Hushpuppies are said to have originated in the South during the Civil War era and are still quite popular throughout the southern United States.
Seasonings may vary slightly in hushpuppy recipes, but hushpuppies are basically a seasoned cornmeal batter that is dropped by the spoonfull into hot oil to cook.
Hushpuppies are very easy to prepare. By adhering to the following recipe and recipe notes, anyone can serve a tasty batch of homemade hushpuppies at their next fish fry or barbecue.
<><> Basic Recipe for Preparing Hushpuppies <><>
2-1/4 c. self-rising white cornmeal mix
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. buttermilk
2 lg. eggs
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying Combine cornmeal mix, bell pepper, onion, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper in a large mixing bowl; make a well in center of mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs then slowly add to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to moisten. Let mixture stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven or deep cast iron pot; heat oil to 375F (190C). Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Fry, in small batches, 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on wire racks over paper towels; serve hot. Yields approximately 2 dozen.
<><> Recipe Notes <><>
1. When preparing the batter, stir only 8 or so times around the bowl – just until the dry ingredients are barely combined with the liquid ingredients. (Over-mixing causes a tough texture.)
2. Use a pot that is at least 6-inches deep and fits the largest element on the stovetop. Either a deep cast iron pot or a 6-quart Dutch oven is a good choice for frying hushpuppies.
3. Place a clean ruler in the pot to determine the 2-inch depth of oil. The batter needs to be submerged in the oil, so do not under-fill pot.
4. Oil temperature should be maintained at 375F (190C). If the temperature is too low, the hushpuppies absorb oil and if it’s too high, the outside will burn before the inside is done. The temperature dial on the stovetop will need to be adjusted slightly throughout frying to maintain the ideal cooking temperature. Monitor the oil temperature with a candy/deep-fat fry thermometer that may be purchased inexpensively at most grocery stores.
5. Use 2 ‘soup-size’ spoons or a 1 tablespoon-measure ice cream scoop, covered with vegetable cooking spray, to gently drop the batter into the oil. Caution: Be careful not to splash the hot oil.
6. Hushpuppies will often flip themselves over when done on the underside. Use a frying utensil or slotted spoon to turn the rest. Hushpuppies are done when the rough bumps or high spots are a golden brown.
7. Fry hushpuppy batter in small batches. Large batches will reduce the oil temperature and alter the quality of the finished hushpuppies. Keep fried hushpuppies warm in an oven at 225F (107C) for up to 15 minutes while frying additional batches.
8. Cooking oil (especially peanut oil) may be used moe than once for frying if stored properly. After hushpuppies are cooked, let oil cool thoroughly. Remove cooked particles by straining oil through a fine wire-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter. Use a funnel to pour the filtered oil into an empty cooking oil bottle or disposable plastic container with a lid. Label, date and store under refrigeration for up to 1 month.
Recipes and Technique…
There are many, many excellent recipes available for homemade hushpuppies. Some people prefer a spicier version by adding a seeded, diced jalapeno to the batter and some prefer to use beer rather than buttermilk to prepare the batter – simply a matter of personal taste. Just follow the above cooking techniques and enjoy experimenting with various ingredients. Unless burned or undercooked, it is really difficult to make a bad batch of hushpuppies.
Copyright ©2005 Janice Faulk Duplantis
About the author: Janice Faulk Duplantis, author and publisher, currently maintains a website that focuses on both Easy Gourmet and French/Cajun Cuisine. Visit Bedrock Press at http://www.bedrockpress.com/ to see all it has to offer. In addition to writing syndicated culinary articles, Janice publishes 4 free monthly ezines: Gourmet Bytes, Lagniappe Recipe, Favorite Recipes and Cooking 101. Visit http://www.bedrockpress.com/subscribe.html to subscribe.