Original LocalFrom the new book

Original Local

Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest

by Heid E. Erdrich

Available from your favorite bookseller and from mnhs.org.

Pumpkin Bangs with Maple Sugar and Spice Sprinkle

Makes 12 pieces (2 per person is indulgent, but let’s see you resist)

While visiting with a Wisconsin Oneida student, I heard about the pumpkin fry bread her mother makes out of her powwow food truck. It occurred to me that I could develop a slightly decolonized bang recipe to be used for tribal gatherings, big doings, or other special occasions only. Now ask the next Native American you meet how often such occasions occur. We can’t help our propensity for gathering, but we should develop some kind of fry bread dance to burn off the calories.

This recipe is inspired by Marlene Divina’s submission to the spring 2008 issue of Repast. I’ve seen a few others like it, but I wanted something with more pumpkin and less sugar. The allspice is important—making it taste less like dessert or a donut than the usual cinnamon—but you can cut it altogether if you are making fry bread tacos or some savory dish. Or, heck: put some cayenne in there for a little zip.

3 cups unbleached white flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon sea salt or coarse salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup warm water

1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil

coconut or sunflower oil for frying

Maple Sugar and Spice Sprinkle (below)

In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and allspice, mixing well. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, honey, water, and oil, mixing well. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the pumpkin mixture. Work the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and form the dough into a smooth ball. Spread a thin layer of oil over the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 10 minutes before rolling and shaping.

Lightly dust a work surface and your hands with flour. Separate the dough into 12 pieces and form into balls. Sprinkle flour over the balls and roll out to 1/4-inch-thick rounds—“bangs.” The dough may be slightly sticky; sprinkle with flour as necessary.

Pour oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of 1 inch and place the pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil reaches between 360 and 375 degrees, place the bangs in the pan, one or two at a time, and fry, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side, until the dough puffs and turns golden brown.

Using tongs, remove the bangs from the pan and place on paper towels (or brown paper bags) to drain. Dust with Maple Sugar and Spice Sprinkle. Serve warm.

Maple Sugar and Spice Sprinkle

Makes 1/4 cup

Picture a table with the usual salt and pepper shaker, then add a third shaker for maple sugar and spice. You might find yourself using this condiment on everything from fish to grilled foods to squash, hash browns, ravioli, manoomin, corn on the cob, popcorn, and, of course, pumpkin bangs.

2 tablespoons maple sugar

1 tablespoon sumac

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon smoked salt

2 juniper berries, cracked

Stir together all ingredients and store in a spice shaker.

Events and news!