Ukoy or Shrimp Fritters is a popular Filipino street food. There are different types of fillers for this deep fried fritter but the common ingredient is shrimp; unless you want to make it vegan and just have veggies.
Ukoy can be made using grated squash, sweet potatoes, yucca, green papaya, carrots or just bean sprouts, my personal favorite.
Ukoy as I mentioned is a popular street food which can be eaten on the run, but it can be served as a side dish or as I do the main course with rice and a vinegar dipping sauce.
I’ve been trying to make Ukoy the way my Lola, grandma, used to make. Hers always had the perfect texture and the right crunch. She made it with fresh tofu, bean sprouts, and medium sized shrimp. Talk about yummy!
After many fails, I mean trials, I finally figured out where I’ve been going wrong. It was my batter! For reasons I can’t explain I’ve been using egg in my batter, possibly because egg is something that I put in all my batters. But that batter is always thicker and heavier. And the end result was more like a fluffy pancake, not crunchy at all.
Well the simplest solution was no egg batter! Don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! Once I omitted the egg my Ukoy turned out perfect. Literally just like Lola’s Ukoy was!
I’m a big fan of those hot soft pretzels that they sell at malls. I have trouble walking by these kiosks that sell those deliciously salty twisted pieces of baked dough without stopping for a pretzel or two. I’m sure you know how expensive they can get, specially after you add the dipping sauce and drink! Then it gets really costly if you have to buy pretzels for the family.
Well I’ve started making them at home! I know you think it hard, messy, and time consuming. What with letting the rising, blanching, rolling, and shaping of the dough it does sound pretty daunting. But what if you can whip up a batch in about an hour?
Yup this recipe makes a batch of 8 pretzels (more or less depending on the size you make) in about an hour from start to finish. The best part it they cost pennies to make and taste just like the ones at the mall! (At least that’s what my grandkids say, and they love mall pretzels!)
Combine first 3 ingredients in mixer bowl and mix for about a minute. It’s ok with there are clusters of yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl stir together 3 cups flour and salt.
Add flour mixture to the water yeast mix.
Knead for 2 minutes. If dough is too sticky add remaining 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Add cheese, parsley, and garlic powder. Combine well.
Let rest 15 minutes
Preheat oven to 425degrees
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for about a minute.
Form into a ball.
Using a sharp knife cut ball in half.
Take first half and cut in half again so you have 2 smaller sections
Cut each section in half to make 4 sections
Repeat with second half. You should end up with 8 sections of dough.
Roll each section into a 25” rope. Make rope thickness as even as possible.
Take end of rope and hold away from you, twist together about 3” from each end. You should have a circle on the bottom part of rope that is closer to you. Separate the ends and bring towards you, gently pinch either end into the circle part close to you.
Form all sections into pretzel shapes.
Whisk egg and water together in a shallow bowl.
Dip both sides of each pretzel into egg wash.
Arrange pretzels onto a baking sheets covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Now that Halloween is behind us it’s time to think about the holidays ahead. I always feel that Halloween kicks off the holiday season, it does it my house. Once trick or treating is done and the Halloween decor has been put away I turn my attention to planning our Thanksgiving dinner and getting ready for Christmas. It’s a very busy time for me!
I think the weeks leading up to the holidays are busy for everyone, we need to shop, cook, bake, clean, decorate, and more along with all the daily work that we do. One this is certain holiday planning or not we still have to eat. Cooking and planning daily meals can be challenging during this season. I know many times we end up grabbing fast food on the way home or ordering in pizza just to have something to eat for dinner, but I really hate doing this. I get tired of eating out and I really do like my home cooking! So to make my life a bit easier I like to stock my freezer with pre-made dishes that we can pop in the oven on the days I don’t have time to cook.
