Native Americans were cooking ground corn long before European explorers arrived. As there was no corn in Europe, southern Native American culture (Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Choctaw) was one of the main contributors to southern cooking and from their culture came one of the main staples of the southern table: corn (maize), ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy. Corn was used to make all manner of recipes from cornbread and grits to whiskey and moonshine, which is about all you need to get by. Cornbread was popular during the War of Northern Aggression because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and shapes. It could be shaped into high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried for a quick supper.
Indian Influence: Several of the most important food dishes that the Southeastern Indians live on today is the “soul food” eaten by both black and white southerners. Sofkee livse on as grits, cornbread is a cornerstone of southern cooking. Check out our homemade cornbread recipe here. Another Ma Roux tradition. Indian fritters known as hoe cake or Johnny cake and boiled cornbread is present in southern cuisine as corn meal dumplings and hushpuppies.
Typical hushpuppy ingredients include cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, salt, baking soda, milk or buttermilk, and water, and may include onion, scallion, garlic, whole kernel corn, and peppers, especially japs. The batter should be mixed well, until thick, and dropped a spoonful at a time into hot oil. The small breads are fried until crispy golden brown, and cooled. Hushpuppies are served with seafood or barbecued foods. Otherwise known as corn fritters elsewhere, ingredients such as conch or shrimp mix well in their sweet batter.
Anyone from the Redneck Riviera, which includes the Gulf coast region from Mississippi to the Florida panhandle, knows that no plastic basket of fried seafood is complete without a couple of hushpuppies. They are the cornerstone of any meal served on wax paper and if you aren’t familiar with that, then you might be a little too fancy pants.
- Vegetable oil
- 1 Cup self rising yellow corn meal
- ½ Cup self rising flour
- 1 t sugar
- ½ t baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 1 Cup diced onion
- ¾ Cup buttermilk
- Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a skillet; heat to 350
- Stir together cornmeal and next four ingredients in a large mixing bowl
- Add buttermilk stirring just until moistened (slightly thicker than cake batter)
- Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into hot oil, and fry in batches, 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown
- Turn often
- Drain on wire rack over paper towels or back magazine issues
- Serve immediately
- You can add jalapenos to the mix to make it mas bueno.