Did you know? Many Indigenous cultures in Canada adopted some form of quick bread or yeast bread into their diets during the fur trade era. With restrictions on traditional ways of life, quick breads and yeast breads were made with government rations as survival food, with variations on how they’re prepared, fried and baked. Our diets continue to change and incorporate many new foods, but fried breads remain a staple and even a special occasion food. A popular treat in today’s Inuvialuit culture, we call fried bread dough ‘donuts’ distinctive for their satisfying round shape with holes.
Golden and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, these Inuvialuit-style donuts are satisfying treat, similar to Beaver Tails or Elephant Ears found at carnivals. As a high carb, high fat food, they provide fast energy ideal for life in the Arctic, and pair well with many of our traditional foods. These treats have a special place in our culture and are another way we show our love. I typically make them a few times per year, and they never last very long! I enjoy mine plain or dusted in sugar with a cup of hot tea.
Related: Fried Bannock Dogs
This recipe requires 90 minutes rise time.
Mix flour and salt, then make a well in the centre.
Add sugar and yeast to warm water, stir and let sit for 2 minutes.
Add oil and yeast mixture to flour.
Using a whisk, mix until the centre is like a thick batter, then use your hand to incorporate remaining flour. Knead until smooth, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to prevent drying. Cover with a cotton towel. Proof until doubled in size, approximately 60-90 minutes.
In a deep pot or large frying pan add oil or lard to 1 ½-inch high (depending on pan size, you’ll need about 1-1 ½ litres of vegetable oil or 2-3 pounds of lard). Heat over medium-high.
Take an apple-sized piece of dough, roll in a ball, flatten to ½-inch thick with your palms and fingers, should be slightly larger than palm sized. Use your fingers to pinch a centre hole. Make 6 more holes around the centre, evenly spaced.
Gently place in hot oil, use caution to avoid splashing.
Fry a few minutes on each side to your liking, golden to brown.
Use tongs to remove from oil, allowing excess oil to drip back into the pan.
Place on a paper towel covered platter to absorb excess oil.
Enjoy as-is or add your topping of choice.