Hush puppies. This might possibly be the most unhealthy vegan food I have ever made. But these crunchy little deep-fried balls of cornmeal goodness are actually things of wonder, crisp on the outside but pillowy soft and fluffy on the inside. Let’s just face it, fried food is delicious and sinfully good.
Hushpuppy is also the name of the most unforgettable character I saw on film this past year, in my favorite of all the Oscar nominees, Beasts of the Southern Wild. I was completely entranced by Hushpuppy’s magical, other worldly, sometimes cruel but often whimsical life in the bayou. This little firecracker of a girl is also hard on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. If you see any of the films nominated this year, it should be this one.
But back to those fried little fritters. I veganized this recipe from Martha Stewart, who isn’t Southern but she knows how to make things good. They really are delicious, so splurge a little. Fry these up today and eat a salad tomorrow.
Vegan Hush Puppies
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. grated onion with juice
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
1. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the cayenne. In a separate bowl, stir the lemon juice into the soymilk, then let stand several minutes to curdle (this makes a vegan buttermilk). Whisk together the “buttermilk,” applesauce, and
onion. Stir wet mixture into cornmeal mixture. Batter will be as thick
as a heavy pancake batter.
2. Heat 4 inches oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over high heat
until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 360 degrees. Working in batches,
drop batter by the tablespoon into oil. Cook, turning occasionally,
until cooked through and deep golden brown, 1-2 minutes on each side. (Adjust heat
so that temperature remains constant.) Transfer hush puppies to a
paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Serve warm.