Let’s Cook Something New: Indian Blue Corn Frybread

Let’s cook something new: Indian Blue Corn Frybread. My brother’s family shared a package of Blue Corn Frybread Mix which they purchased at a Navajo Indian village in Arizona on their cross country trip last fall. I love to experiment with new foods, ingredients and recipes. Of course, I had to learn about blue cornmeal and discovered some interesting facts about blue corn in the process. And I made a chewy cornmeal-tasting bread, too.

What is Blue Corn?

Blue corn is a flint variety of corn grown in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. It is an essential food in the diets of the Hopi and Pueblo Indians and is used to make tortillas, cereal and Pika bread. Commercially, blue corn is used to make blue corn tortilla chips.  Blue corn is the same as the multi-colored Indian corn found in the fall; except all the kernels are deep blue which was achieved over the years through selective breeding and growing.

Blue corn is an old variety of corn and dates to the pre-Columbian eras, brought here from Mexico. The Pueblo Indian tribes were using the corn at least as far back as 1540 when Spanish explorers discovered the region.

Health Benefits of Blue Corn – Non-GMO Corn

Blue corn is open-pollinated and it is a non-GMO corn. It is not a hybrid corn. The corn has been grown for hundreds of years without manipulation by man. This makes the corn unique, as almost all corn grown in this country, I am guessing, is GMO or genetically modified corn. So if you are seeking non-GMO products, here is a very rare unmodified corn product.

The corn is shorter than what is grown in other parts of the United States. It is extremely drought tolerant and deep rooted. This corn is much higher in protein than the yellow corn we are used to.

Blue corn is identical to yellow corn with one difference. Blue corn is rich anthocyanin content  (which makes it blue). It has a concentration equal to or greater than the anthocyanin concentration of blueberries and a higher antioxidant capacity. So this means it has properties which are anti-cancer in their function.

Blue Corn Frybread Mix

My brother purchased the Blue Corn Frybread Mix at a Pueblo Indian store last fall on their trip from California to Louisiana. I mixed it according to the instructions and fried the soft circles of dough. The frybread mix didn’t appear blue, but once mixed it turned to have a blueish color.

Making Frybread

Mix the frybread mix with water. (You can make your own mix — the ingredients are included in my recipe.)

Knead about 15 times on a well-floured board, then let set for 10 minutes. After the dough sets, it becomes less sticky, so resist the temptation to add extra flour while you knead the dough.

Shape into circles and roll out on a board. Place a hole in the center of each piece. Heat about 1″ oil in skillet to 350 degrees. Fry, one or two at a time, on the first side.

When golden brown, flip over and fry on second side until browned.  Removed with a slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels. Serve hot!

The frybread can be served as tacos.

Or add honey, powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar and eat as a sweet breakfast bread or dessert. (This sort of reminds me of our Louisiana beignets.) Yum!

Here’s a recipe for making your own frybread mix which can easily be made at home.

Blue cornmeal can be purchased on the internet (as well as blue corn flour) through a number of distributors. (I searched Amazon.com.) The source I used is the Brian Severson Farm which is a family owned farm in Grundy County,  Illinois.

This family farm specializes in many varieties of interesting and unique organic and non-GMO grains. I was excited to find a source for blue cornmeal. This is not masa cornmeal — a product which goes through a process which changes the structure of the corn — just ground cornmeal. I have listed a reference for the Brian Severson Farm at the end of the blog; contact them directly for products as well as through Amazon.

Although the Frybread is non-GMO (no wheat flour is GMO), it is not gluten-free. Although the cornmeal doesn’t contain gluten, all-purpose flour had gluten. Perhaps I’ll experiment to come up with some gluten-free, non-GMO cornmeal recipes. Check back (after the New Year) to see what I’ve come up with. In the meantime, enjoy this tasty and chewy Frybread.

Blue Cornbread Frybread

  • Servings: 8 appetizer servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 cup blue cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, more for dusting kneading board
  • 2 tsp  baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • oil for deep fat frying

Method and Steps:

  1. Combine blue cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in bowl.
  2. Make well in center. Add canola oil and warm water and stir until combined.
  3. Turn onto well-floured board and knead 15 times.
  4. Let set for 10 minutes. (The dough should become less sticky after sitting.)
  5. Divide into golf ball sizes. Make into rounds.
  6. Roll out each ball until 1/4″ thick. Poke hole in center.
  7. Heat oil on stove in heavy skillet until 350 degrees.
  8. Add one or two pieces of the rolled dough at a time. Fry on one side. When golden brown, flip over and fry on second side.
  9. Use slotted spoon or spatula and remove to paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining dough balls.



2 thoughts on “Let’s Cook Something New: Indian Blue Corn Frybread

  1. Honestly—and I’ve done this three or four times now—the 1:1 ratio of flour versus corn meal really doesn’t seem to work out. I’ve traveled all over the southwest and should have a bumper sticker which reads “WARNING: I brake for frybread”. I’m thinking that the ratio needs to be 3:1, 4:1 or perhaps even more.

    • Hello, I made my frybread from a packaged mix and don’t know the ratio of flours in the packaged mix. I also purchased blue corn flour from internet sources to follow-up with more recipe trials. Yes, the dough was very sticky and seemed to do a little better if I let the dough “rest” and then I used a well-floured board. I also used blue corn flour rather than cornmeal. I’m thinking this may make a difference. Anyway, I appreciate your comments and input. Thanks!

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