BAHAMIAN CRACKED CONCH
Many Bahamians will stand on a line for 45minutes to an hour in the freezing cold just to have an encounter with the seafood royal.
- cup evaporated milk
- teaspoon salt
- cup flour
Clean conch by squeezing some lime/lemon juice then wash with water. Using a meat tenderizer/mallet pound conch until thin and tender – avoid breaking apart. Whip eggs, milk and salt. Dip conch in egg mixture; then roll in flour. In a pot, deep fat fryer or frying pan cook conch until golden brown. Tah! Dah! In minutes you are sinking your teeth into this succulent Bahamian seafood king.
For a casual meal on a Friday or Saturday night add some French Fries and coleslaw or dinner rolls. For a full dinner heap some peas n’ rice, coleslaw, plantain or green salad. Include a wedge of lemon, tartar sauce, hot sauce and ketchup and just love it!
BAHAMAS BAKED GROUPER
Ah! Nassau Grouper, the Filet Migon of the Caribbean Seas. A succulent, mouth watering, white meat fish that makes your tastes buds dance. As you sit and eat this dish imagine yourself flying into the island of Exuma, Bahamas and being picked up by a native named James Rolle who is your driver for the whole stay. And James takes you to a restaurant one evening located right on the water where the ocean breeze kisses your face. Your waiter placed a plate before you Bahamas Baked Grouper accompanied by a heaping mound of Bahamian peas ‘n rice, coleslaw and plantain and to make the whole meal just authentically Bahamian a large glass of switcher (Bahamian Lemonade) stands waiting to cool you off. Okay! Wake up now. Time to get cooking.
1 lb Grouper Filet
- Medium Onion, Chopped
- Medium Green Pepper, chopped
- Medium Tomato, Chopped
- Clove garlic
- Small Scotch Bonnet (hot), to taste 2 Tbls Oil
- Cup Lemon juice Salt to taste
Cut grouper into 4 oz pieces, marinade in lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and scotch bonnet, allow to sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Place in greased baking dish and cover with other ingredients. Bake at 350º degrees for 20 minutes uncovered then cover for an additional 20 minutes or until fish is flaky.
BAHAMIAN CRAB N’ RICE
Preparation of this dish is not for the faint or fearful at heart. On the island we dominate our creature they do not dominate us. Trust me the pleasure of eating this dish is far worth the effort it takes to prepare it.
3-4 med. Bahamian Land crabs, legs and biters included
4 oz. Salt pork, ham or bacon drippings
¼ cup Cooking oil
1 tsp Browning
1 sml Onion, chopped
1 Celery stick
2-3 sprigs Thyme,
1 ½ tbsp Tomato paste
3 cup Long grain rice
Salt and pepper to taste
Crab preparation: Separate the back of crab from the body with a knife. Using a spoon remove the brown substance from around the interior of the crab (this is a precious commodity called the “crab fat” – so secure it in a bowl for later). Be careful not to burst the bitter gall bag (s small little sac usually hidden under the fat. Discard apron and gills from underneath along with gall and back shell (unless you plan on doing some stuffed crabs later). Clean the crab body, cut into 2-4 pieces depending on size, claw – crack slightly and put aside until later.
In a large pot over high heat add cooking oil, salt pork/ham fat/bacon and cook until crispy, stir occasionally. Add onion, celery, thyme and pepper and cook until onions are tender. Add crab fat, tomato paste and a teaspoon of salt allow to brown for 2 minutes stirring vigorously. Then add crab continue mixing let cook another minute or so. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil then add rice, ensure that level of water is 1 inch above rice. Stir to ensure rich is evenly distributed throughout pot. Bring to boil uncover and until water evaporated from the surface. Turn rice 2-3 times rotating from bottom of pot to the top. Cover, lower heat and allow to cook 25-30 minute or rice is fluffy
This coleslaw will add a burst of colour to your plate, like the colour of our Junkanoo Festival and it will be almost as satisfying to your soul. Coleslaw is a regular side dish on many Bahamian tables. So get in the swing and make it a part of your home cooking menu.
1 small Cabbage head (shredded fine)
¼ small Red Cabbage head (shredded fine)
1 med. Carrot (grated)
1 small Onion, diced fine
¼ cup Raisins (optional)
1 tsp Lemon juice
¼ tsp Sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp Mayonnaise
Combine cabbage, carrots, onion and raisins in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar, salt and lemon juice into bowl. Add mayonnaise and mix until blended. Chill in refrigerator at least 10 minutes, mix before serving. To add a little more fiesta, chop an apple into fine pieces and add to mixture.
AUNTIE RIE CHICKEN SOUSE
Chicken for breakfast! Yes even chicken for breakfast in the Bahamas. Chicken Souse is eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or mid-night snack. We children used to look forward to a bowl of chicken souse with hot grit, Johnny cake or hot homemade rolls for breakfast on Saturday morning. And no one complained if it was on the menu for lunch. After a night out on the town when your energy has been depleted for all that dancing, nothing fortifies you like a bowl of chicken souse. Have it ready when you get home so you won’t have to wait.
