Okoy (or Filipino version of shrimp fritters) is a native Filipino street food made of shrimp and vegetables coated with batter and deep fried. Often served with vinegar and as a snack or appetizer. But some Filipinos even eat this with rice. So you see, we eat almost everything with rice :)
As a child, and my grandparent's sous chef, I am always in the kitchen peeling and chopping and peeling and chopping. I didn't like it because I cannot go out and play. I can clearly remember that I hated peeling squash for the skin is thick and the vegetable big. With my small hands then, that was a burden.
I didn't know that there will come a time wherein I will seek the help and knowledge of my mom to help me cook this family's favorite because I have missed it so much... aside from the fact that and I need it for this month's entry *wink*. And I didn't know that making this dish will bring me back to my childhood days.
Oftentimes during our family gatherings, such as reunions, Christmases, birthday's etc, Okoy is a mainstay. It should be there because if not, family members will be disappointed. Yes they always look for okoy which I don't like for cooking it means that I will have to see Mr. Squash again and peel and chop! That was the 7 year old me talking *wink*
When our grandmother died (God bless her soul), nobody in the family wants to cook this dish because according to them, it is toxic...tiring. And because of the absence of okoy during family gatherings, this dish was terribly missed!
Then came the day that I will do it. The third generation to cook a family tradition and a well loved dish. I was excited and at the same time worried. Will I be able to give justice to this? Will my Owa (the name we call our grandma) be proud of me when I cook this? Well, we will see...
The mere aroma of the prepared ingredients combined brought me back to the days of hassle and bustle in the kitchen because the family members are arriving soon and food must be prepared. I remember my grandma infront of the stove, cooking and preparing her famous okoy and me helping. Not to mention requesting her to make me a special okoy with more shrimps in them and eat it even before it reaches the table. This feelings intensified when I begun frying the okoy. I may sound nostalgic and emotional, but it felt as if my grandparents are still alive and I am just cooking my heart out preparing for them this time. I almost cried...how I miss them!
Anyway, (before I wet my laptop with tears) here's how we do okoy.
For the batter
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (or more if you want it a bit salty)
1 medium egg
1 cup water
1 1/4 tsp annato seed oil - annato seed powder may also be used
Ratio and proportion of the following vegetables depends on how much of each type you want to put in your okoy. Mine was this:
1/2 cup squash - peeled and cut into strips
1 cup bean sprouts with 2 stalks of chopped Chinese parsley (kinchay)
1 medium white onion, cut lengthwise
1/2 cup tofu, cut into wider strips than squash
small shrimps, skin on but heads removed
oil for frying
Batter: mix all ingredients and set aside.
Heat pan with enough oil, about 1/2 an inch from the bottom of the pan.
In a small plate, pour a small about of batter and layer with bean spouts, squash, onions, tofu and shrimps. Pour in additional batter to coat the top.
Slide batter with vegetables unto the heated oil and fry until sides are crispy.
Drain and serve immediately with vinegar.
First bite and wow! I did it! This is how it tastes like! Owa would have been proud, I know she is...
I immediately called my mom and told her the good news, she was delighted! At the same time, when my aunt knew that I was able to recreate the family recipe, she was relieved and happy that she said, "glad to know someone will cook this for us from here on!"
I am now officially a graduate of the peeling and chopping class, I am now the cook!
November is #squashlove! Please join in on the #squashlove fun by linking up any squash recipe from the month of November 2011. Don't forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #squashlove event. The twitter hashtag is #squashlove :)
Cohosted by:| Anuradha : @bakerstreet29 | Salomé : @blocderecetas | Valerie : @valouth | Terra : @cafeterrablog | Lora : @cakeduchess | Amy | Shulie : @foodwanderings | Richa : @betit19 | Gorgie : @georgiecakes| Mike : @mikesbaking | Junia : @juniakk | Dudut : @mytwistedrecipes | T.R : @TRCrumbley | Elizabeth : @mango_queen | Reem : @simplyreem | Malou : @malou_nievera| Serena : @tspcurry | Annapet : @thedailypalette | Regan : @profpalate | EA : @thespicyrd | Rika : @veganmiam
Sharing this adventure to my foddie friends at: Food Friday, Foodie Friday, and Foodtrip Friday