Old New World: Crow biinettalappao

biinettalappao: blueberries, water and agave nectar 

Biinettalappao is a Crow pudding or gravy frequently made with chokecherries but also made with buffalo berries, huckleberries, blueberries, wild plums and grapes. Sadly, I've never even seen a chokecherry, so I went the blueberry route. Historically this thick fruit sauce was made by simmering parings from animal hides; more recently, arrowroot and other thickeners are used as well. As arrowroot has been cultivated in the Americas for over 7000 years, I used that.


makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups + 2 TBSP water
  • agave nectar, to taste
  • 2 TBSP arrowroot

In a pot, combine the blueberries and 2 cups of the water. Cook, stirring over medium heat, until the berries soften, and some burst. Sweeten to taste. 

In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot and the 2 TBSP of water to make a slurry. Stir slurry into the fruit and water mixture and simmer until thickened.


bubbling biinettalappao


You may need to adjust the amount of sweetener and thickener depending on what kind of fruit you use.  I used 1 TBSP agave nectar.

If you can find chokecherries, try them and let me know how it goes! They should be a very bright red. Traditionally the pits are left in and the seeds simply spat out, but you can strain the final mixture instead.

Recipe from Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking  by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs.

biinettalappao in a small bowl