When dining in the Bahamas, a meal is simply incomplete without the friendly addition of the countries' beloved delicacy. Voted most eaten appetizer among restaurants throughout the Bahamas (in my opinion), conch fritters are made from a savory, deep-fried batter composed of tenderize conch and fresh aromatics— traditionally accompanied by a tangy dipping sauce.
Reminiscent to what many Southerners know as "hush puppies" these small bites are best served alongside a daiquiri or an iced cold beer. Nonetheless, if you're unable to find yourself near the water, this dish surely takes you there.
delicately fried bites filled with chunks of conch, fresh onion and green bell peppers. Hot peppers and thyme are added to enhance flavors. these fritters are served with a simple three ingredient sauce.
As discussed in the "Conch Chowder" recipe “konk” or “conch”, is a treasured staple throughout Bahamian cuisine — often prepared in a variety of ways using various methods. The large sea snail is a delicacy, most notably known to be eaten raw in salads or cooked in fritters and chowders. Its taste and texture resembles that of calamari, especially when fried.
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conch fritters 101
Conch: As the name suggests, "conch fritters" are meant to be packed with the tenderized sea snail. With each bite, there should be a piece of conch — not just the essence of it. However, if you are unable to find fresh or frozen conch where you live. Calamari, shrimp or even oysters are welcomed to be substituted.
Aromatics: When it comes to making a traditional fritter, aromatics are where most of your flavor is coming from. The use of fresh onion, green bell pepper, thyme and habanero pepper (or goat pepper) is crucial. It is also important that they are diced finely, no obnoxiously large chunks
Dipping Sauce: The sauce to accompany these delicate morsels is a simple combination of mayonnaise, ketchup and hot sauce. To make it a little more fancy, you might come across the addition of mustard, fruit juice or even garlic. As restaurants tend to put their own spin on the native condiment. Some may call it an aioli, others might say "Calypso Sauce" but to me, it goes by "Conch Fritter Sauce".
How to Make:
Bahamian Conch Fritters
Yield: 15-20 fritters
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 minutes
1 lb of conch (2-3 conchs) *cut into small pieces
1/2 onion *minced
1/2 green bell pepper *minced
2 sprigs thyme *stems removed
1/4 habanero pepper (more or less depending on heat preference)
1 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 quart vegetable oil *for frying
For Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp hot sauce
Heat the oil in a large pot or deep fryer to 350° degrees *see not below.
Into a medium bowl, combine conch, onion, green bell pepper and thyme
To the mixture, add water and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste dissolves. Season with salt and habanero pepper.
Add flour and baking powder, mix until a loose batter begins to form. Allow batter to rest for 5 minutes.
Using a tablespoon, drop the batter into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown ( about 3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towels.
To make dipping sauce, combine ketchup, mayonnaise and hot sauce— stir until thoroughly combined . Serve dipping sauce on the side with the fritters. Enjoy!
If you don't happen to have a kitchen thermometer, heat oil under medium high heat for about 7-10 minutes. To ensure oil is up to the proper temperature, sprinkle a pinch of flour into the oil — if it sizzles, the oil is ready.