This is a version of the beloved hushpuppy. There is a balance of sweetness from the honey, spiciness from the cayenne, sour notes from the jalapeno and saltiness from the cheddar, which makes these hushpuppies my favourite. This recipe serves 4 as a side.
As we have seen with other American Southern food origin myths, the cutesy tales often undersell the quality of old Southern dishes. But early accounts of hushpuppies make clear that diners treated this new food not as a cheap substitute but as a luxury. One reporter who penned an account of the bread at a fish fry commented, “This was a new bread to the writer, and so delicious, that I beg lovers of the finny tribe to try some.” When a correspondent for Modern Beekeeping visited a fish fry, he noted, “Every visiting lady was soon busy with pencil and paper taking down the recipe. (The men were too.)”
There are many different stories about their origin. The most common being that their name comes from the time of the Great Depression, when loads of people were going hungry. When they did get a bit of food, their hungry dogs would hang around whining, so they’d throw these little buns to them to keep them quiet. Were actual balls of fried cornmeal batter ever thrown to real dogs to shut them up? I doubt it, especially considering the high esteem in which early eaters of hushpuppies seemed to hold the treat, and you’d have to be an especially generous dog owner to let the hound enjoy such a luxury. It seems far more likely that “hush puppy” was simply a euphemism for stopping the dogs in your stomach from growling!
160g of fine-ground yellow cornmeal
60g of all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsps of baking powder
½ tsps of salt
¼ tsps of cayenne pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
180ml of whole milk
2 tbsps of honey
45g of cheddar cheese, grated
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
oil, for frying
In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, beat together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until everything is combined. Cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
In a pan, heat oil at least 3 inches deep, making sure the oil remains at a steady temperature.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Once the oil has heated to at least 180°C, drop rounded tablespoon scoops into the oil in batches of six.
As soon as the hushpuppies begin to float, flip, allowing both sides to get nice and golden brown. They only need about 1 minute total in the oil.
Remove the hushpuppies from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Once all of the hushpuppies have drained, place them into a shallow baking pan in a 180°C oven for 7-10 minutes until the center of the hushpuppies are set.
Serve piping hot!