Recipe: Hushkoras–Onion Garlic Corn Cakes
By Adam Gnade
Monday, March 15th, 2010

This one was an experiment that turned out to be pretty damn good. Hushkoras (I just came up with the name right now) taste like a cross between hushpuppies and traditional Indian pakoras. They’re fried, so if you don’t like greasy food this isn’t the recipe for you. Also, they take about an hour and a half to make so don’t start this unless you’ve got some time on your hands. But if you’ve got the time and patience and you can handle The Fried, let’s roll on these boys…

Ingredients
Two cups of polenta corn grits. I used Bob’s Red Mill
A half onion
A half bulb of garlic (six small cloves)
Curry powder
Oregano
Onion powder
Sea salt
Vegetable oil

Directions
Make the polenta (two cups of grits to six cups of water) according to the directions on the package. (Just so you know, this step takes about 40 minutes and most of that is you stirring the pot, which’ll take some heavy elbow grease.)

Once the polenta’s done, add the onion and garlic (diced), a tablespoon of curry powder, a half tablespoon of oregano, a quarter tablespoon of sea salt, and a tablespoon of onion powder. Mix well.

Then pour the polenta into a glass casserole dish and set it in the fridge.

While the polenta’s cooling, start a frying pan with about two inches of vegetable oil. High heat.

Once the bottom of your polenta dish is cold to the touch (say, 30 minutes), turn it over onto a cutting board and slice it into 1″ by3″ strips. (Don’t go any thicker than, say, two inches or the inside will be raw and flavorless.)

Next, make sure your oil is crazy-hot and begin laying the strips of polenta into the grease using a metal spatula and a fork.

While the strips of polenta fry, you’re going to want to sprinkle them with more onion powder and curry. At this point it’s all left up to personal taste. I like mine heavily-seasoned so I use a lot of curry and a medium amount of onion powder. It’s all auxiliary seasoning by now, so it doesn’t matter all that much but I think it makes a difference in the end-result. But really, once you’re doing it it’s pretty intuitive; just use your best discretion and have faith in your judgment.

Now, every once in a while you’re going to want to turn the strips. No real rule on this. Just make sure they don’t stick.

All told, you’re going to want to keep them in the fry grease for about ten or 15 minutes. They need to be medium-dark brown and very crispy. I also like to break them up a little so they’re cooked a bit on the inside. What I do is use the spatula to slit them down the middle and press down on them with the flat side a couple times, just to let some grease mingle in and make things interesting. The more irregular-shaped the better it’ll taste.

When they look done to you (the whole procedure is actually super-intuitive) use your spatula and fork to take them out of the grease and set on a plate with paper towels or napkins to soak up the grease.

At this point you can either wait five minutes and eat them hot or, do like I do, and put them in the cooler and eat them later, cold.

As far as sauces I’d go with an Indian masala simmer sauce like the Trader Joe’s brand or, if you want to be really white trash about it, maple syrup. That’s basically what this dish is all about–the counter-intuitive clash of texture, culture, and flavor. Go with it.

Another thing, this recipe takes a lot of attention. I’ve done it alone both times and you can get pretty Zen with the endless stirring and the grease-watching. The first time I made them, our local public radio here in rural Kansas was playing a doubleheader of the space-music hour (which sounds just like you’d imagine) and their half-horrible, half-incredible new-agey instrumental composition show. After one such half-hour drone track I felt like I was cooking for myself on a far-off space station after the Earth had long-since gone cold and broken up into interstellar pebbles. I felt like a god; a force of nature. It was amazing.

Oh, and if you make ‘em, write me at adam@asthmatickitty.com and let me know how they came out. I just invented this one so I’m still working out the kinks. Still, any way I’ve made them, it’s about the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I’m sold, and I hope you will be too.

BIO: Adam Gnade's (guh nah dee) work is released as a series of books and records that share characters and themes; the fiction writing continuing plot-lines left open by the self-described "talking songs" in an attempt to compile a vast, detailed, interconnected, personal history of contemporary American life. Check out recent writing here and songs here. Contact: adam@asthmatickitty.com

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One Response to “Recipe: Hushkoras–Onion Garlic Corn Cakes”

  1. Megan Michelle Says:

    Oh, I’m sold.

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