The crispy Okoy version that most people know is the shrimp okoy, our version of fritters. It uses small shrimps, and served as a snack with vinegar dipping sauce. My mother sometimes prepares a pure vegetable okoy too, using either togue or kalabasa.
One Saturday morning, at the Maya Kitchen, Chef Tatung taught us how to cook okoy, his version, which is a combination of shrimp and vegetable and almost like that of Kakiage, a Japanese version of shrimp and vegetable tempura.
How to make ukoy crispy
It is very easy to cook okoy, however, they do tend to get soggy easily. Chef Tatung taught us how to make ukoy crispy. Bean sprouts tends to get soggy after awhile and Chef Tatung advises to only use bean sprouts (togue) if the ukoy will be served immediately. He also advises to work quickly and maintain the coldness of the batter. Home cooks should add a cube of ice or two if it becomes warm. This is to make sure that you cook a crispy okoy.
Chef Tatung’s Shrimp and Vegetable Crispy Okoy Recipe
For the batter:
1 c Maya all-purpose flour
2 tbsp Maya cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
Dash of black or white pepper
¾ c ice-cold water
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp annatto or atsuete oil (see notes)
For the vegetables and shrimps:
½ c squash, cut into thin strips
½ c kamote, cut into thin strips
½ c bean sprouts (see notes)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
8-10 stems spring onions, cut into one-inch pieces
1 c small fresh shrimps, whiskers trimmed, washed and drained
2 – 2½ c cooking oil
Instructions for the Crispy Okoy Recipe:
- Make the batter first by combining flour, cornstarch, baking powder and pepper in a large bowl. Pour in the water and fish sauce, then add the annatto oil. Stir until all ingredients are well-blended. Mixture should have a thick consistency.
- Add vegetables and shrimps to the prepared batter. Mix well.
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottom frying pan. The oil should be at least an inch high.
- When the oil is sufficiently hot, scoop the batter by large spoonfuls (or use a ¼ cup measure) and drop into the hot oil to make the okoy. Use only medium heat so the inside of the batter gets cooked while the outside remains crisp. Do this in batches; do not overcrowd the frying pan. Fry each batch until golden brown.
- Transfer the cooked ukoy to a plate lined with paper towels or absorbent paper.
Serve immediately with vinegar and garlic dip.
Makes about 10-12 crispy okoy.
- Annato oil is very useful in the kitchen and can be used for different dishes such as fried rice, etc. It is a good practice to always have some.make your own own annatto oil by mixing 1 tablespoon powdered annatto (atsuete) with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Mama Sita brand of powdered annatto is available in the condiments and spices section of supermarkets.
This recipe is shared during a Maya Kitchen demonstration. For more information, please visit www.themayakichen.com.