Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

FOOD & NUTRITION

 

 

 

 

25 CHEROKEE RECIPES

From Momfeather Erickson

 

I do not remember where I got these, but some of it was written in Tsalagi

 

 

 

Bean Balls

 
2 cups brown beans
4 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
(soda is used in place of lye water)


Boil beans in salted water until tender. Put cornmeal, flour and soda in large mixing bowl. Mix well. Add boiled beans and some of the juice to the cornmeal/flour mixture to form a stiff dough. Roll in balls and drop into pot of boiling hot water. Let cook for 30 minutes at a slow boil.

 


 

Bean Bread (tu-ya ga-du)

 

Cook about 2 quarts of brown beans until thick and soupy, add salt to your taste Add 1/4 cup of oil or two tablespoons of pure grease.  When beans are done and still boiling, place in a bowl 4-8 cups of yellow corn meal and 1/2 cup of oil, stir this until well incorporated, pour the boiling beans into the corn meal about 4-6 cups or more. Pour into a well oiled pan and bake in 350 degree oven. When it is done, cut into squares and enjoy.

 

 


 

Cormeal Cookies (Se-lu I-sa U-ga-na-s-da) 

 

Cream together: 
     3/4 cup margarine 
     3/4 cup sugar 

     Add the following ingredients until smooth: 
     1 egg 
     1 tsp. vanilla 

     Add and mix well: 
     1 1/2 cup flour 
     1/2 cup cornmeal 
     1 tsp. baking powered 
     1/4 tsp. salt 

     Optional: 
     1/2 cup raisins 

Drop dough from tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen. 

 


 

Crawfish - (Ge-Dv-Nv)

 

Catch crawfish by baiting them with groundhog meat or buttermilk. Pinch off tails and legs to use. Parboil, remove hulls and fry the little meat that is left. When crisp, it is ready to eat. Crawfish can also be used in a soup or stew after it is fried.

 

 


 

Cabbage - (U-S-Ge-Wi)

 

Wilt cabbage in a small amount of grease (go-i). Add some pieces of green peppers and cook until cabbage turns red. Serve with cornbread (se-lu ga-du). 

 

 

 


 

Corn and Beans - (Se-Lu A-Su-Yi Tsu-Ya)

 

Skin flour corn with lye and cook. Cook colored beans. Put the cooked corn and beans together and cook some more. Add pumpkin if you like, cooking until pumpkin is done.

 

Add to this a mixture of cornmeal, beaten walnuts and hickory nuts, and enough molasses to sweeten. Cook this in an iron pot until the meal is done. Eat fresh or just after it begins to sour. This will not keep too long after it begins to sour unless the weather is cold.

 


 

Cornmeal Gravy (selu'si asusdi)

 

Fry some meat (about 4 pcs.side meat) Have enough grease to cover cornmeal. Add about 1/2 cup of meal (you may wanna salt this a bit, unless you like bland) Brown the meal in grease until light brown. Add 2 1/2 cups of milk, stir and let boil until thick. Serve hot over any kind of bread. (This was my elisi's favorite poured on top of hoe cakes)

 


 

Cornmeal Mush - (Selu'sa Anista)

 

Corn meal 

boiling water

(1 part corn meal to 4 parts water)

salt to taste
 

Put water in saucepan. Cover and let it become boiling hot over the fire; then add a tablespoon of salt. Take off the light scum from the top. Take a handful of the cornmeal with the left hand and a pudding stick in the right (or vise versa if you're a southpaw); then with the stick, stir the water around and by degrees let fall the meal. When one handful is exhausted, refill it; continue to stir and add meal until it is as thick as you can stir easily, or until the stick will stand in it. Stir it awhile longer. Let the fire be gentle.

When it is sufficiently cooked which will be in half an hour, it will bubble or buff up. Turn it into a deep basin. Good eaten cold or hot, with milk or butter and syrup or sugar, or with meat and gravy or it may be sliced when cold and fried.

 


 

Dried Apples - (Unikaya)

 

Peel and quarter ripe apples, or slice and dry in the sun. Cook the dried apples until done. If the cooked apple needs to be thickened, add cornmeal and cook until meal is done.

 

 

 

 


 

Dried Corn Soup 

 

1 ear dried blue and white or other corn,
removed from the cob
7 cups water (ama)
1 (2"x1") strip fat back, sliced 
5 oz. dried beef 
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (do qua yo di)

 

Soak the corn in 2 cups water for 48 hours. Place the corn and its soaking water in a large saucepan. Add the remaining water and the fat back, and simmer, covered, for about 3 hours and 50 minutes or until the corn is tender but not soft. 3. Mix in the dried beef and pepper, and simmer, stir for 10 minutes more.

 


 

Fried Squash Bread

 

1 cup Corn meal 
2 Summer squash -- diced 
1 Egg 
Water 
1/4 cup Buttermilk 

 

Cook squash in water until soft; leave 3/4 c. water in pot. Combine other ingredients with squash and water; mix together. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.

 


 

Ga-Na-S-Da-Tsi (Sassafras Tea) 

 

Red Sassafras roots
Water 

 

To make a tea, boil a few pieces of the root in water until  it is the desired strength. Sweeten with honey if desired. Serve hot or cold.  Note: Gather and wash the roots of the red sassafras. Do this in the spring before the sap begins to rise. Store for future use. Some natural food stores carry sassafrass root in a dried form. It will resemble wood chips (the kind  used when barbequeing). The "store bought" variety work just as well.  Sassafras tea tastes like watered down rootbeer and is really very good.

