Ukoy Kalabasa is a popular Filipino shrimp and vegetable fritters served with a spicy garlicky vinegar dip. This ukoy recipe is made of shrimp and kabocha squash (kalabasa).
There are many variants of ukoy when it comes to the vegetable used. Aside from squash, bean sprout, carrot or sweet potato can be use too.
When cooking, use a cup or a tablespoon to measure ukoy mixture for uniform sizes. Served as a snack, appetizer or a main course.
This ukoy recipe is easy to make as long as you have the right batter consistency.
My mom made this frequently and we loved it. There were times when my parents were out of the country for many months and we craved for my mom’s ukoy. None of us knew how to make it.
My early days making ukoy was hit or missed. The first time I made it, it looked like a thick pancake. It took me a few tries to perfect the batter.
My mom has entered the world of dementia and she doesn’t remember how to cook. Whenever I make something, she’ll ask me if she used to make it.
All the Filipino food we make are my mom's recipes. Recipes passed on to her by her mom, grandma, mother-in-law and recipes she got from cookbooks, TV shows and friends that she improvised to her liking.
At one point she wanted me to show her how to cook. We told her no more cooking – it is our time to serve her. We tell her "Donya na siya" and she hates it. She feels so uneasy not being able to help with any house chores.
I don't know if it's a good thing that we don't allow her to do any house chores anymore. At least if she does, her mind can continue working. Just don't know..........
When my mom and my cat knows that I am preparing food, they are both watching me. I would tease my mom that both of them found a bed and breakfast accommodation.
I have my mom so I can spend time with her while I am not working. When I was working, I only cooked on the weekends and ordered during the week.
Now, I am cooking every other day or sometimes everyday!
Well anyway, the success of a delicious, crispy and crunchy ukoy relies on the batter.
Majority of my moms recipes does not have measurements, so it took me a while to get the right consistency.
My mom and I are similar when it comes to cooking – we don’t follow measurements but with ukoy kalabasa, I need a guide.
I can devour many ukoy in one seating. When I was still working, there were times I don’t feel like cooking and craved for this fritters.
I discovered that Costco or maybe Sams sold shrimp vegetable fritters in their frozen section. It was not bad – it satisfied my craving but of course the homemade one is much better since it is crispier.
How to Cook Ukoy Kalabasa (Shrimp and Squash Filipino Fritters)
Another delicious, crispy and crunchy ukoy recipe, Ukoy sa Togue. Try it today, too!
Ukoy Kalabasa (Shrimp and Squash Filipino Fritters)
- 8 large or extra large shrimp head-on and unpeeled
- 2 ½ cups kabocha squash kalabasa, grated
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup green onion chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- a pinch of salt
- 3 Thai chili peppers
- Combine and mix together batter ingredients until smooth.
- Stir in the kabocha squash.
- Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Measure ukoy mixture with a tablespoon or a small cup whichever is easier. Scoop about 2 to 3 tablespoons of mixture, flatten and distribute evenly by pressing mixture with kitchen utensil. Place and press one large shrimp in the middle of mixture.
- Note: It might be easier to form the mixture into a circle using a saucer or kitchen utensil and pressing the shrimp on top of the mixture. Use another utensil to help slide the mixture in the frying pan. If not sure how to do it please watch my video and I’ll show you 2 ways of dropping it in the pan.
- Fry each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove ukoy from pan and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil for a minute. If not serving right away transfer to a wire rack to cool off.
- Serve with spicy vinegar garlic dip. Enjoy!
- To make the vinegar dip, mix all the ingredients and serve on the side.