Okoy or Ukoy is the Filipino version of shrimp fritters. Small shrimps (usually with head and shell on) are mixed in a batter and fried until crispy. This is can be an appetizer, a main dish, or a mid afternoon snack. Several variations of this dish exists, the most common ingredients that are mixed with shrimps are mung bean sprouts (togue) and julienned squash. There are also other ukoy variations wherein small fishes such as dulong or dilis are used instead of shrimp.
I learned to eat Ukoy when I was still a kid. Every afternoon, our trusted vendor peddles this dish along with turon, lumpiang prito, and bananaque. I used to have this for meryenda (mid afternoon snack) and I enjoy having it soaked in spicy vinegar such as sinamak or pinakurat.
The secret to a good Ukoy is its texture. You can put any ingredient that you want as long as it is within the norm but it should come out extra crispy. During my first few tries, I was not satisfied with the texture. Although the taste was extremely superb, the texture is a bit soggy. Instead of giving-up, I did several more experiments and finally got the crispy texture that I wanted. How did I do it? I simply changed the flour and cornstarch ratio by adding more cornstarch and decreasing the amount of flour.
If you’ll notice in the video, I used small dried shrimps (the size is bigger than hibi) instead of the fresh small ones. I can’t find the right sized (small variety) fresh or even packaged shrimps in my area. It turned out that the dried shrimps are more flavorful than the fresh shrimps that I usually use.
1 cup small shrimps, cleaned
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts (togue)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 piece raw egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups 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 or small cooking pot and pour-in the cooking oil.
- When 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. Please note that cooking time may vary. Repeat this step until the entire mixture is consumed.
- 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 with sinamak.
- Share and enjoy!