Many people may say its just boiled chicken, but even in this simple dish there is an art to the preparation to make it just right. I watched Auntie Rie as she routinely set her task in motion. My lord just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
|1 -3 lb
||Broiler-fryer chicken or 5 pound chicken wings
||Onion (sliced thin)
||Irish potatoes, peeled and cubed
||Hot pepper (chopped finely)
||Salt to taste
||Carrots, thinly sliced (optional)
Clean chicken thoroughly making sure to remove the blood and entrails. If you do not want the hassle of this cleaning process use the chicken wing or drumlets. Cut chicken into three-inch bite size pieces removing as much of the fat as possible. Combine lemon juice and pepper. Wash chicken then marinade with ¼ cup of lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Using a large (8-10) quart pot over medium heat place chicken into pot and cover with water bring to boil then remove from heat after 5 minute. Throw off the water (this is done to remove oil extracted from the skin of the chicken) leaving chicken in pot. Return pot to stove; cover chicken with onions, potatoes, celery and remaining lemon juice mix. Cover with water about 1 inch above contents and add salt. Bring to boil, cover pot then reduced heat and allow to cook at medium-low heat for 1 hour or until chicken and potatoes are cooked. To avoid over cooking potatoes (based on their size) you may want to add them ½ hour into the cooking process. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve with grits, Johnny cake, homemade bread or dinner rolls. Serves 6-8.
AUNTIE RIE’S BAHAMIAN BOIL FISH
A Seaman’s breakfast for sure. Boil Fish is a signature dish for the regal archipealego we cal home – The Bahama Islands! Yes to all of our fellow Earthians The Bahamas is made up of over 700 islands, cays and rocks of all shapes and sizes. With oceans all around us it is no wonder we have mastered the preparation of seafood and enjoy it all hours of the day.
When Auntie Rie boil fish she selects the larger meatier fish such as: grouper or Hog Snapper but other smaller fish may be used. These are the white, flaky, tender and mild in flavor. Auntie Rie always has the fish man cut her “fish for boil” into 4-6oz pieces (you may keep the bone in or out). The other benefit with using the larger fish is that their bones are big, making it easy to pick them out as you eat. Caution should always be taken when eating fish, because bones may even be present in fillet.
2 lb Grouper or Preferred Fish (6 med. Pieces)
1 med. Onion., sliced
1 med. Irish Potatoes
2 Hot pepper
2 Lemon/Lime &/or Sour Orange juice
Salt to taste
1 Bay leaf
I remember many a Saturday morning when I would be helping Auntie Rie make breakfast. She would always say, “A clean fish gives a clean broth”. So I spent the time washing the fish, removing the scales and taking out the remnants of blood from around the bones. Then she told me to place the fish in a bowl of ice water while we prepared the other ingredients.
Remove fish from ice water and place in a 6-8 quart pot. Cover fish with onions, Crush 1 hot pepper and combine with limejuice then pour into pot. Add potatoes, bay leaf and water enough to cover fish and 1 teaspoon of salt to start (you may add more salt to taste later). Cook over medium heat until fish and onions are tender (approximately 20 minutes). Remember fish normally takes 15-20 minutes to cook depending on thickness. Your broth should have a tangy, lemony flavour and fish should be tender and firm. Serve 4-6 persons with a wedge of lemon and slice of hot pepper because some like it hotter!
Accompaniments: Saturday morning breakfast or anytime of the day on the island you cam find Boil Fish and Grits, Johnny Cake or Potato Bread.
Most of my American friends are astonished that we eat fish for breakfast, yet you cannot find a more nutritional, high protein, low-fat, high energy meal anywhere. So if a low-carbohydrate diet is your prescription then enjoy a bowl of Auntie Rie’s Bahamian Boil Fish.
BAHAMIAN CONCH FRITTERS
Ah Conch, our pearl of the sea. Pronounced (kun’k) this muscle of the sea lives in a shell spun from the granules of sand it processes during its life, thus the pink and pearly whites. Said to be an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant it is believed to be the cause for the large families our grand parents amassed. A delicacy for sure its succulent meat is craved no matter how it is prepared.
I remember as a child spending the summer at my grandparents in Nassau. And I could never understand why mama would have orange rind and this smelly thing hanging from the kitchen window. Then one day I got up the nerve to ask what it was. “Conch“ she said, “Dry conch (cured), I’m going to use that to make soup and conch fritters”. Man, even as I think about it today I’m salivating. To use the cured conch it must be soaked in water over night, then boiled to tenderize. Because of its concentrated and potent flavour, cured conch need not be used in the same quantity as fresh conch.
|1 ½ cups
||Conch, ground (2 med) or
|½ med. Green Bell pepper
||Salt to taste
Pass onion, green pepper, hot pepper and conch through a food processor. In a large bowl combine all ingredients including ground conch 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. A little water would soften it up if too stiff. In a deep fryer or deep depth pot heat oil to 350ºF. PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Using a tablespoon for large fritters or teaspoon for small drop batter into oil; fritter should float to the surface. Use a cooking fork to turn so that they will be golden brown on each side. Remove fritters from oil and place in a pan lined with absorbent paper.
Conch fritter batter can be frozen and used later. To reuse remove from freeze and let stand at room temperature for hour or until defrosted. Pour into a large bowl and add 2 tsp of baking powder mix until baking powder is blended. If the consistency is off adjust with flour or water as needed. Please note that you may need to add seasoning to adjust flavour also.
Blend until smooth. Chill and serve on side.