Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ukoy (Squash and Sweet Potato Fritters)

Ukoy is a Filipino crunchy appetizer, often eaten as a mid-afternoon snack. There are many variations to this dish, where shrimp and mung bean sprouts are sometimes used. But the main ingredient is always either sweet potato or squash or both. Growing up, I was not too fond of ukoy whenever my Lola (Grandmother) or dad made them. They made theirs with squash, mung bean sprouts, and tiny shrimps. As a kid, you never really like veggies or tiny little shrimps poking at you while you're eating it. But I've grown to love eating ukoy when I had them at a friend's party about a year ago, and then recently at my daughter's welcome party during our recent trip to the Philippines. My aunt's maid had made them for the party and I learned that my aunt taught her how to make them. And so I asked my aunt how it was made, which was quite simple. Her ukoy was made of just sweet potato and squash, a little salt and pepper to taste, and a mixture of cornstarch and flour to bind them together. There really isn't any exact measurements. So its more based on texture. You can also add whatever type of other vegetable you want. I added some corn kernels for an extra touch of sweetness. Once deep fried, the best part of this dish is the crunchiness that I love. Dip them in a mixture of vinegar with minced garlic, salt and pepper, this can be eaten as a main dish as well. My daughter loves this dish so she's able to have her dose of veggies for the day.

2 cup shredded kubocha squash (Japanese Squash)
2 cup shredded sweet potato
1/2 cup corn kernels
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
splash of water
oil for deep frying

1) Fill  a deep frying pan or saute pan with oil about 1/4 of the way up the pan. Heat oil over medium heat.

2) In a large bowl, combine shredded squash, sweet potato, salt and pepper. Stir until incorporated. Add cornstarch, flour, and splash of water. Stir well. Mixture should stick together when mashed together. If mixture is too wet, add an equal amount of cornstarch and flour. If its too dry, add a splash of water.

3) Spoon mixture into oil to make a small patty and fry on both sides until golden brown. Serve hot with a mixture of vinegar with minced garlic, salt and pepper.

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