October 1 marked the official opening of the conch season here in Belize. Conch is a staple of Belizean seafood cuisine and it is a healthy and natural food that’s also “good for the back”, said to be an aphrodisiac. Conch is a fleshy marine mollusc that thrives in our barrier reef system. Free divers harvest conch based on size and weight limits. The season will be open until June 30, 2016 or until the national harvest quota of a million pounds is filled.
Now’s the time to enjoy the bounty of our reef and marine system with some amazing conch dishes such as conch soup, conch steak, conch ceviche, or conch fritters. The shells of the conch are highly decorative and are used to make ornaments and jewellery which can be purchased from vendors around the country. Come enjoy with us and please remember to only purchase conch when in season so that future generations can enjoy as well!
Try one of our recipes and you won’t be disappointed!
Enjoy this video by Chef Sean Kuylen, one of Belize’s best, on how to prepare scrumptious.
Conch Mango Ceviche
The regular conch ceviche is already delicious and everybody loves it, so here is the opportunity for you to love it up even more and spice it up with some sweetness.
Prep Time: 15 - 20 minutes
Serves: 6 people
2 Large Onions
2 Large Tomatoes
1 Dozen Limes
2 Large Mangos *Half Ripe*
1 Pound of Conch
Optional – Additional Ingredients
1 Sweet Pepper
Season All Seasoned Salt
Pepper Sauce or Fresh Habaneros
- Gather your ingredients and wash your vegetable. Dice the vegetables and the mango (substitute pineapple when mango is not in season). Clean and beat the conch and cut the raw conch into small pieces.
- Some blanch the Conch. It is optional.
- Blanch: is to plunge raw food into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop the cooking process.
(When Conch is not in season you can replace it with shrimp)
- Juice the limes and soak the conch in lime juice. When the conch starts to turn color as it cooks in the lime juice acidity add the remaining ingredients. Mix and season to taste.
Conch Soup Recipe
By Alice Riveroll
4 large conchs
4 potatoes medium diced
3 medium cocos diced
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic chopped and crushed
a large carrot diced
2 tbsps green pepper
1 slice bacon diced
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps cooking oil (can use olive oil)
1 tsp shortening
1 green plantain sliced
1 green plantain grated
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp thyme.
Clean conch with lime juice. Place on cutting board and pound with meat mallet. In a saucepan drop conch in boiling water for one minute only. Discard water. Heat oil, add flour and stir until brown making a roux. Add 3 cups of water, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add salt to taste, and thyme, diced coco, potatoes, carrots and sliced plantain. As soon as soup comes to a boil, turn down heat to medium. Cover pot and let simmer.
Now prepare dumplings made from the green plantains. Grate plantains and add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of shortening. Form into little balls and drop into soup. Stir pot occasionally.
As soon as vegetables in soup are just about tender, add coconut milk and conch. Cook and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Serve piping hot. This is a hearty and wholesome soup that can stand on its own. You can add a side serving of white rice or hot corn tortillas. For that extra Belizean flavour you may add 1/2 tsp or less of anato (recado) for a little color and a little cilantro. Some cooks add 1/2 tsp of paprika and 2 peeled tomatoes.
Check out these amazing conch art that can be found all around Belize!