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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Gluten Free Fried Golden Tapioca (Sabudana) Patties

Sago is a starch extracted from the spongy center, or pith, of various tropical palm stems, especially those of Metroxylon sagu.  It is a major staple for the lowland peoples of New Guinea and Moluccas , where it is called saksakrabia and sagu. The largest supply of sago comes from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia. Large quantities of sago are sent to Europe, and  North America for cooking purposes.  It is traditionally cooked and eaten in various forms, such as rolled into balls, mixed with boiling water to form a glue-like paste papeda   or as a pancake. Sago is oftenproduced commercially in the form of "pearls" (small rounded starch aggregates, partly gelatinized  by heating). Sago pearls can be boiled with water or milk and sugar to make a sweet sago pudding. Sago pearls are similar in appearance to the pearled starches of other origin, e.g.Cassave   starch (tapioca) and potato starch, and they may be used interchangeably in some dishes.
The name sago is also sometimes used for starch extracted from other sources, especially the sago cycad, Cycas revoluta. The sago cycad is also commonly known (confusingly) as the sago palm although this is a misnomer as cycads are not palms. Extracting edible starch from the sago cycad requires special care due to the poisonous nature of cycads  Cycad sago is used for many of the same purposes as palm sago.
The fruit of palm trees from which the sago is produced is not allowed to ripen fully. The full ripening completes the life cycle of the tree and exhausts the starch reserves in the trunk to produce the seeds. It leaves a hollow shell and causes the tree to die. The palms are cut down when they are about 15 years old, just before or shortly after the inflorescence appears. The stems, which grow 10 to 15 meters high, are split out. The starch-containing pith is taken from the stems and ground to powder. The powder is kneaded in water over a cloth or sieve to release the starch. The water with the starch passes into a trough where the starch settles. After a few washings, the starch is ready to be used in cooking. A single palm yields about 360 kilograms (800 lb) of dry starch.  In Brazil, sago is extracted from cassava root, in what is known in English as tapioca. It is usually mixed with sugar and red wine and then served as a pudding dessert called sagu de vinho   (wine sago), popular in the southern state of Rio Grande do su. When soaked and cooked, both become much larger, translucent, soft and spongy. Both are widely used in Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan cuisine in a variety of dishes and around the world, usually in puddings. In India, it is used in a variety of dishes such as desserts boiled with sweetened milk on occasion of religious fasts. In India, "Tapioca Sago" is considered an acceptable form of nutrition during periods of fastsfor religious purposes or for infants or ill persons. In the UK, both sago and tapioca have long been used in sweet milk puddings. In New Zealand, sago is boiled with water and lemon juice and sweetened with golden syrup to make lemon sago pudding. In India, Tapioca Sago is used mainly to make the food items like "Kheer","Khichadi", "Vada" etc. 

  • 2 cups of Sago pearls (Sabudana)
  • 1/2 cup of Roasted unsalted cashews
  • 3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh Cilantro
  • 6 spring onions with greens finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1" ginger root peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 1  fresh Serrano or  Jalapeno peppers
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime
  • 1 and half teaspoon of salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of roasted crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • Cilantro mint green chutney and hot sauce to serve the patties with.


  • Roast the Tapioca (sabudana) in a wok on medium low heat for about 6-8 min until crunchy and all the moisture is gone. Make sure the color does not change to brown.
  • Let these cool, while cooling, make the following prep.
  • Grind the cashews in food processor to coarse powder, empty the content in deep bowl and set aside.
  • Now once the roasted  Tapioca (sabudana) are cool, you can grind them in same bowl of food processor to somewhat  fine powder.
  • Empty this powder in same bowl with cashews powder. 
  • Now in the same food processor container, place the chopped potato cubes and  grind to fine paste. 
  • No need to add water as the potatoes have water in them and it will become like loose paste.

  • Now in the same bowl with potatoes paste in it add, Serrano or Jalapeno chili pepper, garlic, ginger and cilantro and chop in the food processor so the cilantro is of chopped texture and not a total paste
  • Empty the content in the same bowl as that of with cashew and Tapioca  (sabudana) powder. 
  • Add chopped green onions to the mix.
  • Mix well.
  • Add salt and lime juice and all the dry spices.
  • Add yogurt and mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of water, mix well and set aside for 30 min.
  • After 30 min check the texture the tapioca should be soft and mixture should be like a dough/batter so you can make the balls. 
  • If tapioca is still crunchy add 1/2 cup of water and set aside again. 
  • Then finally taste the salt and all the spices in batter and add more to your taste if needed.
  • Now take the Panko Bread crumbs in a flat dish, make the golf size balls out of batter and flatten them like patties.
  • Roll the patties in the panko and press. Make all the patties first the place them on parchment paper.
  • This recipe will yield about 34 patties depending on size.
  • Heat vegetable oil in electric fryer at 350 F temp,  or on stove at medium low heat so the temp stays about 350 F.
  • Carefully drop the patties in heated oil and deep fry it for until golden brown turning them over in between. Do not overcrowd the patties in heated oil. Place the fried patties on layers of newspapers topped with final layer of paper towel to let the extra oil drain.
  • Serve hot with desired sauces.

Enjoy !! 


You can make the patties and freeze the an fry them when ready to serve.  You you can fry the patties and freeze them and heat them in toaster over and serve again.

If you don't want to fry them, you can spray them with oil spray on both side and air fry them in air fryer in following manner.

  • Preheat the air fryer at 400 degrees.
  • Line the try with parchment paper, spray with cooking oil.
  • Place the flattened ball on the parchment paper lined tray.
  • Spray the top of balls with cooking oil.
  • Air fry for 10 min on one side then carefully flip to other side and air fry for 10 additional minutes.
  • I have Cuisinart air fryer, it is rectangular with rectangular baking grid tray and is  great for this. 
Information of Sago source:
Recipe  and Photographs by Surekha.

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