Are you looking for an appetizer, a snack, a pulutan, something that will serve as the main course? Well, if you are looking for something that ticks all the criteria mentioned above, the good news is coming your way.
Okoy or Ukoy is considered one of those deep-fried savory dishes that are not too complicated to make. With its different variations, you can indeed find the best okoy that can satisfy your palate.
Initially known as the “pantawid gutom” kind of snack or as one of the famous street foods found on the busy streets in and out of the Metro, Ukoy has now expanded its flair to become one of the popular dishes served anywhere throughout the day.
The most common type of ukoy found here in the Philippines is the one with (kalabasa) as its main star. Still, as mentioned earlier, ukoy has several varieties. Some of them may include sweet potato (kamote), papaya, and bean sprouts (togue) together with shrimp and onions. Its batter can range from water or egg mixed with either glutinous flour, cornstarch, or with the flour commonly found in our pantry staples and lastly some drops of annatto extract for that nice yellow-orange color.
Ways to Cook Okoy Or Squash Recipe
There are several ways and techniques of cooking the best ukoy, and if you are interested in trying this crispy and savory dish, here are the top three methods of cooking that you can try at home:
Okoy Recipe Using Stovetop
In the Philippines, the most common method of cooking ukoy is probably the stovetop version. Use a skillet fit for deep frying, and if you want to try something new, you can try to put a banana leaf shaped into a circle as a lining of the ukoy to make it more fragrant and nice.
Okoy Recipe Using Air fryer
The air fryer is a trend nowadays, and you can use this trending appliance for cooking your ukoy. An air fryer is a small countertop oven that uses the convection method to imitate deep frying without having the food submerged in oil. This cooking method is probably better and one of the healthiest if you are avoiding oily foods.
Ukoy Recipe Using Instant Pot
Like an air fryer, Instant Pot is a form of a modern appliance that you can use to cook Ukoy. Instant Pot is a form of electronically controlled multifunctional cookers that combines a pressure cooker and a slow cooker. With its fast-paced cooking time, this will be probably the best cooking method for a time saver person like you.
Other Delicious Variants and Recipes of Ukoy
As an archipelagic country, the Philippines have continued to evolve in terms of food preparations and recipes that sometimes make the food bring its best version up to date, so if you are curious enough to know its different varieties, here are the best Ukoy variations for you to pick from.
Kalabasang Okoy is one of the most common versions of okoy found here in the country, and if you are looking for a simple yet tasty variant of okoy for you to munch in, then this one’s for you.
Shredded Sweet Potato and Carrot Fritters
Suppose you are looking for a little upgrade. In that case, Shredded Sweet Potato (kamote) and Carrot Fritters may be the one for you because instead of using the common kalabasa – a combination of two crispy vegetables are used together for an additional crunch and flavor that will surely make your mouth water.
Papaya Okoy with Shrimp
If you are looking for a new dish that can make use of your green papaya at home, this version of okoy is right of the bat, because this recipe uses green papaya, together with the small shrimps. Take note, only green papaya can be used and not the ripe and yellow ones for a great result.
Bean Sprouts and Tofu Shrimp Fritters
If you are looking for a much healthier version of okoy, this one is a great recipe and may be up to your standards. Unlike the other versions previously mentioned, this one uses tofu together with bean sprouts as its main ingredients.
Okoy Bean Sprouts
If you prefer to have a light snack variation of okoy with less starch in it, togue or bean sprouts okoy is for you. Onions, spring onions, and other veggies like carrots can be added here, depending on your taste.
Okoy na Mais
The last variant of okoy that makes here in the list is the okoy na mais. Aside from the usage of sweet corn, the difference of this okoy is that you don’t need to grate or chop its main ingredient, which makes it a little bit time-efficient, and aside from that if you think you need a little fancying for your mais okoy, you have the option to add cheese in its mixture to achieve a great and satisfying result.
