Have you ever had okoy or ukoy (shrimp and vegetable fritters)? If you're interested in learning how to make it or just want to know more about it, read on! I've compiled the most frequently asked questions.
Okoy or ukoy are fried shrimp and vegetable fritters served as an appetizer, merienda (snack), or side dish in the Philippines. It is often served with a vinegar dipping sauce.
In English, okoy or ukoy is also known as fritters. These fried fritters typically contain small shrimp and various vegetables.
Okoy or ukoy typically consists of tiny shrimps with their heads and shells intact. A variety of vegetables such as squash, sweet potato, and bean sprouts go along with it.
A batter is made of flour or cornstarch, and sometimes egg. It is often served with a vinegar dipping sauce or a sweet and sour sauce.
Use tiny shrimps if you can find them. They make very crispy and flavorful okoy.
They may not always be available, so use any size you have. Keep the heads and shells if you prefer.
For a more familiar okoy, use squash, sweet potato, and bean sprouts. You can also include onions, carrots, and green beans.
Cilantro adds a ton of flavor. Get creative and use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
They are similar and both can be used for okoy. Calabaza (kalabasa in Filipino) and kabocha are types of winter squash.
Kabocha, known as Japanese pumpkin, has a dark green rind and bright orange flesh. Its skin is thin and edible with flesh that is sweet and not stringy at all.
Calabaza is usually much larger. Its color ranges from light yellow to dark green. Its skin, although edible, is thicker.
Rice flour (not to be confused with glutinous rice flour), cornstarch, and potato starch are great options.
You can use all-purpose flour in part, but not by itself since it tends to be heavy.
All sorts of things go well with okoy. It can be eaten as an appetizer or snack.
Some enjoy it with rice, while others like it as a side dish to something more savory like Filipino pork adobo.
As with any dish, there is no one right answer — it all comes down to personal taste.
Some batters are thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The batter for my version of okoy is thin like a slurry.
It lightly coats the vegetables and shrimp, allowing their flavors to shine.
Okoy may be packed with vegetables, but it is also high in fats and calories. Fried foods may taste great, but they're not considered healthy. As with everything else, moderation is important.
Yes, you can make it spicy. Add some red pepper flakes or chili powder to the batter.
If you're serving it with sweet and sour sauce or vinegar dipping sauce, throw in some bird's eye chilies.
Keep your batter light. Use rice flour, cornstarch, or potato starch for crispy results. They will brown better and crisp up with a bit of baking powder.
Using carbonated water instead of plain water gives you the same effect. Do not overcrowd the pan when frying to keep the oil hot.
They will absorb more oil when the temperature drops, making them soggy or greasy.
One way is to make a thin batter to prevent them from absorbing too much oil. Keep the oil at a constant high temperature when you fry them.
Allow them to cool in a single layer, so they don't steam and get soggy.
To prepare the vegetables, you can always use a knife, but a julienne peeler or a julienne slicer (similar to a mandoline with a julienne blade attachment) is extremely helpful.
It creates uniform matchsticks and will make your life easier. A skillet or a wok for frying always works. Some might like to use a deep fryer or bake them to cut down on the oil.
To truly enjoy these fritters, they have to be crispy and not greasy at all. The key is to fry them at a constant high temperature.
When the temperature drops too low, they absorb more oil. The batter should not be too heavy so you can enjoy the shrimp and vegetables.
You can fry them in advance and let them cool completely before wrapping. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or freeze to extend their shelf life.
To make okoy crunchy again, you can reheat them in a toaster oven or an air fryer. You can always fry them again, but they may become greasy.
I hope that this post has answered some or all of your questions about okoy or how to make it. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not give it a try?