In my parents hometown of Navotas, Okoy is considered an afternoon snack. These are sold during the mid afternoon hours along with others treats like, Valencia (Turon goes by this name in Navotas), Maruya (banana fritter) etc. I remember older family members would eat Okoy with cold rice and a dipping sauce made up of vinegar, garlic and ground black pepper.
When I was growing up we would sometimes have this for breakfast during the weekends. This is one of my favorite dish of all time. Whenever I would come back home to Manila for a visit, this is my top most requested dish from my family.
I have tried dozen of times to make this for my own family here in the Northeast without much success. It will either fall apart during frying or become too soggy and not crisp as it’s supposed to. Thanks to this video I finally found the perfect recipe. Her technique or method is also similar to how I remember my Ninang Aveling and Lola would make it. The reason maybe because of the fact she is from Malabon, the town next to Navotas which shares a culinary tradition and history.
To make, wash and drain very well a bag of mung bean sprouts. Cut one medium sized white onion into thin slices, and separate the rings or segments. If you have access to fresh small/baby shrimps, wash and trim it’s pointy ends or whiskers. You need not remove it’s shells when you are using baby shrimps. For this recipe I used dried pink shrimps as a substitute.
For the batter mix the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 a tsp. ground black pepper. I just added annatto powder for color, this is totally optional since my aunt or Lola do not use this in their recipe. Slowly add about 1 cup water. Batter should be thick but pourable.
Take a small non stick pan and add about 1/4 -1/2 cup neutral oil and heat.
To make, get a small plate or saucer and sprinkle some sprouts until it just covers it. Next add some onion strips or slices then add a few pieces of shrimps on top. Then get a small ladle or big spoon and pour your batter until it just covers your vegetables and shrimp. I used about 3 small ladles of batter.
Then quickly slide your fritter into the hot oil. It should slide easily if you added the right amount of batter. Cook until brown and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of vinegar, crushed garlic and ground black pepper.