Savoury cornmeal balls that are synonymous with what Americans refer to as the ‘south’, hush puppies are a by-product of leftover batter that remained after the fisherfolk fried their fish to fix up a meal. To draw an Indian parallel, more specifically in Maharashtra, similar treatment is given to the gram flour batter that remains after frying bhajiyas, which turn into choora or boondi that is used to stuff vada pavs. Although parallel, hush puppies aren’t similar in any other way in the sense that although the origins come from a result of avoiding the wastage of excess batter, unlike the choora, these resemble fritters due to their soft and fluffy texture.

The origin story behind the hush puppy has nothing to do with the adorable pets but were in fact coined by a fish fry seller named Romeo Govan, who sold his famous fish fries and ‘red horse bread’ aka the hush puppy. Red Horse is a type of fish that southerners in the USA consumed after dipping in a cornmeal-based batter. The leftover batter was then rolled into balls that were fried and fed to the dogs who would linger around the shops in order to ‘hush’ them up, a case in point of how they ended up with the name. Best eaten as is when hot, these balls can also be served with a sweet-spicy honey mustard or any kind of hot sauce of your choice.

Recipe:

 

Ingredients:

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  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  • Mix together the flour, cornmeal and the remaining dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork to stir, slowly add the buttermilk and combine until you get a thick batter, resembling what’s typically used for medu vadas.
  • Cube the cold butter into tiny pieces and add to the batter along with the chives and beaten egg. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or frying pan and using a measuring spoon or ice cream scoop, drop the batter gently into the oil and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot with a hot sauce or tartar sauce or a honey-mustard sauce.

Note: You can also add chopped shrimp or fish into the batter to make a seafood version of hush puppies which are equally delicious.