ukoy, patties made from finely grated camote (sweet potato), papaya, and onions, topped with shrimp, and fried with a tempura-like mix of flour, cornstarch, and water. one of my favourite filipino dishes, mainly for the texture--you bite into the crispy, caramelized shell, and inside the veggies are meltingly soft and sweet.


That looks fantastic! I guess it's like sweet-potato hash browns? I never thought of shrimp and sweet potato together. I am very intrigued!

Your photos are amazing. Great presentation too. Do you use a digital camera or the regular ones?

How dare you post all this delicious food and tempt me so, Santos? :-)

Is the shrimp dish made me green papaya or ripe papaya?

hey chunkygirl--welcome! thanks for coming by. they really are like hash browns or potato pancakes, aren't they? commonly you'll find these done with a much larger grate or even matchstick or julienned veges, but we tend to use the finest grater possible that will still keep the vegetables intact (a saladacco works really well). the shrimp just adds a bit of a different texture and a mild flavour counterpoint. and it looks pretty :-) but, i sometimes don't add it, and go for a completely veggie patty (actually, they'd be vegan because i don't use eggs) and will add other veges like carrots and even beets.

hey dennis--thanks for the lovely compliment. i use a rather inexpensive digital camera, a nikon coolpix 2500, which is generally laughed at, but it does the job. i try to take all my photos in morning light or lately under fluorescent light/no flash. seems to work really well. i use photoshop a bit, but mostly to crop the photos because i don't have a macro lens, and keep the view focused on the food, not the pile of books i forgot to move :-)
one of the most difficult things for me to photograph is fried food, i'm still working on it, but this turned out exceptionally well, didn't it? a fluke.

hey jonny--and how dare you make greek coffee and flaunt not only your cool briki but your seriously cool coffee cup and saucer (and is that a francis! francis! espresso machine lurking in the back?!)
the papaya is ripe, but just, so it's still quite firm. i've used green papaya and it works just as well, the ukoy just isn't as sweet, which is fine. the veggies are then tossed in the flour/water mix, then formed into patties. while frying one side, press the shrimp into the patty, and push the stray pieces back in, flip over. oh yeah, just like potato pancakes, squeeze out any excess moisture, although there shouldn't be much with sweet potatoes.

hi santos. impress me when u said u r just using a normal cam. well, seem like u hv a good judgement on food beauty. heee... other beauties as well? :P

btw, can I hv the recipe to make this one? I am very crazy into deep frying stuff like the tempura. this one definitely worth a try. well, i would prefer a vegetarian version as I'm a vegetarian. Thanks.

Hey Santos. Looks like a winner (as all your nosh does...). It'es extremely similar to the Banh Tom Ho Tay we find over here. I mentioned them a while back, but I'd love to sample yours.


oh, I use that crappy camera, too! (It does a job enough for its price, though, I guess)

I like sweet potato tempura, but never had it with shrimp (or papaya). Looks yummy!

Hi Santos,

Wonderful! This sounds quite yummy! I can just imagine the crunchiness of the "shell" and the tender veggies inside. Ahhhhhh......

hey noodlepie--thanks for the gracious compliments!
yup, looks like the same thing, just about. in the philippines, ukoy is served with vinegar and garlic, not chilies, but think that would be the only real difference.

hey chika--yay! someone else with the crappy camera that takes great photos.

dennis, you should see chika's foodblog. she takes gorgeous photos.

hi reid

it's so good when it's just hot from the frying pan--crunchy, with little crispy bits of sweet onion, sweet potato, and steaming hot inside. can't get better than that!

I literally GASPED when I saw this photo. My stomach started gurgling suggestively. And I may have even drooled a little ... but I'll never tell.

I am a huge fan of food and of food photos, as anyone who visits my site knows. I take my photos with a regular point-and-shoot (Canon S410) and get what I have been told are quite good results.

So now I know where I'm coming when I want to check out someone else's gurglable, droolable edibles.


hey fishfish--sorry i missed you there. unfortunately, there is no real recipe i can give you, i just sort of guess. here are the ingredients though:
sweet potato
papaya, green or ripe but very firm
shred/slice these as finely as you can into long threads, without them turning to mush. add a little salt, let sit, and squeeze out any excess water.
make a batter with 3 parts flour/1 part cornstarch, and cold water; you want it to be as thick as pancake batter or a little thinner. mix with shredded veggies.
heat up vegetable/canola/corn oil in a shallow frying pan. take a handful of the veggies out, shaking out extra batter and form a patty, pressing it down with a spatula or turner. as you fry it on a medium-high heat, push the sides in to keep it in shape. check to see if the bottom is golden, then press a couple shrimp into the top, and turn. press down a little as you cook it until crispy.

hey jodi--thanks for dropping by and for the lovely, lovely compliments, although they should really go to the food being so luscious anyway. i want to get more vegetarian recipes up for everyone. dang, i need to start cooking more veggies!

Hi santos! gorgeous okoy! made me almost weep, remembering my Lola's version (she was fr Bataan, we pronounced it with short "o"). I forgot how to make it until I saw it in Corinne Trang's ckbk (Essentials of Asian Cuisine). Salamat. Will try yours.