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Squash Okoy (Filipino Kalabasa Fritters)

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Squash okoy or Filipino kalabasa fritters — perfect if you’re looking for something other than pumpkin pie or butternut squash soup to make this fall. Made of kalabasa or kabocha squash, it’s a truly unique and creative way to make use of this season’s favourite ingredient.

(For other unique pumpkin and squash recipes, check out this delicious recipe collection. It has everything from breakfast to dinner to dessert!).

Squash Fritters

Hey you guys. I tried to ignore it for as long as I can but there’s no denying it anymore — fall is here.

While some afternoons are still nice and warm, I already feel the crisp fall air in the mornings.

This week actually marks the official start of autumn so what the heck, let’s just embrace it and forget our silliness that summer will last forever (or was that just me?).

I didn’t want to go the usual pumpkin and butternut squash route though. There’s already a gazillion pumpkin-flavoured things out there for us to enjoy.

Instead, I’m sharing a beloved Filipino squash recipe — my uncle’s recipe for squash fritters (also called squash okoy or kalabasa fritters). It’s not out of this world I know but this uses kabocha squash and I bet that’s something you haven’t tried before.

And the local name for this dish is karamba. Now who can resist a dish with a name that makes you want to dance?

What is kalabasa or kabocha squash?

Squash Fritters

Kabocha squash is squat and sweet and the kind of squash most common in the Philippines.

It’s called kalabasa locally (pronounced exactly as it’s spelled). Some people also call it a Japanese pumpkin, but here in North America it’s known as kabocha. Potato, po-tah-to.

Try it, it’s great. Read more about it here.

How to make squash okoy

Squash Fritters

Making squash okoy is quick and easy (for the detailed recipe, scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find a printable recipe card).

1. PREPARE FLOUR MIXTURE. In a medium bowl, stir flour, cornstarch, egg, water, fish sauce, minced garlic, salt and pepper until smooth.

Squash Recipe Pinoy

2. ADD VEGETABLES. Add kabocha squash, carrots and green onions and stir until well combined.

3. FRY UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN. Put about a cup of oil in a large skillet and once it’s hot enough, scoop about 1/4 cup squash batter into the oil and fry until the bottom turns a light golden brown. Flip and fry until the other side is golden brown too.

Squash Recipe Pinoy

4. ENJOY! Put the fried fritters on a tray lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve immediately.

The best way to eat kalabasa fritters

Squash Fritters

So how do you eat these kabocha squash fritters anyway?

Technically this is a snack (or merienda). But because Filipinos are rice-obsessed, many eat it with rice or as a side dish.

What’s universal is Filipinos dip it in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, red chili, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. There’s really no recipe for the dipping sauce as everything is done to taste.

Because I’m lazy though, I just mix vinegar, soy sauce and sriracha and call it a day. The sweet, salty, crunchy karamba pairs extremely well with the sour, salty and chili sauce.

So go ahead. Go kabocha crazy. And let’s bid adieu to summer together. Aye caramba!

Other delicious Filipino recipes

Filipino cuisine is delicious and unlike no other. Here are other unique recipes you can try:

Squash Fritters

Squash Okoy (Filipino Kalabasa Fritters)

Author: Jolina
Squash okoy or Filipino kalabasa fritters — perfect if you’re looking for something other than pumpkin pie or butternut squash soup to make this fall.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 6 fritters
Calories 71 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 pc large egg
  • cup cold water
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce see notes
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup julienned kabocha squash
  • ¼ cup julienned carrots
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • Oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, stir 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 egg, 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper until smooth.
    Squash Recipe Pinoy
  • Add 1 cup kabocha squash, 1/4 cup carrots and 1/4 cup green onions and stir until well combined.
    Squash Recipe Pinoy
  • Put about a cup of oil in a large skillet and once it's hot enough, scoop about a heaping 1/4 cup squash batter into the oil, flatten slightly and fry on medium heat until the bottom turns a light golden brown. Flip and fry until the other side is golden brown too.
    Squash Recipe Pinoy
  • Put the fried fritters on a tray lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  1. This recipe yields 5-6 fritters, depending on how big you make them.
  2. You can find fish sauce in Asian stores. Most people don't like it because it smells fishy (thus the name!) but it's really one of the key ingredients in Asian cooking (you know that flavour you just can't put your finger on? Most likely fish sauce!). You can opt to skip it though - just up the salt.
  3. If your skillet is large enough, you can fry 2 fritters at a time. Not more than 2 though.
  4. The fritters tend to get soggy the longer they sit so best to serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 242mgPotassium: 116mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1197IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information are estimates only.

Keyword Easy, Fall, Family Recipe, Small-Batch
Tried this recipe?Tag @iamtheunlikelybaker I'd love to see your creations!

Happy frying!

Did you make this pinoy squash recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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Recipe Rating




Monica

Sunday 19th of July 2020

My husband loved this. We have so many kabocha squash from our garden and I had to look for a recipe to make with it and found this. Can you freeze the batter? And fry later? I did the vinegar, soy sauce, and siracha sauce mixture and that was a great pair for the fritter.

Jolina

Monday 20th of July 2020

Hi Monica! Glad you guys like them. I haven't tried freezing the batter so not sure. It might be a better option to freeze the fritters themselves. Then just pop them quickly in the oven to make them crispy again. If you freeze the batter, I'm afraid the vegetables would ice and your batter would become watery.

Bea

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Tried this and loved it! Thanks for sharing!

Jolina

Wednesday 13th of May 2020

Glad you liked them Bea!

Marg

Friday 25th of May 2018

This recipe looks super yummy and I will try it tonight. However, I am getting away from fried food. Is there a way I can cook this in the oven and still make it crispy? Thank you for sharing recipe.

Jolina

Saturday 26th of May 2018

Hi Marg. Totally get avoiding fried food. As an alternative we usually bake on a rack (i.e. put a rack on a baking sheet to get the food crispy on all sides) unfortunately we've never tried it on these fritters so I'm not sure if it will cook through. Worth a shot though. Maybe you can start with a small batch and see? Would love to know how it goes!

Dan

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

I have a friend from Japan who recently introduced me to these. Thanks for the recipe.

Jolina

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

Nice! I think Kabocha is the same kind of squash they use as tempura :)

Jolina

Monday 26th of September 2016

Thanks Ana! Red's the cook and I'm the baker but she is also my prep assistant a lot of times haha. Good thing she enjoys being in the kitchen too (and hey, she gets first dibs on the goodies so no complaints eh?)