30 August 2014

Failsafe Sago & Potato Fritters

This is my adaptation of the Indian saboodana wada recipe from Mr Todiwala's Bombay cookbook. These are sago and potato fritters, with peanuts, cumin seeds, coriander leaves, lime, and chilli. Naturally those ingredients are out on a failsafe diet, so I created this adaptation.

The fritters have a great texture, sort of glutinous and chewy, with a crispy shell. Very moreish!

Failsafe Sago & Potato Fritters (saboodana wada)

Fritters on a platter with sauce
Fritters with pear ketchup


200g preservative-free sago pearls* (can be large or small)
2 large potatoes
3 Tbspn raw cashews
1 tspn poppy seeds
¼ tspn citric acid (or to taste)
salt, to taste
1 Tbspn spring onion tops or parsley, chopped finely
rice flour
failsafe oil (eg canola) for deep frying


1) Rinse the sago, put in a bowl, and add enough water to cover the sago. Leave for at least several hours (if using small sago) or overnight. I used small sago, and left it overnight, and that worked well.

Sago after soaking overnight
If there's any water left over after soaking the sago, drain it well in a sieve. Let sit in the sieve for 15-20 minutes to get rid of any excess moisture.

2) Peel, boil, and mash the potatoes.

3) Slightly dry-roast the cashews in a small pan, stirring constantly. Then chop them finely (but not too finely). You can use a small food mill or processor for this step, but don't let the cashews become a paste.

Potato and sago mixture
Mashed potato mixed with the sago
4) Mix all ingredients except the rice flour in a bowl. If the mixture is too wet, add a little rice flour.

I actually did this in two stages. I mixed the sago, potato, cashews and salt together first. Then I set aside some of this mixture for myself, and added some poppy seeds, citric acid, and spring onions. I made the remainder of the mixture as per the original recipe (adding 1 tspn cumin seeds, 2 diced green chillies and 1 tspn lime juice), for the rest of my family who aren't eating failsafe.

5) Dust your hands with rice flour, and shape the mixture into small patties, a bit smaller than the palm of your hand. Keep dusting your hands with the rice flour as you go. Place the patties on baking paper on plates, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Uncooked fritters
Fritters ready for the fridge
6) Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to 180ºC (either use a thermometer, or test a cube of dry bread in the oil - when it browns in 30 seconds, that's 180ºC). Put a colander over a plate, to drain the patties in (they may stick to kitchen paper).

7) Fry a couple of patties at a time, until golden brown. Turn to get even cooking. Drain in the colander.

Fried fritters

They are really good served warm, with pear ketchup, or any other favourite failsafe relish or dip.

* Sago from the supermarket generally has preservative in it, which is driven off by cooking — but in this recipe, the sago is soaked but not boiled, so if you're sensitive to preservatives, look for preservative-free sago or tapioca pearls. Sources include Asian grocers, Natures Works shops and Bobs Red Mill (tapioca pearls).

29 August 2014

Failsafe Sautéed Chokos

I'm trying the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's "failsafe" elimination diet again (it seems to help me with brain fog and some other CFS symptoms, and I'm desperate enough), sigh. It is a seriously un-fun thing to do, especially for a tea drinker who loves cooking with a lot of herbs, spices, and chilli.

The list of allowed vegies during the elimination diet phase is very limited, and includes some of the few vegies that I'm not keen on (chokos and Brussels sprouts). More sighs.

Last night I read up in Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion about chokos:

"Every culture treats the choko differently but no one claims it has a very distinctive flavour. ... The choko's indeterminate character (or blandness, if one is being unkind) explains why it is often combined with spicy flavours." 

Oh, I'm being unkind. Bland, and slimy. Take that, chokos.

I opted for the plainest recipe she offers, seeing as spicy flavours are out. This was Choko sautéed western-style. I made a few ingredient changes, and it turned out quite well, I must say. A good crisp texture, with a lovely buttery and lemony taste. Even Hubby, who doesn't like chokos either, said it was the best choko he'd ever had (from a lifetime of disappointments).

Failsafe Sautéed Chokos

Failsafe Sautéed Chokos

Serves 2 as a side dish
115 cal per serve

  • 1 medium choko
  • 30 g butter
  • citric acid
  • salt

  1. Peel and slice the choko. 
  2. Heat in fry pan with the butter, and sauté until the choko is lightly brown, and just tender. This will probably take about 4-5 minutes. You don't want it to go completely soft. 
  3. Lightly sprinkle over citric acid (to taste) for a lemony hit, and salt to taste. Serve hot.
  4. Optional: sprinkle with a little parsley at the end.