Roots

Turnip Corn Balls

By: The Local Palate
Turnip Corn Poppers
Image by Beatriz da Costa

Turnip corn balls from Watermelon & Red Birds, a cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations, by Nicole A. Taylor. In her cookbook, Taylor writes, “This is for the adults, but a young person might be into the spicy bite of a turnip. Japanese Hakurei turnips are the gateway turnip to always having root vegetables in your shopping rotation. Also called Tokyo turnips, they are mild in flavor and super delicious fried and dipped in the corn crema.”

Excerpted from WATERMELON AND RED BIRDS by Nicole A. Taylor. Copyright © 2022 by Nicole A. Taylor. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

recipe heading-plus-icon

yields

Makes 4 skewers

    ingredients
  • 2 quarts peanut oil for frying
  • 2 or 3 bunches Hakurei turnips
  • greens removed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 recipe corn dog batter (follows)
  • Special equipment: 4 wooden skewers
  • Corn Dog Batter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large egg,1½ cups light beer
steps
  1. Make the corn dog batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, thyme, garlic powder, and salt until well combined. Add the egg and the beer to the dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth and combined; the batter should be thicker than pancake batter, more like a thin cake batter.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat the peanut oil over medium- high heat until it reaches 375 degrees on an instant-read or deep-fry thermometer.
  3. Line a plate with paper towels and set it nearby.
  4. Skewer 4 to 5 turnips on each wooden skewer. Lightly dampen the outside of the turnips with water and shake off any excess. Dust the turnips with the cornstarch.
  5. Pour the corn dog batter into a tall glass or pitcher and dip each skewer into the batter to fully coat, allowing the excess to drip off. Once nicely coated in batter, immediately place the turnip skewer in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Use metal tongs to flip the skewer over to brown the other side. When the turnip is golden, use the tongs to grab the end of the skewer and transfer it to the paper towel–lined plate. Repeat with the remaining turnips. Serve immediately.
  • Excerpted from WATERMELON AND RED BIRDS by Nicole A. Taylor. Copyright © 2022 by Nicole A. Taylor. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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