Makes 20 to 25 fritters I was very fortunate to have both of my grandma’s parents in my life until I was in college. When my great-grandma passed, she and my great-grandpa had been married for sixty-nine years. He passed soon after her. At the time, they had twenty-six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren, with more on the way. I was the oldest great-grandchild.
This is my variation of my great-grandma Aguillon’s ukoy recipe, essentially a Filipino shrimp fritter, which was one of her specialties. The Lipton onion soup mix was my great-grandma’s secret ingredient because it adds so much flavor.
The sweet-sour vinegar dipping sauce is really delicious with the combination of potato, carrot, and shrimp in the fritter. Filipino cane vinegar is more traditional, but rice vinegar can easily be substituted if you can’t find it.
- 3 tablespoons Filipino cane vinegar or rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 garlic clove, minced into a paste
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- 1¼ cups cornstarch
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 1 (1-ounce) packet Lipton onion soup mix
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces shrimp (25/30 count), peeled and deveined, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1½ cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 cup grated peeled carrot (about 1 large carrot)
- 1 cup grated peeled sweet potato (about ½ small sweet potato)
- Canola oil, for frying
- Kosher salt
How To Make (Directions)
- Prepare the dipping sauce In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
- Make the fritters Place a wire rack over a baking sheet and cover it with several layers of paper towels.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, onion soup mix, and baking powder.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine ⅔ cup water with the egg and ½ teaspoon pepper and whisk until well blended. Fold in the shrimp, bean sprouts, carrot, and sweet potato. Fold in the cornstarch mixture until it is well incorporated. The mixture should be wetter than a pancake batter but not as thin as a crepe batter. If it is too thin, add a tablespoon or so more all-purpose flour. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon or so of water. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the batter until you’re ready to fry the fritters, but for no longer than 2 hours (more than that and the shrimp and vegetables will start to release water into the batter, which you don’t want).
- Pour about 2 inches of canola oil into a large saucepan or wok, set it over high heat, and heat the oil to about 350°F. To test if the oil is ready to fry, insert the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil; if the oil bubbles up, you’re ready to go.
- Working in batches, using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the hot oil. (I like to hold the measuring cup in my left hand and use my right hand to slide the batter out with a large spoon.) You want the fritter mixture to bubble vigorously, but not violently, when it hits the oil. If the oil is too hot, the fritter will burn before the inside is cooked; if it is too cool, the fritter will be greasy. Fry until the fritters are golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to the prepared baking sheet. Immediately season them with a small pinch of salt. Repeat with the remaining batter, removing any bits and pieces of batter that remain in the oil after each batch.
- Serve hot, with the dipping sauce on the side.