Conch fritters are a Bahamian treat but they have a place in every Caribbean kitchen. Conch is a shellfish caught for their beautiful shells but also for their meat. The meat has a chew texture, much like squid or octopus. Conch is versatile and can be cooked in curries, soups, stews and of course fritters. These flavorful tiny treats are filled with spices, onions, bell peppers, sweet conch meat and fried until golden brown.
How to cook
Cooking conch is tricky because the meat tends to be on the tougher side. It has to be boiled or pressure cooked to tenderize it before adding it to different dishes or eating it. While tenderizing the meat, it is necessary to infuse as much flavor in it as possible. If you decide to pressure cook or boil the conch meat, but sure to add the “flavor bath” ingredients below.
Important tips when cooking this dish is to make sure the temperature of the oil is right at 350 degrees and not to crowd the pan. Crowding the pan will cause the temperature of the oil to fall allowing the batter to absorb too much oil. Fritters are a lot more delicious if they aren’t too oily.
For Conch Fritters Yardie Style, you will need:
- Medium pot for boiling
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Medium skillet
- 2 Medium bowls
- Liquid thermometer
- For flavor bath:
- 2 bay leaves
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 4 Scallions
- Handful of fresh thyme
- Hot pepper (whole)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 6-8 cups of water
- 1 lb of conch (tenderized in flavor bath)
- 1 Shallot (diced)
- 1 Scallion (diced)
- 3 Sprigs of Thyme (stripped from the stems)
- 1/4 of red, yellow and green bell pepper (diced finely)
- Scotch bonnet (minced)
- Maggi Fish season up
- ¼ tsp Black pepper
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 Egg (beaten)
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- About 1 cup of cold milk
- 3 cups oil (for frying)
- Rinse conch meat under fresh running water to remove any sand that might be on the meat. Conch meat usually comes already cleaned with the inedible parts removed.
- In a large pot, add water and all of the flavor bath ingredients. Add conch to the bath, cover and let conch cook until fork tender, about 1 hour on high heat.
- Once the conch is cooked, remove it from the water and cut it into small pieces. Discard water and other ingredients. I like to keep the conch pieces a bit larger so that I can get good bites of meat in each fritter.
- Dice shallot, green onion, bell peppers and scotch bonnet finely. Add the veggies to a medium bowl with diced conch pieces.
- Season with Maggi, salt and pepper. Use a spoon or fork to mix well.
- To the conch mixture, add 1 beaten egg. Use a spoon to mix egg into the mixture well.
- Once the egg is fully combined, add baking powder to the flour. Alternate flour and milk to create a wet batter. The wetter the batter, the flatter the fritter will be. Pay attention to the consistency of the batter and try to ensure it is smooth but not runny. (see video)
- Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a medium skillet. Use your thermometer to make sure the oil is at the correct temperature.
- To drop the batter you will need two soup spoons. Use one spoon to pick up a heaping amount of the batter. Use the other spoon to push the batter off into the hot oil. Fry each fritter on both sides until golden brown, about 2 mins on each side.
- Remove cooked fritters from oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Serve fritter hot with aioli dipping sauce or hot sauce.