Have you ever had Okoy or Ukoy (Shrimp and Vegetable Fritters)? If you're interested in making it or just want to know more about it, read on! I've compiled the most frequently asked questions.
Okoy or ukoy is the Filipino version of fried fritters made with shrimp and vegetables. It is served with a vinegar dipping sauce as an appetizer, merienda (snack), or side dish.
Okoy or ukoy typically consists of tiny shrimp with their heads and shells intact and various vegetables such as squash, sweet potato, and bean sprouts. The batter is made of flour or cornstarch, and sometimes egg.
Whenever possible, use tiny shrimps. They make very crispy and flavorful okoy. If they are not available, use any size of shrimp you have.
Use squash, sweet potato, and bean sprouts for a more familiar okoy. You can also include onions, carrots, and green beans. Cilantro adds a ton of flavor. Get creative and use any vegetables that aren't too watery.
Calabaza and kabocha are types of winter squash that you can use for okoy. Kabocha, known as Japanese pumpkin, has a dark green rind and bright orange flesh. Its skin is thin and edible, while the flesh 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.
Okoy 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. 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 the best 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.
A julienne peeler or a julienne slicer (similar to a mandoline with a julienne blade attachment) is extremely helpful when preparing vegetables. It creates uniform matchsticks and will make your life easier.
Use a skillet or a wok for frying. You can also bake the fritters in the oven to reduce 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 them. Store in the refrigerator for three to four days or freeze to extend their shelf life.
You can reheat okoy in a toaster oven or an air fryer to make them crunchy again. You can also re-fry them, though it may make them greasy.
I hope that this post has answered some or all of your questions about Okoy or Ukoy (Shrimp and Vegetable Fritters). Give them a try, and you'll love them!