Food & Drink

Asha Gomez’s Puffy Ginger Hoecakes

An Indian riff on a traditional hoecake

Photo: Evan Sung

“The spirited zing of fresh ginger enlivens my puffed version of country-style fried cornmeal cakes, which Southerners call hoecakes.

Although I grew up eating uttappam, a rice pancake seasoned with shallots, ginger, and chiles, I had never encountered homemade cornmeal hoecakes until I was having brunch at a friend’s home here in Georgia. Her crispy hoecakes reminded me not only of Indian uttappam but also of Venezuelan arepas. Like many of the traditional dishes here in America’s southern states, my friend’s hoecakes evoked memories of my other South in India. So, the next morning, I couldn’t wait to replicate them with some of the same ingredients used in an Indian uttappam. The resulting puffy ginger cakes have become a favorite breakfast and brunch menu item both at work and at home. I like to serve these crispy cornmeal cakes in the morning with Spicy Syrup.” — Chef Asha Gomez


    • 1 cup self-rising flour

    • 1 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal

    • 2 large eggs

    • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk

    • 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar

    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

    • 2 teaspoons peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger

    • 2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

    • 2 cups canola oil

    • Spicy Syrup (recipe below)

  • Spicy Syrup

    • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, coarsely ground

    • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, coarsely ground

    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    • 2 cups maple syrup or cane syrup


  1. For the spicy syrup:
    In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk the toasted spices into the syrup. Let the spices infuse the syrup for up to 24 hours at room temperature.

  2. For the hoecakes:

    In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the oil, stirring thoroughly and making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to mix uniformly.

  3. Heat the canola oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, into the hot oil. Fry each hoecake until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, flipping once with a spatula. Using a slotted spoon, remove each hoecake and drain in a single layer on a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve warm.

  4. Notes: Self-rising flour and cornmeal already include salt and baking powder. To make 1 cup of your own self-rising flour, mix ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons of cornmeal with 1 tablespoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. To make 1 cup of self-rising flour, mix ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour with 1½ teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt.

    To keep the cakes warm and crisp, keep them under an upside-down colander until ready to serve. The hoecakes will stay warm and crispy because the steam escapes through the holes!

Reprinted with permission from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen © 2016 by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose, Running Press.