Turtle Stew or Corn Turtle (Cayman Islands National dish) ~ Cook Food Caboose

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Turtle Stew Recipe (Farm-Raised) or Corn Turtle 


Turtle stew is the national dish of the Cayman Islands.


A true delicacy and perhaps the most traditional meal with older generations in the Cayman Islands, ‘turtling’- or farming for turtles, dates back to the 17th Century when settlers would harvest and sell the meat also to passing ships. To this day it is a tradition and a favorite among locals and it was a high protein source for red meat. All turtle meat on Cayman Island comes from the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm where a certain amount is for consumption and the majority for preservation and released back into the wild.


It’s a rich mix of marinated turtle and spices! Turtle can be also be prepared as a soup, or thin steak filet and even a rare recipe prepared with coconut milk and cornmeal know as “Corn Turtle.” The traditional sides are what we call breadkind or ground provisions, which can consist of Breadfruit, Cassava, Sweet Potato, Caribbean Pumpkin, and preferred with Rice & beans or White rice! These days it can also be accompanied by a side of potato or breadfruit salad and fried ripe plantain, fresh veggies, cornbread.

Serves 4 – 6 
Stew Turtle Cayman recipe
5 pounds combonation of Green sea turtle meat (Farm-raised) of Stew and/or Calipee
2 medium white onions, chopped
1/2 or 1 Scotch Bonnett or hot pepper, de-stemmed, deseeded and chopped (your desired heat)
4-8 Seasoning Peppers (de-stemmed, diced and all colors) *These carry no heat but more flavor
1 teaspoon Badia complete seasoning
1 teaspoon salt to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
2 tbsp Coconut oil (optional)
First, wash all variations of turtle meat with lime juice and water and drain. Then cut everything into bite-sized pieces. Separate the liver, cut up and place aside in the fridge until needed.
Add seasoning, peppers, and herbs to your mixture, except for the onion.
If you wish to marinate for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
To remove the skin from the Fins/Flipper/Calipee
Heat a pot of boiling water and drop one piece at a time. With a fork make sure you get each side submerged in the boiling water for at least 5 – 6 seconds. Remove a fin and if you can handle heated peel away the skin with a paring or manageable knife. Then after peeled cut vertically into bite-sized pieces.

Add all the meat and all other variations except the liver to a Dutch or Cast iron pot. At this time you can also add the diced onion.

Start cooking on low – medium heat for 2 1/2 hours.

Check the pot the first 20 or 30 mins and give it a flip stir then you can check every hour less frequently just to keep the heat and steam in pot which will make it more tender.
*Add more hot pepper, salt or black pepper to your taste.
*Never add water or oil as the variety of meat and edible parts renders its own natural water and oils. Some people do prefer adding coconut oil if just Stewed Turtle.
*At this point 1 hour before completion of cooking add the Liver. Give pot another good flip stir.
Switch to Corn Turtle?
1 can coconut milk
1 cup Flour
1 cup Cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
For the Corn Turtle

You can also add the coconut milk at this time. Give a flip stir.

Next add Cornmeal dumplings on top of the meat. Knead them together break off pieces and shape into rounds and then flatten and put on top of the meat half an hour before finished cooking.

Give it another really good flip stir with a big cooking spoon until you see your desired texture.

*Please note that the taking of any wild sea turtle from the beach or ocean is illegal and prosecution can face fines of CI$50,000 and prison time.
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