One of the easiest things to work with are meatballs. I know, you can buy pre-made frozen meatballs at the grocery store, but my family hates them! I don’t like the spongy consistency, I find them very unappetizing. They don’t taste too good either. So I spend about 30 minutes one day and make my own meatballs which I freeze in ziplock freezer bags. They just need re-heating when I need them. Meatballs are great because they are very versatile; you can turn them into different dishes by adding just a few ingredients. I like to make meatball subs, Swedish meatballs, teriyaki meatballs, meatball soup, and of course spaghetti and meatballs. My grandkids love them with mac n’ cheese!
1 1/2 pound ground beef – don’t use the one that’s too lean, you need a bit of fat to hold it together and also give it a good flavor. I use ground sirloin or sometimes ground chuck which is a bit fattier.
1 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbls. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese – use the fresh cheese not the one in the green cardboard shaker
1. Place meat and spices in a mixing bowl.
2. Mix it all together using your hands. Make sure the spices are distributed through out the meat, but don’t over mix as it will get spongy.
3. Mix in cheese and bread crumbs.
4. Shape into ball. You can make any size ball you want, but don’t make them too big, they won’t cook in the middle. Try to make balls the same size so they cook evenly.
5. Place balls on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from from oven and cool before place in ziplock freezer bags to freeze.
One of my favorite Chinese seafood dishes is Salted Pepper Shrimp, we used to order it every time we dined at a Chinese restaurant. Since I found a recipe for it we can enjoy it at home. I modified it to fit our tastes and I think made it a bit simpler to make. Served over steamed white rice it’s yummy!
1 lb. Medium to Large shrimp – peeled and deveined
1 tbls. sea salt
1/2 cup corn starch
2 tbls. ground white pepper
2 tbls. ground black pepper
1 tbls. garlic powder
3 tbls. chopped green onions
2 tbls. minced garlic
1/4 + cup peanut oil
Place shrimp in a small bowl and cover with warm water
Add sea salt and let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour
In a shallow bowl mix together corn starch, 1 tbls. each of white and black peppers, and garlic powder
Drain shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel
Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan on medium heat until hot
Coat each shrimp in cornstarch mixture and place in wok
Cook until shrimp turns pink – turn halfway for even cooking – you may need to add more peanut oil if it gets too dry
Place cooked shrimp on paper towel to drain – Do not turn stove off
If pan is dry add a tbls. more peanut oil – add mince garlic and stir until it starts turning golden
Add fried shrimp back into pan
Add chopped green onions and stir til green onions turn bright green and starts to soften
Roasted Cashews are one of my husband’s favorite snacks, specially when he’s on his “keto diet”. Although cashews have some carbs they are also high in fat, so when consumed moderately they can be part of a keto diet as long as you count their carb content as part of your carb consumption for the day.
I’m not really an expert on all things keto so I’ll leave that up to you. But I digress. Recently I purchased a tub of roasted cashews from Costco, the brand we usually buy, and when my husband snacked on it he insisted that the cashews were not roasted nor were they salted. I can’t imagine what happened but after tasting them myself I had to agree. Perhaps this was part of a weird batch, who knows! But I do know that unless I did something with them we’d end up tossing the container away and that’s a waste! So I decided to roast and flavor them myself. I can’t be that hard. Anyway I tossed some in my cast iron skillet and sprinkled a bit of this and a bit of that over them and lo and behold they came out delicious!
Everyone in the family loved my latest creation, this one I’m calling Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews! I’ve had to make it several more times since then, it disappears that fast! I’m also thinking of using different seasonings. I’ll let you know how that goes!
But in the mean time here’s my recipe for Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews. A quick tip, when roasting cashews or any type of nut be sure you keep stirring the pan because they tend to burn quickly and you do not want burnt cashews!
Anyway make up a batch or two of these Chipotle Flavored Roasted Cashews and see how quickly they disappear! You can serve them hot from the pan, that’s really delish! Left overs can be stored in airtight containers in a cool dry place. But I doubt you’ll be storing them for long. Yes they’re that good!
By the way you can double or triple this recipe. I just prefer to make it in small batches because we really love them warm and in Hawaii the humidity makes it hard to keep them crunchy.