contribute to healthy brain function, formation of red blood cells, increased energy, and decreased cancer and cardiovascular disease risk.  
  • The fiber and protein in beans are good for stabilizing blood sugar. They are popular with vegans and vegetarians because they replace some of the nutrients found in meat.

Beany Expressions:

  • Bean counter = an accountant
  • Bean feast = a party with food and drink
  • Bean pole = describing someone tall and thin
  • Cool beans = when something is cool
  • It doesn't amount to a hill of beans = when something doesn't add up to much
  • Full of beans = full of energy, enthusiasm
  • ​Hasn't got a bean = doesn't have any money
  • Has-been = once was something, maybe famous or rich, and now those days are gone
  • Not worth a bean = not worth anything
  • ​Spill the beans = dish the dirt, tell the truth

Let's Learn About Indigenous Americans!

Photo by SALMONNEGRO-STOCK/Shutterstock.com (Indigenous grandmother and granddaughter from Guatemala)
  • Indigenous Americans are related to people who populated the Americas before the arrival of European settlers in the late 15th century. 
  • Historians previously thought the Clovis people were the first to arrive and dwell in the Americas. They were paleolithic hunter-gatherers who crossed over the Beringian land bridge from Siberia to Alaska about 11,500 years ago, during the last ice age. However, archaeological evidence in Chile and Mexico indicates that humans reached the Americas earlier, sometime between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.  
  • Many indigenous groups living in North and South America were hunter-gatherers, and others were farmers or fishers. Some lived in highly-developed cities, cultures, and empires, like the Aztecs and Incas. Others lived more nomadic lives, following the herds, like bison.  
  • Although indigenous populations decreased dramatically during European colonization and expansion, native people still live in many parts of the Americas. There are large numbers of indigenous inhabitants in Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States.
  • Indigenous languages are still spoken in many of these countries. For example, Mexico recognizes 63 indigenous languages, with the Nahuatl language spoken by over one million people. In Peru, Quechua is spoken by almost 14 percent of the population. 
  • The indigenous peoples of Canada consist of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (mixed First Nations and European, mostly French). The previously-used terms of Indian and Eskimo are considered disrespectful and offensive. 
  • Native Americans in the United States make up a little over one percent of the country's population. In the 2020 census, almost 10 million people identified as fully or partially Native American or Native Alaskan.
  • In 2021, Deb Haaland was named Secretary of the Interior, the first Native American to be part of the president's cabinet. As of 2022, eight indigenous Americans serve in the US Congress. 
  • Indigenous cuisine varies across North and South American countries, and the following are examples of foods from a few different regions.
  • In the northern regions of Canada, Western food is expensive to import, so they rely on traditional "country" foods, like berries, fish, caribou, moose, geese, and seals. 
  • In the Eastern Woodlands, the Three Sisters (squash, corn, and beans), maple syrup, cornmeal, blueberries, cranberries, and nuts are prominent foods. 
  • In the Southwest, diets include corn, squash, beans, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, trout, turkey, and venison.

THYME for a Laugh

What kinds of beans can’t grow in a garden? 

Jelly Beans!

The Yolk's On You

What bean is the most intelligent? 

The Human Bean!

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