How to make Piki

“God is real, so the more real you become the more like God you’ll be”

“The best way to have your dreams come true is to wake up”

“Self Judgment is the only judgment there is.”

Tobias Lars

Thank mother earth for the corn.

This recipe has three ingredients.  You are going to have trouble finding two of them, so perhaps the first step is to plant a dozen or so Blue Corn seeds.  I am not making this up, there is such a thing as blue corn.





Blue corn.







You will also need a large flagstone, about 30 inches square and at least an inch thick.  That’s the breadpan for this recipe. Generally the flagstone is a slab of shale.

You are also going to need several pounds of green juniper.  or, if your local grocery store stocks juniper ash, you can get it there.



Hopi Piki Bread









To make Piki Bread, you will need the following:

1 cup green juniper eeshch’ih (ashes.)  Make the ashes by burning the juniper under the flagstone, and just scoop out as much as you need as the stone gets very hot.  You might want to build your stove early, it’s a fairly simple process.  Dig a hole, a little smaller than your flagstone. use stones about the size of two fists together to make a two sided stand for the flagstone on either side of the hole.  Put the juniper into the hole and start it burning.  Use small sticks, and a lot of them, since you will be using the ash.   After the fire is burning well put the flag stone over it.  Be sure there is room for air to get to the fire, and that you have space to collect the ash you will need.  You will also need to add juniper twigs to the fire.  The stone must be very hot.

As the stone heats, coat it with fat or tallow.  You get this from the animal you are going to have with your meal.  It is not added to the batter.  If you are being health conscious, use sunflower oil.  But keep in mind that the tradition calls for animal fat.  It’s only there to keep the batter from sticking to the cooking stone, and as you use the stone, less is needed.





Piki Stone griddle







1 cup blue ‘ak’11n dich’7zhii (Blue Corn Meal)  {pronounce that eh ah ahn duhch she’e}  Hopi’s will turn away when they laugh at that, they are very polite people.  You make the Blue Corn Meal in a matate, with a mano, and you must grind it very fine, like cake flour.





Metate and Mano, from a museum collection, Mayan, with cocoa beans.  This is a very fancy set.  I have seen them ground into native stone, and there are many much simpler forms.


1 cup boiling t0 {tah OH} expect another giggle or two.  To boil the water you will need a clay bowl, put it on the right side of the fire, close enough so that the water will boil. I will not go into how you get the clay bowl.  Just let it be known that they are made well in advance and are heated in a traditional kiln.  Some of them are worth thousands of dollars.  Use a cheap one.  The fire will stain it.

3 cups t0 {tah OH} this water is cold, it us used to thin the batter. 

Mix ash with boiling water; strain juniper ash into pot. Stir. Add blue cornmeal. Stir with a juniper stick. Let cool. Spread on hot, greased flag stone with palm of hand. Be certain the layer is very thin. Cook for a very short time. (three to five SECONDS) Carefully lift the paper-thin layer from griddle by rolling from one end to the other jelly-roll fashion. Makes 1 batch.  One batch is enough for about three 16 by 2 inch rolls.  It will keep several months.  Protect it from water and it is very fragile.

The batter should be so watery that when you spread it, a paper thin layer is formed. The best of the best is made with three slightly overlapping passes so that you have a sheet about 18 inches square.  flip the ends inward, and roll so the seams are on the long axis of the roll.  Piki is sometimes phonetically spelled Pi’iki.  The word has two and a half syllables.

This bread is still made in the Pueblos of the Acoma and Hopi.  The Navajo, when they were first put on reservations by the US Government devised the bread we call “Indian Fry Bread.”  That food was invented around the time of the US Civil war when the Navajo were taken away from their traditional lands.  It’s pretty good stuff, but it is definitely not a Traditional Indian food.  There is a traditional food a bit like it, you know it as a corn tortilla.   The European equivalent is hardtack,  made with flour and water, its not very popular these days.

If you have ever imagined eating a newspaper, you have a pretty good idea of the texture of Piki.  If you have ever eaten sweet corn roasted in charcoal you have a close approximation of the flavor.

Piki is eaten plain.  No honey, no dips, no gravy, no powdered sugar.  It goes well with a tall glass of fresh spring water.  It is also used as a ceremonial offering to the spirits.  And it is that good.  Food for the angels, so to speak.

Some of the information, and images for this article were provided by “Sedona Soul Counseling”  with Tobias Lars.

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