19 February 2010

Ukoy (Squash and Sweet Potato Fritters); Nosh Mini Review

Birthday lunch for Stephanie this weekend included Ukoy—a Filipino fritter traditionally made with shrimp. Steph is not very omnivorous, so the above is a picture of the vegan version we made her. The recipe below is based on one given to my mom by a friend of her's from the Philippines.


  • A handful of Maine shrimp, bought fresh and in their shells. [Hurry, the season must almost be over!]
  • 2 Tbs. annato seeds
  • About 3/4 lbs. of squash, grated. We used an acorn squash, but you could use butternut or red kuri, or just about any squash. See my comment about butternut squashes below.
  • 1 sweet potato, grated
  • 1/2 Cu. corn starch
  • 1/2 Cu. flour
  • Scallions, the green tops, sliced thinly
Shell the shrimp, reserving the heads and shells. Simmer the shrimp heads and shells with the annato seeds in one cup of water for a while, then drain, reserving the water. Poach the shrimp meat in the reserved water very lightly (not until cook through). Drain the shrimp, reserving the poach water. Now make the fritters by combining the grated squash, grated sweet potato, cornstarch, flour and enough of the reserved poach water (maybe 1/2 Cu.) to make a batter just barely hold together. [N.B.: These amounts are all really approximate, so you may have to play with them.]

Heat a half an inch or more of oil in a wok or some other pot suitable for frying the fritters. Make a small patty out of the mixture on a plate and press a few shrimp into the top of the patty together with some scallions. Slide the patty into the oil. You can baste the top of the fritter with some oil to cook the shrimp into the fritter before flipping it. Cook the fritters until crispy and yummy. Sprinkle with salt, of course.

You can optionally serve the fritters with a sauce made with 1 Tbs. mashed garlic, salt and 1 Cu. white vinegar. I think they are fine without the sauce, however.

Featured Farm: The Best Squash I Have Ever Eaten …

… was a waltham butternut squash from Little Ridge Farm. Seriously, it was amazing. Little Ridge will raise pigs if you pay a deposit up front. I'm considering doing this, but I'm not sure I eat enough pork to justify it. You can also place a down payment on turkey or join their CSA.

Cornucopasetic Micro Restaurant Review: Nosh

I went to Nosh for a business lunch last week. I ended up with the pork belly reuben, which is a massive overkill of a sandwich: thick slices of braised pork belly, caramelized onions standing in for the sauerkraut, cheese and russian dressing. From those ingredients it should have been a legendary sandwich to tell my grand children about, but it somehow ended up being just okay. The fries were a major disappointment, however, because they were probably really good fries but they were coated in some lime flavored "dust" that was just horrible. The chipotle mayo that went with the fries was harsh and similarly horrible. In spite of all that, there were enough interesting sounding sandwiches on the menu that I'd like to try it one more time and see if my meal was just a fluke.

Find of the Week Via The Green Hand Bookstore

While waiting to sort an order for the Portland Food Coop this week, I visited The Green Hand Bookstore—which is run by the lady that runs the Strange Maine blog—and saw the most awesome book ever: a choose-your-own-adventure version of Staying Alive!


Amanda said...

Please tell me you bought that book!! hahahahaha

Brad said...

I had no cash! I should have bought it, I know, but I'd have had to by other books to in order to use my credit card. It might still be there though. I'll check the next time I do splits for the coop.