Okoy or ukoy is a popular and simple deep-fried Filipino snack traditionally made with glutinous rice flour batter and small shrimps and some vegetables. I loved snacking on them when I was a kid, dunking them in a bowl of vinegar (just the thought of it is making my mouth water), but my shellfish allergy made sure I paid for my indulgence with swollen lips and red, itchy splotches around my neck.
It would be decades later, when I had leftover kalabasa that I didn’t know what to do with sitting in the fridge that I would discover I could make veggie okoy. This kalabasa okoy recipe from PagkaingPinoyTV was delicious.
Afterward, I would just make all sorts of okoy whenever I had kalabasa, sweet potato, scallions, and/or carrots—vegetables that you would typically find in a traditional okoy, anyway. To replace the umami flavor from the shrimp (and spare me the allergic reaction), the recipe used fish sauce. The recipe below is vegan, since the leeks kimchi that adds heat to this fritter uses vegan fish sauce.
Let’s add some ferments to okoy
After I made leeks kimchi, I started using it for vegan sundubu jjigae and kimchi pancakes. It’s a salty, spicy, umami bomb, particularly its juice so just a little goes along way.
Since the fermented leeks worked well in the savory Korean pancake, I decided to try it in the style of okoy. Remember to remove the juice from the leeks before measuring them. And be careful with adding the kimchi juice as it can make the okoy quite salty. I used one tablespoon and it was salty enough for me. You can opt for less. Plus, dipping it in a vinegar-based sauce balances the saltiness and cuts the grease.
I’ve made the okoy a few times already using grated kalabasa, julienned sweet potato, or a combination of both. Since they’re both sweet and starchy, they both go well with the leeks kimchi.
- 1 cup leeks kimchi, drained (recipe, here)
- 1 cup sweet potato, julienned
- 3-5 stalks of scallions, chopped
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of kimchi juice
- ½ cup cold water
- Oil for pan-frying
- 1. Mix the leeks kimchi, sweet potato, and scallions in a bowl.
- 2. Add the flour, cornstarch, water, and kimchi juice. Mix well.
- 3. Slowly add the cold water to make a sticky batter.
- 4. Heat your pan and add the vegetable oil. Put around 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan. Make sure not to crowd the okoy.
- 5. Pan-fry them for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from the pan and let excess oil drain over a strainer or paper towels. Serve with vinegar.
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