 


 

Greens Salad - (Guhitligi) 

 

Sweet grass (Oo-Ga-Na-S-Di) -  Old Field Creases (Oo-Li-Si) -  Ramps (Wa-S-Di) - 
Angelica (Wa-Ne-Gi-Duhn) -  Poke (Tla-Ye-De) -

 

Parboil, salt, then cooked some more with grease (go-i). Serve hot. 

 


 

Grape Dumplings 

 

Boil 1 gallon possum grapes, using just enough water to cover. Strain through a clean sack (or you can cheat and just use Welch's grape juice) *smile*   Knead plain flour and some grape juice as you would when making bread dough. (About 1 cup juice to 5 cups of flour.) Roll this out on a floured dough board very thin and cut into strips and drop the dough strips into the boiling grape juice. You may put in 1/2 cup of sugar to sweeten.

 

 

 


 

Spicewood Tea - (Gv-nv-s-dv-tli)


Small twigs of Spicewood

 

Boil twigs in water and serve hot. Sweeten if desired. Molasses or honey makes the best sweetening. Gather spicewood twigs in the spring when the buds first appear.

 

 

 

 


 

Hominy Corn Drink - (Gv-no-he-nv)


Corn, field dried or parched 
Wood ash lye 
Water 

 
Shell the corn (if still on the cob), and soak the kernels in wood ash lye until the skin can be removed (slipped).Remove from the lye and rinse with clear water. Drain.  Beat the corn in the corn beater (ko-no-na) until it is the size of hominy. Sift the meal from the larger corn particles. Cook the larger particles in water until they are done. Thicken with a little meal. Drink this hot or wait until it sours and drink it cold. The drink may be kept for quite a while unless the weather is very hot. This was a customary drink to serve to friends who dropped by for a visit. 

 


 

Huckleberry Bread (gadu guwa)

 

2 cups self rising flour 
1 egg 
1 cup sugar 
1 stick butter 
1 cup milk 
1 tea. vanilla 
2 cups berries (Huckleberry or blueberry) 

 

Cream eggs, butter and sugar.  Add flour, milk and vanilla.  Sprinkle flour on berries to prevent them from going to the bottom.  Add berries.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.


 


 

Leather Breeches - (Anikayosvhi Tsuya)               


1 pound fresh green beans, washed 
2 quarts water 
1/4 pound salt pork, diced
2 teaspoons salt 
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 
heavy thread 
darning needle

 

Snap the ends off the beans and string on heavy thread with needle. Hang in a sunny place to dry for about 2 months. To cook: Soak beans for 1 hour in the two quarts of water. Add the salt pork, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly, for 3 hours. Add more water if needed.

 


 

Potato Soup - (Nu-nv Oo-ga-ma)

 

Peel white potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Boil in water with an onion or two until potatoes and onions mash easily. After mashing, add some fresh milk and reheat the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

 

 

 

 


 

Ramps - (Wa-s-di)   

 

Gather young ramps soon after they come up. Parboil them, wash and fry in a little grease (go-i). Meal may be added if you wish. They may be cooked without being parboiled, or even eaten raw (if the eater is not social minded! *smile*)

 

 

 


 

Red Sumach Drink - (Qua-lo-ga)

 

Shell berries off and gently rub between the palms of your hands, being careful not to crush the berries but only the spines, drop into water, strain, sweeten to taste and chill.


 

 

 


 

Cherokee Succotash - (Iyatsuyadisuyi Selu)

 

Shell some corn and skin it with wood ashes lye. Cook corn and beans separately, then together. If desired, you may put pieces of pumpkin in. Be sure to put the pumpkin in early enough to get done before the pot is removed from the fire. 

 

 

 

 


 

Swamp Potatoes - (Tlawatsuhi'anehi Nunv) 

 

Gather and wash swamp potatoes. Bake in oven or in ashes until they are done. Beat the cooked potatoes in the corn beater until they are like any other meal. Use as meal is used. 

(During winter famines, many Cherokees had no other meal except that made from the swamp potatoes.)

 

 

 

 


 

Sweet Corn Mixture - (Sedi Tsuya Selu) 

 

Skin flour corn by putting it in lye. Cook the corn until it is done. Add beans and continue cooking until the beans are done. Add pumpkin and cook until it is done, then add walnut (se di) meal and a little corn meal. Add a little sugar or molasses if you'd like. Cook until the corn meal is done. 

 



Possum Grape Drink (Oo-ni-na-su-ga Oo-ga-ma) 

 Possum grapes (muscadine grapes), dried
 Water
 Corn meal 

 

Gather ripe possum grapes - the kind that are still sour after they ripen when the frost has fallen on them. Hang up for winter use.

 

To prepare: Shell off the grapes from the stems, wash, and stew them in water. When they are done, mash in the water they were cooked in. Let this sit until the seed settle, then strain, reserving liquid. Put the juice back on the fire and and bring to a boil. Add a little cornmeal to thicken the juice. Continue cooking until the meal is done. Remove from the fire and drink hot or cold. Sweeten, if desired.

 



Old Field Apricot Drink (Uwaga (Oo-Wa-Ga) 

 

Gather old field apricots 
(field apricots are the fruit of the passion flower) 


Hull out the seed and pulp, and put on to boil, discarding skins. Add a tiny bit of soda to make the seeds separate from the pulp. Squash out the pulp, straining the mixture through a cloth. Drink hot.

 



Wanegidv (Wah-neh-gee-Duh) 

 

Pick when tender, parboil, fry, and serve with eggs and bread or just bread.

 

 

 

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