Hushpuppies are a Southern favorite. Fried balls of dough are not native to the Southern United States, but hushpuppies are the only dough balls I’ve come across that are made with cornmeal. There are falafels in the Middle East made with chickpeas, Kasai in Tibet made with wheat flour, beignets in France, also made with wheat flour…frying balls of dough seems to be a good idea in many cultures.
Hushpuppies are generally served as a side to fried seafood and can be found as an appetizer or side dish at many Southern seafood restaurants. My grandmother told me that hushpuppies came from the leftover batter used to fry the seafood that was fried and given to the dogs during a hunt to keep the dogs quiet while the hunters ate.
This recipe makes about 8 decent-sized hushpuppies.
1 cup white cornmeal
4 Tbs flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ cup onion – finely diced
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
In a medium-sized sauce pan or stock pot pour enough cooking oil to cover the hushpuppies; about 4 inches deep. Heat oil on medium high heat, until it is hot, but not smoking.
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add onions and stir well. Pour buttermilk in slowly, adding only a little at a time and stirring the mixture and checking the consistency. The batter should be slightly dry, but should stick together without crumbling when rolled into a ball. If the batter is dry, continue adding buttermilk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. If the batter is too wet, add a little more cornmeal.
Using your hands, roll the batter into balls, about 2 inches in diameter, or roughly the size of a golf ball. Place balls on a wooden spoon and slowly lower into the preheated oil. Cook until brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove hushpuppies to a paper towel to remove excess oil. Do not cover the hushpuppies with paper towel or they will get soggy.
Serve hot with fried fish or ribs! Really you can serve these with just about any dinner and they’ll be great.
I have had hushpuppies with corn kernels in them. You could add fresh, frozen or canned (drained) corn kernels to the batter. For the recipe above I would limit it to about ¼ cup because the kernels will add moisture.
You could also add about ¼ cup of sugar to the batter and increase the buttermilk by 2 tablespoons for a sweeter hushpuppy. After they’ve rested on the paper towels for a minute or two, roll them in cinnamon sugar for an after-dinner treat.