Buffalo Chicken Fry Bread with Lime-Cumin Crema & Salsa Verde

Buffalo Chicken Fry Bread with Lime-Cumin Crema & Salsa Verde

Posted By Fanny Slater March 17th, 2020 Last Updated on: March 20th, 2020

Did you say fry bread?

I’m so in.

If you’ve never had the privilege of enjoying this traditional Native American specialty, this is your chance. Why? Well, now is the time they say. Though I’m still not sure who “they” are.



And if you’re ever going to experience fry bread, you’re going to want to do it smeared with creamy buffalo chicken and garnished with homemade tomatillo salsa.
I’m certain I have buffalo sauce running through my veins. There’s definitely also beer and queso in there, so there’s no doubt my insides are having quite the party. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have an unapologetic affection for the rich, red-hot condiment.

If I’m craving wings in public, I give fair warning to the crowd that it’s only a matter of time before the sharp, zesty, orange-hued sauce is dripping from my fingers to my elbows. Take shelter if you must.

When I make my buffalo sauce from scratch (you can go store-bought, but homemade is always better), I give the buttery liquid a few flavor peaks from tart lemon and savory garlic. I’m a fan of building layers of flavor. And while shredded chicken tossed with pungent buffalo sauce is a perfect duo in its own right, I feel the need to take everything to the next level.

I believe the kids these days call that being “extra.”

That level is a creamy land where melty Monterey Jack meets cream cheese and everyone lives happily ever after. To enhance this dish with even more Native flair to sit atop our tasty fry bread base, I spike sour cream with smoky cumin. For a Mexican twist (these are tacos, after all): a raw, garlicky tomatillo salsa bursting with jalapenos, citrus, and cilantro.

Now, the reason why I’ve gathered you all here today.

A brief history of fry bread…

This Native American specialty is a flat dough known for being composed of very few ingredients. It’s rooted in culture, and the exact preparation varies depending on the region and tribe. Some are made with yeast and cornmeal, while others (like the one I’ll walk you through in this post) require no rising time and are purely made up of flour, baking powder, salt, and fat.

Many recipes use milk, but I’m partial to butter.

Well, let’s be serious. Who isn’t?

Speaking of thing I’m partial to—who can guess my other favorite pastimes besides getting sauce on my elbows and eating butter?

Anyone?

The correct answer is: time travel. Fasten your seatbelts. No, wait. Don’t. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Back in 1864, the Navajo were forced to make a 300-mile trek (known as the “Long Walk”) from Arizona to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. According to tradition, using the flour, sugar, salt, and lard given to them by the American government—they created and introduced fry bread to the world.

And for that, we thank them.

The same way that pita bread religiously graces the tables of Middle Eastern families, fry bread is a familiar staple in Native American cuisine. As far as the Indian (or Navajo) taco goes, the debate over its origin is ongoing. Traditionalists don’t consider it an indigenous dish, while others find it a significant, nostalgic part of their upbringings.

As for me, I’m just here for the buffalo sauce.


Buffalo Chicken Fry Bread with Lime-Cumin Crema & Salsa Verde
Yield: 4 Servings

Buffalo Chicken Fry Bread with Lime-Cumin Crema & Salsa Verde

For an epic twist on tacos, these buffalo chicken fry bread are a tasty treat just waiting to be tackled. They use homemade, traditional Native American fry bread as the crispy base and then get loaded with spicy shredded chicken, cheese, smoky lime-cumin crema, and zippy salsa verde.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast (either homemade or from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, light green and white parts only, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2 limes, divided (plus additional lime wedges for serving)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2-pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup rough chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1 small jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • Vegetable oil (for frying, enough to reach 1-inch depth)
  • 2 small Roma tomatoes, chopped

Instructions

    Step 1 – Make and Rest the Fry Bread Dough

    Melt the butter.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and mix on low speed to combine. Slowly pour in the butter and then the water (scraping the flour down from the sides of the bowl), a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough holds together and forms a ball, about 1-2 minutes. The dough will be sticky.

    Using flour on your hands if necessary, turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly, and rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or at best, 1 hour.

    Step 2 – Prepare the Toppings

    Soften the cream cheese, thinly slice the green onions, juice both the limes and zest 1, rinse and quarter the tomatillos, and chop the cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, tomatoes, and remaining lime wedges.

    In a large bowl, mix together the buffalo sauce, cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese, shredded chicken, and 2 tablespoons of the green onions. Toss until the chicken is thoroughly coated in the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, half-and-half, zest and juice of 1 lime, and the cumin. Season to taste with salt.

    In a food processor, pulse the juice of the additional 1 lime with the tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and a pinch of salt until the salsa comes together. Season to taste with additional salt.

