Ukoy – Shrimp Fritters

Okoy, Ukoy is a snack sold by street hawkers in the Philippines every afternoon. A howl from the vendor can make kids go back to their houses to ask their parents for coins and buy these snacks. But now it became popular as a side dish for main meals in restaurants. This dish is always accompanied by a vinegar dipping sauce which balances out the oiliness of the dish from frying. Made with shrimps and mixed with simple batter to bind the ingredients. The common problem about when cooking ukoy at home is it always disintegrates when lowered into the hot oil. When frying, it’s vital not to fidget with it; it takes patience to get it perfectly crispy and golden brown. Ukoy is best when still hot and dipped in vinegar with lots of onions and garlic. This recipe will not disappoint, try it and enjoy this crispy goodness.

ukoy with vinegar
The smell of this okoy is heavenly.

The secret ingredient is always LOVE

Different variants of Ukoy.

Okoy has numerous variations using a variety of other ingredients, including replacing the shrimp with small fish or calamari. Okoy batter can also be made with regular flour, rice flour, or an egg and cornstarch mixture. It can also refer to omelettes made with mashed calabaza or sweet potato, with or without the shrimp.

ukoy pinterest

Tips for cooking Okoy.

  • If the ukoy are way too dark and burnt it means your oil is too hot, or you left them in too long.
  • It falls apart in the oil! You either did not mix the batter properly or it is too thin.
  • Alternative ingredients for papaya are: pumpkin (calabasa), carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes. 


This dish is always accompanied by a vinegar dipping sauce which balances out the oiliness of the dish from frying. Made with shrimps and mixed with simple batter to bind the ingredients. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: fritters, okoy, ukoy
Servings: 6
Author: Mia


  • 3 cups grated green papaya
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion cut in thin strips
  • 16 tbsp rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp annatto powder for coloring
  • 6 medium sized shrimps
  • 2 cups cooking oil add more if needed

Vinegar dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste


How to prepare the papaya.

  • Peel the green papaya then cut in half to remove the seeds. Grate the papaya into strips and put in a bowl.
  • Wash the grated papaya and wrap in a clean cloth and squeeze to drain the water. Put it back in the bowl.
  • Add salt and onion, mix all ingredients well and set aside.

How to make the batter.

  • In a mixing bowl. Pour the rice flour and gradually add the water while stirring. Try to get a consistency that is not too thick and not too thin or runny. 
  • Add the annatto powder and mix until the batter has an orange color that you desire.
    batter annitto

Cooking the Ukoy

  • Using a deep frying pan, heat the cooking oil in high temperature.
  • While waiting for the oil to get hot. Take the batter and mix some more.
  • In a plate, pour a spoonful of batter and then place 3-4 tbsp of the papaya, then add one shrimp on top and pour another spoonful of batter.
    ukoy uncooked
  • Slide the Ukoy gently into the frying pan and try to anchor the batter with a spatula so it won’t spread out.
    frying ukoy in pan
  • Repeat the process until you finish all the batter and papaya. Bon Appetit.
    okoy in a saucer

For the vinegar sauce.

  • Add vinegar, red onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.

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