Bahamian Conch Fritters

August 2, 2021

Fresh conch meat, mixed up into a spicy batter and fried to a golden brown color. These Bahamian conch fritters are the perfect appetizers or snacks for your gatherings.

  

A plate of golden fried Bahamian conch fritters with a bowl of red dipping sauce


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One thing we do in the Caribbean is making sure we use our seafood and create a plethora of dishes. From fried to stews, to smoke and curries and soups. We use them!!

As much as we use fish and crab, another popular seafood for us is the conch. 

And we do it all with it. We make conch salad, curry conch, conch soup, steamed conch, and stewed.

One of the most popular ways to eat it though is as a conch fritter. This dish is actually a traditional Bahamian dish.

It has seeped into the other islands and is even popular in South Florida.
 

What are conch fritters?


Anything that we call fritters is usually things that have been fried. We have banana fritters, pumpkin fritters, saltfish fritters (accra). And then conch.

These fritters are made of the meat, which has been tenderized using some method (boil, pound, or sliced), then mixed in with the flour, spices, and vegetables, and then fried.

If this is your first time cooking conch, I suggest you check out my conch informational post. I give some details about the meat and the different methods to tenderize conch and cook it in a previous post.

These balls of goodness are well seasoned with a little kick and then nicely paired with some sort of dip that can either add to the heat or be a nice cooling dip option.

They are the perfect finger food for entertaining guests.

Making the fritters


I know conch is not readily available for everyone all the time. It is definitely not chicken or fish that could just about be found everywhere.

It is commonly sold at the Caribbean, Latin American supermarkets. Most times it's previously frozen.

You can also find it in your Asian market.

If not, specialty seafood stores also carry. If you are able to get it, you can ask them to put it through the grinder for you, to help get it tender. If not you can use one of my methods.

  
Ingredients for making Bahamian conch fritters: conch, egg, onion, celery, flour, milk



Ingredients


Conch - if you do not find conch this can be replaced with shrimp and/or lobster
All -purpose flour
Eggs
Stalks celery
Cayenne powder
Salt
Black pepper
Hot pepper - scotch bonnet pepper/hot sauce
Bell pepper - green pepper or red bell pepper
Lime juice - to soak the conch and to use in the batter
Milk
Onion
Garlic
Oil for deep frying


People also put tomatoes, but I find that it creates too much extra liquid in the batter.

Other extra ingredients you can use for flavor: fresh thyme

Preparation


I soaked the conch meat in a bowl of water and some lime juice after rinsing it off in cool water. I just let it sit in that for about 10 minutes.

You need to get your conch tender. It is tough meat. And depending on the cut some portions can be very thick. So we need it tenderized.

  
COnch meat before being tenderized then covered with plastic warp to tenderize



As mentioned, there are different methods you can tenderize. For this, I choose to use a meat mallet to "pound" the conch to about 1/4" thickness.

I placed my cutting board on a sturdy surface, then covered it with some plastic wrap (you can also use a plastic bag or Ziploc bag) and pounded the meat. I made sure to keep an eye on the extra-thick pieces and made sure they get to as thin as possible.

Once the conch has been smashed, then cut it up into smaller pieces. If you are going to use a food processor like I do, they don't have to be too small.

If not, I do suggest getting it small as possible so that you can get a smooth mixture.

Add the meat, bell peppers, fresh pepper if using, lime juice, celery to the processor and pulse until meat is fine and combined with other ingredients.

  
Ingredients in the food processor to make the meat mix: conch, bell peppers, onion, celery, pepper


In a separate bowl whisk flour, egg and milk together. Season with cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt and combine.

In a medium bowl with the conch meat, add the flour mixture and mix till all are combined. If you are using some form of liquid pepper (Caribbean pepper sauce or a hot sauce), add it in now.

You can leave the conch fritter batter to sit while you get your oil heated. I used regular vegetable oil and used a pot that would allow me to get a good deep fry once the batter is dropped in. An actual deep fryer can also be used.

  
Flour mixture with spices then added minced conch to batter


If you prefer, you can use a shallower pot and just turn the fritter when one side is done.

Get your oil heated to 350degrees (I use my instant-read thermometer). Another way I test my oil is to use a wooden spoon. Dip it into the hot oil, and the oil needs to bubble. You can also test your oil in other ways like with bread or a popcorn kernel.

