I have eaten so many bad restaurant hush puppies, I decided to make them at home from fresh ground popcorn and wheat. I remember the first time I ate them when I was a child. My aunt made them, and I can still remember the crispy exterior, hearty corn flavor, and tender onions in every bite. These will not disappoint you.
This past week my daughter and son-in-law were visiting from New York City when my son-in-law mentioned that he likes hush puppies. I told him I would make a batch if he would help. We had a great time, and the hush puppies turned out perfectly. It was his first time using a grain mill. The Wonder Mill made the job fast and easy. He was proud of his success! The best part is that he did all the clean up.
Down Home Hush Puppies
(adapted from The Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon, Workman Publishing, New York, 2007.)
1 2/3 cups (224 grams) fresh ground popcorn or dent corn (I grind an extra 1/4 c to add as needed if the batter is not thick enough depending on the size of the eggs and weather. I prefer popcorn.)
1/4 cup (36 grams) fresh ground wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk (dry buttermilk powder and water may be substituted.)
1 medium onion, finely diced or minced
Peanut oil for frying
- To keep hush puppies warm as you fry them, preheat oven to 200° F.
- Combine the dry ingredients thoroughly in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs and buttermilk together.
- Stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients using minimal stirring. Stir in the diced onion. The batter should be thick enough to mound on the end of a teaspoon.
- Pour the oil into a large, deep skillet or pot to 1″ to 1 1/2″ deep. Heat oil over medium high heat to about 365° F or until a drop of batter sizzles and turns brown.
- Drop batter in using a teaspoon. Using a larger amount will result in a doughy, uncooked center. Work in batches of 5 or 6 hush puppies at a time being careful not to overcrowd the skillet. By the time you get the 5th or 6th one in, the first ones will probably need to be turned over. Use a slotted spoon or spider to turn them after the bottom has turned golden brown, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
- Remove from the oil once the second side is browned. Place on paper towels to drain. If they are not being eaten immediately, place them in a warm oven to hold. Repeat until all the batter has been fried into hush puppies.
- Serve with your favorite condiments. My family likes ketchup or ranch dressing.
- Substitute sweet milk for the buttermilk. Omit the baking soda and increase baking powder to 1 tablespoon. The hush puppies won’t be as tender, but perfectly edible.
- Add garlic powder or 3 or 4 pressed garlic cloves.
- Add 1 to 2 finely chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers.
- Add chopped green onions, parsley, or cilantro to the batter.