Saturday, July 29, 2023

Hushpuppy Breaded Fried Shrimp

Fresh Gulf shrimp, marinated in milk, egg and hot sauce, then tossed in a well-seasoned hushpuppy dredge and deep fried to perfection.
Fresh Gulf shrimp, marinated in milk, egg and hot sauce, then tossed in a well-seasoned hushpuppy dredge and deep fried to perfection.

Hushpuppy Breaded Fried Shrimp

Some years back, Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, which by the way makes the most delicious fried chicken evah, introduced seafood to the menu in some areas. Some menu items were offered only on a limited time basis. Hushpuppy Fried Shrimp was one of those.

I was intrigued.

So, for research purposes, I requested that my husband aka here as "The Cajun" swing in and pick up a small order of them on his way home for us to try.


But of course, that only got the writer of recipes in me thinking, "hey, I can do this!"

On the Popeye's website they were described as "marinated butterfly shrimp dipped in a light, sweet Hushpuppy cornmeal crust and fried up fresh until golden and crispy."

I set out to craft my own homemade version.
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Y'all. These Hushpuppy Breaded Fried Shrimp are soooo good! Here's how to make them.

When you're ready to fry, preheat a deep fryer or heat oil in a large heavy pot to 350 degrees F.

My big deep fryer is outside on the covered back porch where I prefer to use it, and somehow I've misplaced the cord for it, so I purchased a Fry Daddy, but I figured I'd better go with the larger version, GranPappy Electric Deep Fryer and I'm glad I did!

It's just the right size and all it takes is a 15-minute preheat to get it to a standard frying temperature. The only downside, if there is one, is that there is not an adjustable temperature gauge.

I'm starting with some frozen fresh Gulf shrimp, purchased right at the dock from a same day's catch. That's our preferred method of getting shrimp these days since Dad sold the family shrimp boat many years back.

These shrimp come fresh out of the Gulf so of course they are in the shell and with heads on, although I do head them before I put them up and these require deveining also. I love this tool - sure makes that job a lot easier!

Of course, if you're buying your shrimp from the grocery store, yours will likely be already peeled and deveined and individually quick frozen, just for all that is holy find some that are wild caught in the US of A and not some foreign import for the best quality. Flip the package over and look in the lower bottom corner for the country of origin. If you'd like to butterfly your shrimp, review my tutorial here on how to butterfly shrimp.

Rinse the shrimp, drain well, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

I often do this in advance, put it into a sealable bowl and top with a zipper bag of ice in the refrigerator.

Now I have no idea what Popeye's uses for their marinade, but I'm using milk, egg and Tabasco hot sauce.

Whisk that all together.

Pour mixture over the shrimp.

Toss and set aside until you're ready to dredge and fry. Again, if you are prepping the shrimp ahead of time you can also put them in the marinade up to overnight.

For the dredge, I'm using Martha White brand, self-rising, buttermilk cornmeal mix because that's the brand the grocery store had at the time, but note that is a self-rising cornmeal mix, not all-purpose cornmeal! 

Sure, you could also use a couple packets of hushpuppy mix and call it a day, but I make my hushpuppies from scratch, so I don't keep that mix on hand and I wanted to try to get there with what I already had on hand.

What is the difference?
Cornmeal is just plain ground white or yellow dried corn, nothing added and ground to a variety of textures from fine to coarse. It's considered all-purpose and is what I use the most, my preference being stone ground.
Cornmeal mix contains ground cornmeal, but also adds some additional ingredients. Though it varies by brands, there could be flour, some kind of leavener like baking powder or soda, making it self-rising, plus there's sometimes some fat and a bit of salt. Like a boxed cake mix, generally to make cornbread from cornbread mix, you'll only need to add some milk, oil and eggs. Some brands call it cornbread mix.
So many of you indicated that you use self-rising cornmeal mix to make your cornbread, that I bought a bag of Martha White to give it a try and while it does save a few steps, I think I still prefer adding all of the ingredients needed to make cornbread to my all-purpose cornmeal. I just think the result is better, but this is a great way to use some of that up!

To that cornmeal mix, I'm adding some hushpuppy ingredients - self-rising flour, a bit of granulated sugar to mimic the sweetness typically found in hushpuppy mixes, and for seasonings, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, Creole or Cajun seasoning, or cayenne pepper if you prefer, Old Bay seasoning, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder.

When you're ready to fry, toss a few of the shrimp into the dredge at a time, 

Transfer to a colander that has been place over a plate. Once you've dredged all of the shrimp you'll want to shake off excess flour back into your dredge bowl. This helps to prevent too much of the dredge from getting into your frying oil.

I like to pass all of the dredged shrimp back through the dredge mixture one more time before frying.

Fry in batches to avoid overcrowding and cooling the oil down too much, and try to keep oil at a 350-degree F minimum.

By the way, if you are just using a regular pot to fry, a fryer thermometer will help you to keep the oil at a steady temperature, which is highly critical when deep frying, and is a great tool to have on hand!

Yum y'all!

For more of my favorite shrimp recipes, check out the collection on my Pinterest page!

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Posted by on July 29, 2023
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