Fry bread tacos on wheels.
There are many variations of tacos, but if you haven’t tried Native American tacos, you might be missing out. It all starts with Indian fry bread.
The Secret Is Out
Used as the outer shell for the taco, fry bread is a beloved staple of indigenous tribes who created the fluffy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside bread from the sparse ingredients they were provided when they were placed on reservations.
“Every tribe’s bread is a little different, and there is a secret to how they make it,” says Clarissa Mashburn, owner of MuHa’s Indian Tacos food truck, which has operated in Reno since 2013. “The Navahos like it a little flatter, and for my tribe, the Paiute, it’s fluffier. We like our bread fluffy, just like the women.”
The core ingredients of fry bread are flour, baking powder, powdered milk, and water. The dough usually is freshly prepared every day, fried in oil in batches, and ready to eat as is, or it’s used as a taco shell, pizza crust, or dessert when topped with strawberries and whipped cream, caramel apples, or honey and cinnamon.
Fry Bread Classics
Muha’s (aka “Moon’s,” drawn from Mashburn’s Native American name) Indian Tacos food truck is found mostly at the Sparks United Methodist Church Farmers’ Market and events such as Burning Man. It serves authentic Native American-style tacos made with beans, ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, Cheddar cheese, and onions.
“A lot of people do salsa, but we serve them with just the basic ingredients,” Mashburn says. “It’s not meant to be spicy.”
The truck also features hot dogs and desserts made with fry bread.
Arrows Native Indian Food
Arrows, based in Penn Valley, Calif., for the past seven years, operates a fully contained taco cart, delivery truck, and RV; offers catering; and attends various Native American pow wow events.
It dishes up Indian fry bread tacos with homemade beans, fry bread pizzas with homemade red sauce, Rez (short for “reservation”) Buffalo Fry Bread Wraps, and its popular Rez Dough-Wrapped, Deep-Fried Hot Dogs served with cheese and onions.
“Our bread is very popular, and our tacos are our best seller,” says co-owner Shannon Christy Lasley, who owns the truck with her fiancé, Louis Gibson Fletcher, aka “Arrow.”
“The reason people like our food is because we put our love, good energy, and positive attitude into our food,” Lasley says.
Both businesses have big plans.
“MuHa’s is open to corporate catering now and special events,” Mashburn says. “We would eventually like to have multiple trucks in different areas.”
“Our plan at Arrows is to introduce and sell our patented Indian fry bread pizzas in a take-and-bake version to customers and grocery stores like Walmart,” Lasley says.
Interestingly enough, Indian fry bread tacos and pizzas are quite complicated to make because of the intricate dough-making process and vats of oil needed to fry the bread. So if you’re out and about and see one of these rare Indian fry bread food trucks or popup carts, grab one of its specialties and enjoy.
Kymberly Drake is a Reno-based freelance writer with endless curiosity about food, especially tacos.