1. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 350°. Stir together cornmeal and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moistened. (Mixture will be slightly thicker than cake batter.)
2. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls into hot oil, and fry, in batches, 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning often. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels; serve immediately.