If you have travelled to The Bahamas before, you’ve likely come across conch on our menus or maybe you’ve heard of its aphrodisiac properties but what makes the conch fritter a must-eat method of preparation? At Tru Bahamian Food Tours, we think a first impression is a lasting one, and so we trust the traditional conch fritter to set the tone of our Bites Of Nassau Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour as the very first thing you’ll try on the tour. It’s so worth a taste and a try at home (if you are lucky enough to come across fresh conch where you live).
What Are Conch Fritters?
Credit: Tru Bahamian Food Tours
Known as a delicacy in various parts of the world, Bahamian conch fritters are small bites of local queen conch meat fried in a savory batter with a combination of peppery seasonings (hot goat pepper, hot sauce, and sea salt) and commonly used vegetables in the Bahamian diet, which grow abundantly among our islands like onion, sweet green pepper, and tomato. For those who have never tried conch before, you might be curious to know what conch tastes like? This high-protein shellfish can be sweet and mild in flavour, if prepared right, but you might find it similar in taste and texture to calamari with no fishy-taste. Conch fritters is a great introductory way to eat conch- after all, who can resist a deep-fried fritter?
Origins Of The Dish
Credit: Old Rosie In The Bahamas
Indigenous to The Bahamas, queen conch fritters are a popular preparation for conch meat for a number of reasons. Since the conch is a type of snail, the meat comes hidden inside a large, thick shell that can be time-consuming or difficult to penetrate. This can mean, especially for the home cook, that it takes a lot of effort to retrieve a fairly small amount of meat. Conch fritters suspend pieces of conch meat in a batter, along with chopped vegetables, so a little bit of meat goes a long way. Chopping up the meat for conch fritters also solves another inherent problem, which is that conch meat is usually quite tough and benefits from being cooked in small pieces.
Where To Find It
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Because the conch’s popularity, you’ll find that most Bahamian restaurants feature conch fritters within the appetizers section of their menus. Many of the chefs in various establishments add their own spice combinations and flavours to keep their menu unique or true to their own family traditions of preparing the dish. So when you are visiting us in Nassau or other Bahamian family islands, make sure you try out this dish at a few restaurants to compare flavour and textures– a major factor for locals are the portions of conch within your fritter, we refer to these as “conchy-conch fritters”, and as with most things: the more, the merrier!
Where to find some of the best Conch Fritters in Nassau:
- Bahamian Cookin– Trinity Place off of Market Street in historic downtown Nassau
- Goldie’s Conch House– Arawak Cay traditional eats within walking distance to downtown
- The Poop Deck– East Bay Street overlooking Nassau’s Harbour and marinas
How To Prepare It At Home
Credit: Travel 2 The Caribbean
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that has access to fresh conch, Aunt Rie’s Conch Fritters are a must-try traditional recipe.
Conch Fritters Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups (2 medium) conch
- 1 large hot pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ medium green sweet pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp hot sauce
Calypso Sauce Ingredients:
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- Stir calypso sauce ingredients in bowl until smooth. Chill until fritters are ready
- Pass onion, sweet pepper, and conch through a meat grinder or food processor
- In large bowl, combine all ingredients to form a batter. The batter should be thick enough to drop from a spoon. If it is too runny add a little more flour to stiffen it. If it is too stiff add a little more water to soften it
- Make sure cooking oil is hot (about 350 degrees if using deep fat fryer), using a spoon (teaspoon or tablespoon depending on desired size) drop batter into hot oil – fritters should float to the surface and bob around like apples in a barrel of water. Use a long fork to turn fritter so that they are golden brown on all sides
- Remove from oil and place in a container lined with absorbent paper to soak up any excess oil
Conch fritter batter can be frozen and used latter. To reuse, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until defrosted. Pour into large bowl and add 2 tsp of baking powder, mix until baking powder is blended in. If the consistency is off, adjust with flour or water as needed. Please note that you may need to add seasoning to correct flavour also.
Plate conch fritters alongside 2 oz of chilled calypso sauce for dipping. Use toothpicks for handling of the hot fritter and dunk your fritter into the sauce for cooling, complimentary flavours. Enjoy!