Cherokee Tribal Food Distribution Program

Aggie Ross’s Bean Bread Dinner with Fish and Greens

Aggie Ross's Bean Bread Dinner with Fish and Greens

Watson Harlan
This small meal combines her bread with some boiled wild greens, a bit of Cherokee barbecued meat, and a beverage made for guests and travelers out of the water used to make the hominy.
Cherokee food at its core is about making enough for everyone, and focusing on the quality flavors of the food over any imagined class. Everyone is equally deserving of food, everyone should feel welcome at our fire, and food should be accessible to all. This dish is not only a good symbol of who we are as people, but is a bit of a reminder to us what we're supposed to do with what we've got. Gadugi, when it comes to it, is more than a few words; it's a series of actions and frames of mind we use as Cherokee people, and as long as we keep Gadugi close to our heart, we will endure as a nation.
Cuisine Cherokee


  • freshly ground corn meal still wet
  • beans, chestnuts, or sweet potatoes cooked, but not soft
  • trout, redhorse, or other freshwater caught fish
  • sochan, jellico, angelica, wanegid, or branch lettuce
  • salt
  • red pepper
  • sage


Bean Bread

  • Cook beans until soft.
  • Add fresh flour corn to a pot of boiling water by the fire. With a sieve or oak basket, sift wood ashes into the corn as it boils. Stir occasionally. Boil until the mixture thickens and bubbles.
  • Once the corn is done, remove from fire and place corn in a sieve or basket, collecting corn water into a jar or bowl. Serve as hot beverage or chill and let "sour" until cold, then store in fridge.
  • Rinse with remaining corn with water.
  • Drain excess moisture from the corn, then beat the corn into a meal with a Kanona or mortar.
  • Mix cooked beans into the still warm meal and press into balls or flat dumplings. Do NOT salt as this will make the meal fall apart.
  • Wrap dumplings in hickory or cucumber tree leaves or corn blades.
  • Drop wrapped dumplings into boiling water and cook until done. Remove and serve with animal grease.


  • Place fat and fresh greens in a hot pan. Fry until tender. For large batches, steaming is an option, being careful not to overcook. Doing so will make them bitter and reduce their nutrients.


  • Cut fish into small strips and salt.
  • Bake until golden brown and cooked throughout (no longer releasing moisture, but not too dry).
  • Add pepper and sage or wood sorrel for seasoning.
  • If there is leftover meal from dumplings, mash fish into corn and serve.
  • Serve with dumplings, greens, and hominy drink.
Keyword beans, Bread, corn, fish

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