Ukoy Recipe 2023

Green papaya and calabash ukoy are a delicious snack, appetizer or side dish. These vegetable fritters are golden, crispy and delicious!

Ukoy or okoy are Filipino-style fritters made with a variety of vegetables, shrimp, and lightly colored batter. The coarse mixture is poured into the sizzling oil by large spoonfuls and fried until crispy.

These crispy patties are commonly sold by street food vendors in wet markets and are also sold in many carinderias or restaurants. They are served as a snack, appetizer or side dish and are traditionally enjoyed with a spicy vinegar dip on the side.

Vegetables to use

Shrimp fritters are not only easy to prepare, but also versatile. The list of vegetables and roots below is a great choice.

firm cubes of tofu
julienned calabash
grated green papaya
julienned carrots
chopped cabbage
julienned sweet potatoes

Cooking tips

Season the sliced ​​papaya with salt to disperse excess liquid that would otherwise drain the batter and break the fritters during frying.
Slice the ingredients as thinly and evenly as possible to ensure quick and even cooking.
Annatto powder is mainly for color; adjust the amount according to the desired depth of color.
Add fish sauce for umami flavor. You can also mix shrimp stock into the batter and season with spices.
For a crispy texture, use enough oil to cover the patties at least halfway. Do not overcrowd the pan and cook in batches as needed.
Maintaining an optimal temperature of 350 to 375 F is essential. Too high and the fritters will burn before they are done enough, too low and they will absorb more fat.

Use a large spoon or small plate to portion evenly and gently slide the dough into the hot oil.
To prevent the fritters from falling apart, cook undisturbed for about 2 to 3 minutes until browned on the bottom, then turn with a spatula to continue cooking until browned and crispy.
Drain on a wire rack and not on paper towels as condensation will make the ukoy soggy.

How to serve

Serve as a midday snack or appetizer with spicy vinegar on the side for dipping.
As with most fried foods, they are best enjoyed freshly cooked, as they lose their crispness over time and do not reheat well.
If not eating right away, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and keep warm and crispy in a 200F oven until ready to serve.