Hush Puppies are a beloved Southern American dish consisting of small, deep-fried balls made from a cornmeal-based batter. They have a golden, crispy exterior and a soft, tender interior. Hush Puppies are commonly served as a side dish or appetizer in seafood restaurants, barbecues, and fish fries. They are thought to have originated in the Southern United States, where they became popular as an inexpensive, filling, and delicious staple.
The name “Hush Puppies” has an interesting origin story. One popular tale claims that cooks would fry up these small cornmeal treats and toss them to barking dogs to quiet them down, hence the name “Hush Puppies.” Regardless of the name’s origin, these little bites have become a cherished part of Southern cuisine.
Here’s a simple Hush Puppies recipe for you to try:
- 1 cup (120g) cornmeal
- 1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, for a little heat)
- 1 small onion, finely minced
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using) until well combined.
- Stir in the finely minced onion, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout the dry mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; the batter should be thick but still slightly lumpy.
- Allow the batter to rest for about 10 minutes, giving the cornmeal time to absorb some of the liquid and the flavors to meld together.
- While the batter rests, preheat about 2 inches (5 cm) of vegetable oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer to 365°F (185°C). Use a candy or deep-fry thermometer to monitor the temperature.
- Once the oil is heated, carefully drop spoonfuls of batter (about 1 tablespoon each) into the hot oil. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot, as this can cause the oil temperature to drop and result in soggy Hush Puppies.
- Fry the Hush Puppies for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove them from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
- Repeat the process with the remaining batter, ensuring that the oil temperature stays consistent between batches.
- Serve the Hush Puppies warm, alongside your favorite dipping sauce, or as a side dish with fried fish, seafood, or barbecued meats.
Hush Puppies can be easily customized by adding various ingredients to the batter, such as jalapeños, cheddar cheese, garlic, or fresh herbs. They are a versatile and delicious addition to any Southern-inspired meal, offering a unique combination of textures and flavors that are sure to satisfy.