Fry Bread And Cannabeans: History And Deliciousness

Make a lot with a little

Cannabeans
Photos by Maria Penaloza

There is a lot of folklore behind the genesis of fry bread and how it came to be not only a tasty and mostly modern staple food of indigenous Americans but also a symbol of the realities of colonialism and its effects on these communities. There’s lots of recipes and lots of reading with each one, and the way you prepare it leads you to try everyone’s variations until you find one that you personally love.


Even today we see the government and indigenous groups clashing, not just in distant North Dakota. The one you make at home will only be as good as the uninitiated can attempt, and though it was probably tastier when fried over campfires, yours will still be really good. Forced migration is where this bread was born. When driven from one place to another, the rations given to these families was very minimal, often flour, sour milk, beans, and lard. It had to be made fast and on the spot, and still managed to be delicious, like many foods born of cultural struggle.


One of the best parts about making Fry Bread and beans other than the quick and filling meal for one, is reading up on the backstory and traditions of each author, chef, or blogger as you try out new variations. You can use nearly any beans, any broth, and the bread fries well in almost any fat. It’s also been incorporated into Southwest and Tex Mex food culture, and a Taco Bell Chalupa is basically a watered down fast food version. This is the new millennium prohibition inspired version.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Fry Bread And Cannabeans

Fry Bread recipe from WhatsCookingAmerica.com; Beans by Danielle Guercio 2017
Serves 2; 14mg THC per serving estimated

For bread:

  • 1 c flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ c water
  • Shortening for frying

For beans:

  • 1 can rinsed kidney beans or dried beans soaked overnight
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups water and 1 cube of vegetable seasoning
  • 1 Tbs cannabis infused olive oil*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • 1 dried chili
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Scallion for garnish

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Crush the shallot and garlic and heat up in a saucepan with the herbs and broth. Once you have a boil going, add the beans and allow to simmer while you prepare the breads.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Preheat shortening in a heavy bottomed pan while you prepare the bread dough. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients with a fork. Slowly add wet ingredients and fold in with a spatula until a sticky dough forms.

Flip onto a floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until stickiness goes away and you have a bit of elastic. Divide dough into four balls and stretch out until they are thin and have a small tear in the center, which will pretty much happen naturally.

Photos by Maria Penaloza

Fry the breads for 2-3 minutes per side. They will puff up beautifully and have tons of nooks and crannies to grab all the beans. Allow to drain on paper towels briefly. Remove beans from heat, stir in cannabis infused oil. Divide into two bowls and cover with finely chopped scallions. Serve with two breads each and devour!

Photos by Maria Penaloza

*Cannabis Infused Olive Oil

Decarboxylate 3.5g of finely ground cannabis at 225 degrees for 20 minutes in a tightly sealed, oven safe container. Put in lidded mason jar or vacuum sealed bag with cannabis and four ounces of Olive oil. Heat in water bath just under boiling for at least 1 hour. Strain and use in recipes

I’ve been known to annihilate both servings in one evening. If you can stand to share, this will feed two. It’s also extremely easy to double, triple, and season in a myriad of excellent combinations. My favorite lately is black or kidney beans with extra broth and plenty of fresh herbs to garnish. Wolfing two servings is a regular occurrence on starving nights.

Photos: Maria Penaloza

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