Jalapeño Hushpuppies

When it comes to cooking I often have been the “skip to the good part” type. Let me just say THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! Now that our family has entered the homesteading arena we tend to look at things quite a bit differently though. Cooking now feels more rewarding somehow. I’m thinking the entire time I’m cooking, “I grew this. My family grew this.” The feeling is really hard to describe. The flip side of growing your food is being ready to use it when it is ready to be used. Many times what you grow a lot of may not be what you had anticipated having a bumper crop of. This is really the case with us the last two years with the many pounds of peppers we are harvesting weekly. These include hots and sweets! The issue then becomes what to do with them all?! Enter Google. While searching for a vegan hushpuppy recipe I came a cross this idea. Now I’ve made Mexican cornbread many times but to shrink that into an hushpuppy now that seemed fun! So below you will find the modified version of the recipe along with the completely made on the spot dipping sauce. You know we always adapt recipes to our tastes and what is in our cabinets. As a result it ended up not being vegan. However, it can easily be adjusted to such. Let’s cook!

The Ingredients

  • Cooking oil of choice (we used avocado)
  • 5 small to medium jalapeños
  • 1 cup corn meal (we used self rising)
  • 1 cup flour (we used all purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I’ll tell you about this mistake later!)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3 tablespoons plant butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Cajun spice blend to taste
For the Dip
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 3 large leaves of basil
  • 2 tablespoons pickled banana peppers with juice
  • 1 clove pickled garlic

Now before you go mixing all those ingredients up let me just suggest leaving off the baking powder if your meal is self rising of course. I did not realize that my cornmeal was self rising! The first batch of these more than doubled in size by the time they were done. I reduced the size of the next batch to accommodate. You may notice too that water was used instead of milk. Look y’all (all my Southern just came out), if I can substitute something without sacrificing quality to avoid a trip to the store best believe I am going to do it! I added the butter to compensate. This just keeps the texture from being too dry.

The Prep

There really isn’t much prep to this recipe which puts it in the win category for sure!

  • Jalapeños – Wash, de-seed, remove ribs, and then finely chop.

Let’s Cook the Hushpuppies

Add oil to frying pan or deep fryer. Put on a medium-high heat. While that is coming to temperature we will begin mixing our ingredients. Mix dry ingredients separately from liquids mixing both together after they have been thoroughly mixed separately. I added the jalapeños into the complete mixture slowly so as to distribute them as evenly as possible through the mixture.

I like to test the readiness of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into it. You will quickly recognize whether or not it is ready. We used avocado oil as it has become our favorite oil for frying. It has a higher burn point which means you can cook at higher temperatures without smoking up your kitchen. Cooking at higher temperatures means less oil absorbs into your food. Win-win! It also means that you have to pay even closer attention to your food! You have been warned! In the above directions it was suggested to cook over a medium-high heat however we cooked ours on high. If you have not experimented with frying with avocado oil just know it comes highly recommended. The upfront cost is a bit more than the oils commonly used for frying but I feel like avocado oil makes up the difference. Do the research. When you do buy be sure to get a good quality one. Back to cooking…

On a medium-high heat it will take about 4-5 minutes till your puppies are golden brown. This of course is variable depending on the size you chose to go with. I initially used a tablespoon size which is what I recommend. Since we accidentally added baking powder I decreased the size to half a tablespoon. Depending on the depth of your pan you may need to rotate halfway through that cooking time so that they brown evenly. We got 15 puppies out of this recipe. These stay hot for a minute especially if cooked on high heat! They will be just the perfect temperature once your dip is completed.

Let’s Make the Dip!

This dip was completely made on the spot by items we readily had on hand. We recently began propagating basil in a jar on the kitchen sink to fill in rows in the high tunnel so the basil was literally at arms reach. I simply added all the ingredients to the food processor and processed until smooth. Initially I added the pickled peppers without the juice. The sauce wasn’t saucy enough for me so I went back and added the juice. It gave the texture and a nice spicy tang that I was looking for. The garlic clove was in with the peppers. We made these a couple of months ago for use on sandwiches and have actually used them for everything BUT SANDWHICHES! The family really loved the sauce, dare I say, MORE than the hushpuppies!

It occurred to me that this could be a good game day snack. Also if you wanted to you could add frozen corn and/or Vidalia onions to the batter for a bit more sweetness. Just do you! Make this recipe yours and remember to have fun while in that kitchen – from our family to yours!