Then using a cookie scoop, (or an ice cream scoop for larger sizes) scoop up some batter, and drop it into the oil. I drop at most four balls at a time. If you overcrowd the oil, it will drop the temperature of the oil and it will not fry properly.

If you do not have a small cookie scoop, you can use a tablespoon like I do to make pholourie.

While it's deep-frying, spoon hot oil over the fritters to help with the cooking.

If you do not get it to deep fry, fry the batter on each side for 4-5 minutes.

In a plate, lined with a paper towel or even a paper bag, remove the fritters when they are golden brown. Use a slotted spoon so that as little oil is taken out as possible. Drain on paper towels so that excess oil can drain off as you continue through the batter.

It's a good idea to taste your first couple of ones for salt and pepper then add more of either to the rest of the batter if you think it needs more.

  
Golden fried conch fritters on a white plate with a bowl of red dipping sauce



Don't have conch meat? You can nicely substitute conch with any other wonderful shellfish: Shrimp, lobster, or even combined.

The best sauces to pair with conch fritters.


Though they can be eaten on their own, or with some of your favorite dipping sauce. It really can take these over the top.

You can do something easy and mix up some tomato ketchup and mayonnaise and mustard. You can add a little chili paste or additional hot pepper sauce to the mix.

Or even use some mango mustard sauce.

 
Dipping a fritter into bowl of dipping sauce


How to reheat


If you happen to have leftover conch, don't worry, they can be reheated. In the era of air fryers, this is a great option. Throw them in for about 6 - 8 minutes at about 360 degrees and they are back to brand new.

You can also warm them up in the oven. Just preheat to 350 degrees, then place them on a wire rack and warm them up for about 10 - 12 minutes.

DO NOT use the microwave, unless you want to have some rubbery fritters.

You would need the perfect tropical drink to enjoy with your plate of fritters. Most people's first choice would be a nice rum punch, but definitely, a refreshing fruit punch would be good, to combat the heat.  Or even a Bahamian gully wash, also known as sky juice.

  



So try your hand with these Island style conch fritters that are a true Bahamian signature dish.

It's the perfect appetizer for family gatherings. Or a snack when you just feel like transporting yourself to the Bahamas.

And if you want try some more Caribbean seafood dishes, make sure to check out:

Curry crab and dumplings
Lobster curry
Mussels in coconut milk




 


 


 





Bahamian conch fritters, conch fritters
Appetizers, Snacks
Caribbean
Yield: 5
Author: Renz @ HomeMadeZagat
Bahamian Conch Fritters

Bahamian Conch Fritters

A delicious spicy batter with fresh conch meat and spices. These Bahamian conch fritters are fried till golden and delicious.
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 37 MinTotal time: 57 Min

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, soak conch in water and juice from half of a lime
  2. for about to minutes
  3. Remove conch and rinse off
  4. On a flat surface, use a meat tenderizer and pound conch to about 1" thick
  5. Cut into chunks
  6. In a food processor (see notes if you do not have one), add conch, celery, onion, garlic, juice from the remaining lime, salt, black pepper and mix till fully combined
  7. In a large mixing bowl mix milk, eggs, and flour
  8. Add cayenne pepper
  9. Add the mixed conch mixture to the bowl and incorporate. If using pepper sauce, include it now also.
  10. Let mixture sit
  11. Heat oil in a deep pot until hot (350 degrees)
  12. Using a scoop or a spoon drop batter into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the oil.
  13. Fry till golden brown. Scooping hot oil over them until done
  14. Remove from oil and put on a brown paper bag, or paper towel
Dipping Sauce
  1. Add equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise and combine.
  2. Add pepper sauce based on your spice level

Notes:

If you do not have a food processor you can make sure you chop the pieces into very small pieces then combine. 


Or using a blender, blend the meat separately, then combine the celery, onion, garlic, juice from the remaining lime, salt, and black pepper.

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Renz HomeMadeZagat
Renz HomeMadeZagat

Hi guys, I’m Renz. I am the chief cook and bottle washer here at HomeMadeZagat. I am here sharing Caribbean recipes that I grew up eating and new ones I’ve fallen in love with over the years. I just want to showcase the amazing diversity of Caribbean food and that everyone can recreate these dishes.

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