In Australia, Hush Puppies are a brand of sensible shoes, typically paired with reinforced pantihose and worn by old ladies who still wear hats. In America they’re a cornmeal fritter, filled with anything from onions to fish to vegetables. The version below is pretty standard, so don’t be too scared to improvise.
- 190 g (6¾ oz/1 cup) polenta (cornmeal); preferably the real stuff, not the ‘instant’ variety
- 75 g (2½ oz/½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground espelette pepper or chilli powder
- 180 ml (6 fl oz) milk
- 1 egg
- 1 small brown onion, finely diced
- 8 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced, including the green bits
- 1 small green jalapeño chilli, stem removed, then cut in half and very finely chopped
- 3 tbsp thinly sliced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) canola oil, for shallow-frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
In a good-sized mixing bowl, combine the polenta, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg, then add to the dry ingredients, but don’t overmix. Add the onion, spring onion, chilli and parsley and stir to combine.
Half-fill a medium-sized cast-iron frying pan with the oil. Heat over medium heat for 5–8 minutes. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in a teaspoon of batter: it should sizzle when it hits the pan. The oil needs to be hot enough to sizzle the batter, but not so hot that it burns the outside before the inside cooks.
Working in batches, fry up tablespoons of the mixture until golden brown, and then cook just a little bit longer —the hushpuppies should be crispy.
Drain on paper towel, season enthusiastically with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Recipe and image from Fried Chicken and Friends: The Hartsyard Family Cookbook by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart (Murdoch Books, $49.99, hbk). View our Readable Feasts review and more recipes from the book here.