Recipes from Lakota Sioux

Make Your Own Wojapi

Wojapi is a traditional berry soup enjoyed by the Lakota. Before European contact, Wojapi was made with dried chokecherry patties. Dried/powdered timpsila (prairie turnip) was used as a thickener. These days, Wojapi is made from a variety of berries either fresh, frozen, dried or canned. Most people use cornstarch as a thickener nowadays.

5 pound bag of frozen berries-
(cherries, cranberries, blueberries or mixed berries)
2 cups of sugar or to taste
8 cups water
4 T. cornstarch dissolved in cold water
Put the frozen berries in a stock pot with water and simmer uncovered until softened (about 1 hour). Mash the berries with a potato masher or immersion blender. Add the dissolved cornstarch slowly, stirring, until well incorporated. Wojapi can be enjoyed warm or cold. A favorite way to eat Wojapi in Lakota country is with fry bread.


Make Your Own Wasna

Wasna is a traditional energy food that was used when fresh meat was not available. It was also used "on the road" when Lakota were hunting or moving camp as it is dense and filling but also light, portable and requires no cooking. Traditional Wasna was made by combining dried, pounded bison meat with dried chokecherry patties. Tallow held the mixture together. I have made dried, pounded meat the traditional way and the whole process takes about a month. Give it a try if you'd like, or save yourself a lot of time by finely shredding beef or bison jerky in a food processor.

2 c. shredded beef or bison jerky
1 c. chopped tart berries (chokecherries tart (sour) cherries or cranberries work best)
6 T. beef tallow or vegetable shortening
Shred the jerky and berries in a food processor. Mix in the tallow or shortening and stir until well incorporated. Form the mixture into patties and dry in a dehydrator or refrigerate and eat within 3 days.


Make Your Own Wohanpi

Wohanpi is a traditional soup, still very popular in Lakota Country today. In years past, Wohanpi would have been made with bison meat, prairie turnips and blo (wild potatoes). Today it is made from bison/beef, potatoes and other vegetables. If using bison, decrease cooking time. Bison has less fat than beef and if overcooked, it can get very tough.

3 c. cooked cubed beef or bison meat
6 c. beef broth
3 medium potatoes
peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots
cut in 1/2" slices
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Add the cooked meat to the broth in a stock pot. Add carrots, potatoes and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. If using bison, add the meat to the pot in the last 15 minutes of cooking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reference:


Lisa Spellman’s Fry Bread Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups warm water
Oil for frying
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well, add warm water and stir until dough begins to ball up. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough but don’t overwork it. Heat oil to 350 degrees in a frying pan. Pat or roll out baseball size pieces of dough and fry for about 3 minutes. You can sprinkle powdered sugar on the fry bread and eat it with the Wojapi or eat it plain with the soup or make an Indian taco out of it with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, kidney beans, or whatever toppings you like.