Hush puppies

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)


Serves 25–30   Approx time: 30   Difficulty: not too tricky


  • 300 g fine cornmeal or polenta
  • 100 g self-raising flour
  • 330 ml beer
  • 100 g fresh or frozen sweetcorn
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed or finely sliced
  • 120 g Cheddar cheese, freshly and finely grated
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 litre vegetable oil
  • smoked paprika


Hush puppies are little savoury doughnuts and I think they're quite cool. I was told their name comes from the time of the Great Depression, when loads of people were going hungry. When they did get a bit of food, their hungry dogs would hang around whining, so they'd throw these little buns to them to keep them quiet. That might be an old wives' tale, but if it is, I don't care because I like the story. OK, they're not the healthiest things on the planet, but every now and then . . . they're not going to hurt you.

Put the cornmeal and flour into a bowl, add your beer, and leave to sit for a few minutes. Add the corn, sliced spring onions, grated cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper and use a fork or a spoon to mix it up really well. Once your batter is ready, pour your vegetable oil into a large sturdy pan and put it on a high heat. Please make sure you don't move the pan about and that no one is running around the kitchen while you're doing this, as hot oil can burn quite badly.

You want the oil to reach about 180ºC, so if you don't have a thermometer get a small piece of potato and drop it into the pan. When it turns crisp and golden and rises to the top, the oil is ready to go. Get a tablespoonful of mix and carefully drop it into the hot oil. In Georgia they roll their batter into round balls, but I say just let it drop off the spoon: a bit scruffy and rustic feels right to me. You'll need to cook them in batches.

Keep your eye on them and let them fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Sprinkle over a tiny bit of sea salt and a hit of paprika to finish them off, and serve right away, either on their own or as they do at roadside restaurants, as part of a meal with the amazing pork and slaw. Naughty but nice!

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