Trivia about this Squash Okoy Recipe
The recipe is said to originate in the province of Laguna. The street vendors initially sell it as an afternoon snack (merienda) and the other popular Pinoy street foods.
Aside from the Philippines, okoy is also popular in Palau’s island – an island country found on the Pacific Ocean’s western part. Okoy comes from the Hokkien word ō+kuè defined as a cake made from taro (gabi) and pronounced (ooh-coy).
Troubleshooting for these Okoy Recipe
To avoid too much wasting of your dish, here are some of the techniques.
● If you fail to obtain the crispy texture that the okoy should have during your first attempt, try to check the oil temperature using a kitchen thermometer. The optimal temperature for frying must reach 370 – 375 F. Temperature lower or higher than that may cause your okoy to become soggy or burnt, respectively.
● To make sure that your okoy will not fall apart, leave the cooking fritter undisturbed for at least 2 to 3 minutes or until the bottom is browned before flipping over.
● If fresh shrimp is unavailable, you can replace it by using small fish like dilis or calamari, but if someone allergic will consume the dish, you can completely opt-out using seafood.
Tips for Cooking these Squash Ukoy Recipe
The best way to have your okoy is by achieving the right crispiness and texture. Here are some tips to make it perfect.
● When using bean sprouts as your main ingredient, make sure that the accompanying vegetables are sliced as thinly as possible because bean sprouts have a shorter cooking time than the rest.
● Keep your ingredients as dry as possible. If you think that the vegetables you are using is a bit on the moist and watery side, try patting those vegetables using paper towels to make your okoy reach its full potential crispiness.
● Use an ice cold batter to ensure the crispiness of the okoy.
● Don’t overcrowd your okoy. When you are frying your okoy, make sure to leave at least 2-3 inches of space between the fritters because it will be flattened by the spatula to ensure that the fritter is cook evenly. Cook in batches if needed.
● Instead of using paper towels to drain the excess oil on your okoy, it is better to use a wire rack because leaving your okoy on an oil-drenched paper towel for a long time will cause your okoy to become soggy.
Great to Serve With
To bring the full potential of its texture and flavor, here are some of the best partners of this recipe:
● Rice – Filipino dining tables will be incomplete without this most important staple food in the country.
● Dips – Okoy is paired best with its different dips like the variations of spiced vinegar called sinamak (vinegar mixed with peppercorns, chilies, onions) and pinakurat (vinegar mixed with garlic, chilies, ginger, onion, and fish sauce). You may also use ketchup or garlic mayo to dip your okoy.
● Deep-Fried Calamares – if you are looking for another deep-fried dish to pair with your okoy, this one is probably the best because aside from its similar cooking method, calamares can also pair with the previously stated partners of okoy.
● Beer – if you are planning to drink your ice-cold beer while having your get-together, okoy will surely be one of the best pulutan that you can offer if you are looking for a crispy veggie snack.
This dish is one of the popular dishes in the country. With its basic ingredients and a long list of variations, you can indeed pull up your okoy in no time because you can easily found the ingredients in the wet market or even in the supermarket. As mentioned earlier, this dish can be served throughout the day as anything you want it to be.
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Best Ukoy (Shrimp Fritter) Recipe
- 1 cup Small shrimps cleaned
- 1 cup Cornstarch
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1 1/2 cups Mung bean sprouts or Togue
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
- 1 pc Egg beaten
- 1/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1 1/4 cup Water
- 2 cups Cooking oil
- Combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder, egg, water, salt, and ground black pepper then stir until diluted.
- Add the shrimps and mung bean sprouts in the mixture and lightly stir to distribute.
- Heat a frying pan and pour-in the cooking oil.
- Once the oil is hot enough, scoop about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture and quickly (but cautiously) drop it in hot oil.
- Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until the color turns golden brown. Repeat this step until the entire mixture is consumed.Note: Cooking time may vary.
- Remove the deep-fried ukoy from the pan and place in a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the oil.
- Remove the paper towel and serve. Enjoy!