Ukoy Recipe

Ukoy recipe using papaya and squash is not only healthy but a tasty appetizer or main dish. Crispy shrimp and vegetable fritters that gets better dipped in spicy, garlicky, vinegar.

fritters in a plate

Also called “okoy” is a snack sold by street hawkers in the Philippines every afternoon. We have a neighbor in our hometown who makes ukoy every afternoon and I wouldn’t pass on the chance to chow down on one. It’s always a trip down memory lane when I make shrimp fritters.

Good on its own or have it with rice but make sure to serve it while warm and dip it in vinegar with lots of chilis, onions and garlic. This delicious ukoy recipe will not disappoint, try it and enjoy this crispy goodness!

ingredients for fritters on top of table

What is ukoy?

It is the shrimp fritters of the Filipinos. Small shrimps with the head and shells still intact then mixed in a batter and fried until golden and crispy. It’s a versatile street food that that can be an afternoon snack, appetizer or pair it with steamed rice and voila! dinner!

fritters frying in pan

How to make ukoy

Made with shrimps, papaya, and calabasa (squash) then mixed with simple batter to bind the ingredients. This street food is always paired with a vinegar dipping sauce that helps balance out the oiliness from frying. The common problem when cooking ukoy at home is it always separates when lowered into the hot oil. When frying, it’s important not to fidget with it, it takes patience to get it perfectly crispy and golden brown.

fritters in a plate on top of table

Different variations

If you search it in the internet, other recipes are using a variety of other ingredients, including replacing the shrimp with small fish or calamari. Papaya and calabasa can be substituted with sweet potatoes, mung bean sprouts. The 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 squash or sweet potato, with or without the shrimp.

fritters dipped in vinegar

Tips for an amiable experience

  • 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 and squash are: bean sprouts, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes.
  • You can use small shrimps but I used big ones and placed one on each ukoy.
fritters in a plate with dipping sauce at the side

The secret ingredient is always LOVE

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Ukoy Recipe

Ukoy recipe using papaya and squash is not only healthy but a tasty appetizer or main dish. Crispy shrimp and vegetable fritters that gets better dipped in spicy, garlicky, vinegar.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Filipino
Keyword: shrimp fritters, ukoy, ukoy recipe
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Mia


  • 3 cups green papaya grated
  • 2 cups calabasa (squash) grated
  • 10 large shrimps (unshelled, with head) or 1 ½ cup small shrimps
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 4-5 cups cooking oil

For batter

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 3 tsp achuete powder for coloring

Vinegar dipping sauce

  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 pcs. bird's eye chili
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together grated green papaya and grated squash. Set aside.
    3 cups green papaya, 2 cups calabasa (squash)
  • In a different mixing bowl. Mix together cornstarch, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. 
  • Add water gradually while whisking until smooth and no traces of flour left. Tip in achuete powder and mix until fully incorporated.
    batter annitto
  • Heat cooking oil using a deep frying pan over medium high heat.
  • In a small plate or saucer, pour a 2-3 tbsp of batter and then place 1 cup of grated papaya and calabasa.
    ukoy uncooked
  • Place 2 -3 pieces of onion slices then add 1 large shrimp or 5-6 small shrimps on top. Lastly, pour another 2 – 3 tbsp of batter on top.
    1 medium onion, 10 large shrimps (unshelled, with head)
  • When oil is hot enough, 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
  • Cook each side for 4 minutes or until golden and crispy. Repeat the process until you finish all the batter and papaya. Serve and enjoy. Bon Appetit!
    okoy in a saucer

For the vinegar sauce.

  • Add vinegar, red onions, garlic, chilis, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
    4-5 cups cooking oil




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