The African snail is the largest in its species and it is believed to be native to East Africa
Snails have wide culinary uses in Africa and regarded as a delicacy by many indigenes.
In Western Culture, typically the snails are removed from their shells, gutted, cooked (usually with garlic butter or chicken stock) and then poured back into the shells together with the butter and sauce for serving, often on a plate with several shell-sized depressions. Additional ingredients may be added such as garlic, thyme, parsley and pine nuts.
In African culture, snail meat goes through a rigorous cleaning process after removal from the shell and cooked usually in savory stews or soups. The following is a step by step process for cleaning an African snail.
You will need the following for cleaning 6 large snails…. 2 Lemons, 1 cake of alum and lots of clean water.
Step 1. Remove snail meat from shell and place in bowl with water. Discard any meat that floats.
Step 2. Using a piece of alum, rub all areas of the snail meat. Placing the alum rubbed meat into another bowl of cool clean water.
Step 3. Rub lemon or lime juice on the snail meat and place in clean water.
Step 4. Using your hand rub of any lingering slime or dirt.
Step 5. Cut the snail in half and remove the innards. Place cleaned meat in clean water.
It is ready to be cooked!
Cooking snails is a fairly easy process. Simply place cleaned snails in small pot with enough chicken or beef stock to cover meat by 1-2 inches, ½ a cup of sliced red onions and ½ tsp of salt to taste. Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove snails from heat and set aside. In a separate sauté pan, heat up ½ cup of peanut oil. When hot add snails and flash fry with 3 cloves chopped garlic. After a minute add 1 cup chopped onions, tomatoes, 1 tsp brown sugar and1 chopped red habanera pepper (optional). Mix and leave to cook for an additional 3 minutes. Serve hot over white rice or as a great side dish.