    Step 3 – Divide and Flatten the Dough

    Lightly flour a clean work surface. Unwrap the dough and divide it into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then, using the palm of your hand, stretch and flatten into 1/3-inch thick rounds. The bread will puff up as they cook so you want them to be fairly thin.

    Pierce the center of each fry bread with a paring knife. This keeps the dough from over-bubbling during frying.

    Step 4 – Fry the Dough

    In a deep, wide cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, heat about 1 inch of oil to 350° F. 

    If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test if the oil is hot enough by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon into it. If it bubbles steadily, the oil is hot enough. If it bubbles and sizzles vigorously, the oil is too hot. 

    Prepare a paper towel-lined plate next to the pan with the oil. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, slide the dough rounds into the oil and fry until golden-brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. The dough will puff up and harden as it cooks.

    Place the finished fry breads on the paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil and immediately sprinkle them with salt.

    Step 5 – Melt the Buffalo Chicken Mixture, Garnish, and Serve

    Place an oven rack about 8-inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler to low. 

    Transfer the fry breads to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and top with even portions of the buffalo chicken mixture. Broil until the bubbly and then divide among plates.

    Garnish each fry bread with the remaining Monterey jack cheese, green onions, a drizzle of the lime-cumin crema and salsa verde, cilantro, and the chopped tomatoes. Serve with hot sauce, lime wedges, and extra crema and salsa on the side.

Notes

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed to combine. Slowly pour in the butter until the dough holds together, and then add the water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough forms a ball, about 1-2 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or at best, 1 hour.

While the dough is resting, prepare the buffalo chicken mixture, lime-cumin crema, and salsa verde.

In a large bowl, mix together the buffalo sauce, cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese, shredded chicken, and 2 tablespoons of the green onions. Toss until the chicken is thoroughly coated in the sauce. Season to taste with additional salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, half-and-half, zest and juice of 1 lime, and the cumin. Season to taste with salt.

In a food processor, pulse the juice of the additional 1 lime with the tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and a pinch of salt until the salsa comes together. Season to taste with additional salt.

Lightly flour a clean work surface. Unwrap the dough and divide it into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then, one at a time, roll out the dough into 1/3-inch thick rounds. Pierce the center of each piece with a paring knife (this keeps the dough from over-bubbling during frying).

In a deep, wide cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, heat about 1 inch of oil to 350° F.

Place an oven rack about 8-inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler to low. 

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test if the oil is hot enough by dipping the handle of a wooden spoon into it. If it bubbles steadily, the oil is hot enough. If it bubbles and sizzles vigorously, the oil is too hot. 

Prepare a paper towel-lined plate next to the pan with the oil. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, slide the dough rounds into the oil and fry until golden-brown, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Sprinkle the hot fry breads with a pinch of salt, and then place them on the paper towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil.

Transfer the fry breads to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and top with even portions of the buffalo chicken mixture. Broil until the bubbly and then divide among plates.

Garnish each fry bread with the remaining Monterey jack cheese, green onions, a drizzle of the lime-cumin crema and salsa verde, cilantro, and the chopped tomatoes. Serve with hot sauce, lime wedges, and extra crema and salsa on the side.

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About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater
Food Network Personality
Cookbook Author, Food Writer & Recipe Developer
Winner of Rachael Ray's Great American Cookbook Competition



TAGGED:    frybread  

6 thoughts on “Buffalo Chicken Fry Bread with Lime-Cumin Crema & Salsa Verde

  1. Irene says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I love fry bread ! 🤗I started going to pow wows in Lansing , Michigan. Now I live in Anderson, Indiana and they have a POW Wow here haven’t missed it since I moved here in 96.Thank you 🙏

  2. Marie-Josée Matte says:

    Kwé Kwé
    Have a question about fry bread. Is it the same than bannick?
    Still few days I was thinking about that… And today you send this e-mail…
    Merci! Megwetch

  3. NOREEN SCHAAN says:

    I love making fry bread and I will definitely make some . I am on a ketogenic diet but I am going off for this one..I HAVE TO!😊😋😉🤣💖💪☝️👈💖

  4. Hi have had fry bread. Would like to make the recipe.
    Questions
    Is buffalo sauce spicy? if even mild what can I use for substitute? Where can I find it? What isle?
    What is tomatillos & where can I find them?
    Love Indian Tacos! How do you make them?
    Will you include recipe in next time?

    • The sauce used in the recipe is your choice. Just pick one you like.

      Tomatillo is a Mexican husk tomato. You should find it in the vegetable section.

      You can use this recipe to make the base of an Indian Taco and then top it with your choice of toppings.

      Thanks!

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