Ukoy (“oo-khoy”) are fried crunchy, battered fritters with savory vegetable filling. Usually they also have shrimp, I veganized and added a touch of vegetable broth instead. It could be easily veganized because all you have to do is take out the shrimp and eggs. The challenge was not so much on how to veganize it as much as how to create a crunchy texture. Achieving that perfect balance of flour, corn starch, and baking powder is the trick to the perfect piece of Ukoy.
Ukoy (or Okoy) are best served with vinegar dipping on the side, and best enjoyed as snack or appetizer.
FOR THE BATTER:
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. of corn starch mixed in and dissolved in 1 cup of water
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. flax seed meal mixed with 3 tbsp. water until thick (or any egg substitute)
- 1 tbsp. vegetable broth powder, or 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 0.33 oz. annatto powder or achuete mixed in 1/4 cup of water (available at most Asian grocery stores)
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1/2 cup julienned carrots
- 1/2 cup mung beans sprouts
- 1/2 cup cubed firm tofu and/or 1/4 cup minced potatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped celery or parsley
- 2 cups cooking oil
- In a bowl, combine the flour and cornstarch mixture. Mix well until the texture is similar to a pancake batter.
- Add the baking powder, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, and egg substitute. Mix well.
- Little by little, add the annatto powder mixture to the batter to achieve an orange color.
- Heat a pan or wok with cooking oil over medium heat.
- Using a ladle, add and assemble the filling. Then pour the batter on top and deep fry.
- Once the batter has been cooked and solidified, scrape the bottom of the ladle using a fork to free the fritter then flip to cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Drain the oil by placing the fritters on a paper towel. Serve with vinegar on the side.
Here’s a short video of what I did to cook the fritters: