Believed to have originated in the province of Laguna, Philippines, Okoy or Ukoy is a simple yet very tasty Filipino dish and appetizer made from deep-fried battered baby shrimps. The shell of the shrimp is left unpeeled as it enhances the flavor and crispiness of okoy.
- ½ lb. baby shrimps, shell on, cleaned and whiskers trimmed off
- 1 cup kamote (sweet potato), grated
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. atsuete(annatto/ achiote) extract or ½ tsp. powdered annatto
- 1 cup cooking oil
- In a large bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, egg, water, atsuete, salt, and black pepper. Stir the batter mixture very well to make sure no lumps will form.
- Add the shrimps and sweet potato. Mix until well blended.
- Prepare and heat the pan with enough cooking oil for deep frying.
- When the oil is ready to hot, scoop out around 2 to 3 tablespoons of shrimp mixture and carefully drop them in the middle of the pan. Press it down with a spatula to flatten similar to a pancake.
- Cook each side for about 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown (depending on the thickness of the batter mixture).
- Remove the fried okoy from the pan and drain on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process until the remaining shrimp batter mixture is used up.
- Serve while warm and crispy along with spiced vinegar dipping sauce (sukang maanghang).
TIPS FROM ENZ:
- Put some veggies by adding mung bean sprouts and julienned carrots in the batter mixture. If preferred, peel off the shells of baby shrimp. Bigger shrimps can also be used. Cut them into smaller pieces before adding in the batter. If no fresh shrimps are available, dried shrimps will do. Dilis or anchovy is also a popular substitute to shrimps. Butternut squash or pumpkin can be substituted with sweet potato. Ketchup and mayonnaise can also be used as dipping sauce.