The ukoy is the most popular item on our menu. Rice flour gives the added crunch to these shrimp and vegetable fritters. As with many fried foods, some achara goes well here.
- ½ banana leaf, thawed if frozen
- ¾ cup rice flour
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup julienned Napa cabbage
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1 cup snowpeas
- 1 cup julienned leeks (white parts only)
- 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 cup chopped peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Canola oil, for frying
- Rice vinegar, with sliced garlic and chopped chiles to taste, for serving
1. Using a damp towel, wipe the banana leaf clean on both sides. Cut out 4-by-4-inch squares from the banana leaf. Set aside on a baking sheet. Brush one side lightly with oil.
2. To make the batter, sift the rice flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat the egg with ¾ cup water, then stir this into the dry ingredients, to form a thick but smooth batter. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Fill a deep saucepan or wok with 3 inches canola oil and warm over medium heat until the temperature is between 350°F and 365°F.
4. While the oil is heating, prepare the filling: Combine the Napa cabbage, carrots, snowpeas, leeks, bean sprouts, shrimp, fish sauce, and black pepper in a large bowl. Stir the batter and pour just enought into the filling to coat the ingredients. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons over the mixture and toss to firm it up if necessary (it should not be too wet).
5. Put about 1/3 cup of the filling on the oiled side of each banana leaf square. Place a square on a spider and lower it into the oil. Fry until the fritter is set (about 1 minute), lift from the oil, and remove the banana leaf. Continue frying for another minute until the fritter is lightly browned. Flip and brown the other side until crisp, 1½ to 2 minutes. Life out of the oil with the pider and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat until all the filling is fried. Serve hot with the vinegar dipping sauce.
Serving size is 1 fritter.