My youngest daughter came home from school and told me she had a project where she needed to make a corn dish. My little girl is in fourth grade not culinary school, so I wasn’t expecting to hear something like this, but I was delighted to help her with her project. We brainstormed together about what corn dishes to make and I threw out some options. She wanted to make something delicious, but not something everyone else was going to make so she decided on hushpuppies. They are a little similar to cornbread, but deep fried in bite size pieces traditionally served with seafood.
A lot of the food I make on this website is made with my children, but this recipe was more my youngest daughter doing the work with me only helping. The hushpuppies are firm on the outside, with a fluffy bread on the inside and they’ve got a slight kick from the green onions. So the first thing my daughter did (after washing her hands) was slice some green onions. We needed a quarter cup, but she just cut the onions until her eyes started to burn and I had to take over.
While my little one was cutting the green onions I was getting the oil ready. We used canola oil and I was pouring it about three inches deep in one of my stock pots. When I deep fry food I like to use a stock pot so I can avoid hot oil splattering all over the kitchen. Also, I like it because it’s wide enough where it’ll cover the burner to avoid grease dripping onto an open flame and causing a fire.
The next thing we did was mix together our dry ingredients with the green onions. Flour, corn meal, baking soda, salt and pepper all whisked together in a large mixing bowl, then we added the green onions. In a separate bowl we mixed our wet ingredients; which was nothing more than some buttermilk and an egg. My daughter Mackenzie cracked the egg like a pro, then whisked it with the buttermilk and then stirred it into the dry ingredients making the batter.
My pot of oil was over a medium size flame on the stove and I was periodically checking the temperature because it is crucial when deep frying food. The ideal temperature to cook the hushpuppies is 375F. If it’s not hot enough the food will by greasy and oil soaked, but if it’s too hot, the outside will be burned before the inside can fully cook. I usually set the pot over a medium-low flame so the temperature of the oil creeps up slowly, because if the temperature is creeping up too fast, it’ll be really hard to slow it down before it gets too hot.
I used two spoons to drop the batter into the hot oil. I used one spoon to scoop about a tablespoon and I used the second spoon to scrape it off the first spoon into the oil. It’s important to do this close to the hot oil so it doesn’t make a splash. We fried the Hushpuppies in batches of three or four, flipping them around with a slotted spoon so they cooked evenly. They cook fast, about one or two minutes, until they’re golden brown. After there’re done cooking we let them rest on a baking sheet with some paper towels to absorb any oil on the outside.
Mackenzie’s school project turned out to be quite flavorful and tasted very good with breaded tilapia. I have to admit that she did most of the work all by herself I just guided her with the recipe and make sure she didn’t hurt herself or start any fires.
Adapted from Chef In You