Conch soup, as the name suggests, is a soup which is prepared using conch as one of its main ingredient. Conch is a collective term used for marine snails. The meat of conch is mild and sweet flavored and is served as a delicacy in various cuisines. The sliced dried meat of conch tastes delicious in soups and is commonly prepared in Bahamas. The people of Grenada also enjoy the snails in curries and in spicy soups and refer to conch as lambi.
History of Conch Soup
Conchs are used for culinary purpose in Caribbean from the time Arawak Indians inhabited the region. The meat of these sea snails was used as a regular food in Haiti and Bahamas. These large snails were boiled, fried and made into stews or soups.
The usage of conch for making soups, stews and salads also became a part of culinary tradition of Florida West, when in 1800s people from Bahamas started migrating to this region. Queen conch was popularly used to make conch soup in Florida Keys.
Commonly Used Ingredients and Preparation of Conch Soups
The ingredients for conch soup recipe usually vary as per the region and taste. However, for the classic conch soup preparation, the ingredients which are required are conch, raw yam, onions, peppers, flour, cloves, garlic, salt, thyme and mixed vegetables.
To prepare the soup, the conch is first cleaned and then pounded and chopped in small pieces. These conch bits are then pressure-cooked in salted water until it turns tender. Meanwhile, in the stock pot, onions are fried till they turn brown. Yam, vegetables and conch are added and allowed to simmer. Flour is added to the pot along with seasoning and the dish is cooked for some more time until thick. The soup, once prepared, is poured into soup bowls and served with garnishing of parsley and thyme.
Popular Conch Soup Recipes
Sopa de Caracol – It is a popular conch soup of Honduran cuisine. The soup is typically prepared by combining conch broth, coconut milk, cassava, green plantains, and spices.
Conch and chicken soup- This soup is also known as chicken and conch soup with honey dew melon and is one of the popular soups of Cantonese cuisine. The soup is considered healthy for skin and kidneys and is sometimes referred to as Soup of chicken with trumpet shell and honeydew melon.
Nutritional Facts of Conch Soup
Conch soup is a rich source of nutrition. Prepared by combining the meat of conch and other vegetables, the soup provides the body with essential minerals and vitamins like Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, iron, selenium and calcium. The soup prepared with conch is usually a low-fat and low-carbohydrate food which is rich in proteins.
Trivia- Conch Soup
- In Turks and Caicos Islands, a conch festival takes place every year. There is tough competition amongst the restaurants as they compete for the best conch dishes. Conch soups, conch salads and other dishes made of conch are judged by international chefs.
- The people of Florida Keys and Bahamas feel immense pride in calling themselves conch.
- The population of queen conch started diminishing due to the excessive consumption, and thus from the year 1980, it was banned to harvest conch in the United States.