13 Aug2010


Last year I wrote a post on this book “Martinis and Aprons” which was a collection of entertaining tips, food trivia and and recipes from many ladies and gentlemen of note. It was a fund raiser for a shelter for battered women and children. One of the recipes in that book, for bottle gourd fries or Boo-Thee-Gyaw by Wynn Wynn Ong was mentioned in the post or by commenters on that post. Instead of bottle gourd, sayote could also be used as the substitute ingredient. I never tried the recipe, probably because I saw no reason to substitute potatoes in my fries, but that wasn’t the point at all. They are absolutely delicious as sayote fries, period. A few weeks ago, a gentleman from Louisiana trying to come up with recipes to use merliton (sayote) to revive the planting and sale of the produce and making sure there were end uses, contacted me about the sayote fries so I decided to try the Ong recipe for myself. Well, nothing could be easier, and they were so incredibly tasty. A very economical dish, with flavors and satisfaction worth much more than the cost and effort to pull it all together.


Simply peel and slice a large sayote (chayote, merliton) as you would a potato for fries. Next, make a light batter with 1 cup of fine ground rice flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of salt, just under a teaspoon of ground turmeric and just enough ICE water to make a smooth batter. It shouldn’t be too thick, nor too runny. Drop your sayote into this mixture and pop it into the fridge to chill until just ready to cook and serve.


Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. The dipping sauce is essential to the success of this dish. Much of the flavor comes from the sauce. In a mortar, add 1-2 cloves of slow roasted garlic (I had no patience, so I took two cloves of garlic with their peel still on, popped them onto the floor of a hot oven that I was using to bake chicken, and removed them 2-3 minutes later). Peel the garlic and start from there. Add 5 pieces coriander root, 2-3 pieces of siling labuyo for heat or spice and smash this up for a few seconds. Add a couple of tablespoons of thai fish sauce (patis), a teaspoon of kikkoman or other light soy sauce, not heavy lorins or similar pinoy toyo, 1 tablespoon rice vinegr, 3 tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon sugar and the juice of 2-3 kaffir limes or dayap. Add chopped coriander leaves for more flavor and color.

Next, heat up some oil for frying and fry the sayote for a few minutes until it just begins to get a nice golden color. Drain on paper towels and serve with the sauce on the side. They are surprisingly CRISP and delicious. They do get soft after a few minutes sitting around, but so do regular fries in this country’s humid weather. Everyone in the house (except maybe the Teen) loved this dish. Don’t think of them as substitutes for potato fries, just think of them as sayote fries with a wonderful dip. Excellent. The recipe is credited to Ms. Ong completely.

P.S. You will have extra batter left over. If you really like the fries, slice up another sayote and cook some more with the same batter. :)



  1. Richard says:

    Hi MM, thanks for the recipe.. You should try making fries using chinese sweet potato/kamote(?) inside is orange color.. available in Binondo ongpin area, not in other local market.. dont know why.. Cook same way as your potato fries, but i find them to have more depth in taste and i was told they are more nutritious..

    Aug 13, 2010 | 9:39 am


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  3. Marketman says:

    Richard, you are correct, kamote fries much more nutritious and lower glycemic count than potatoes. You can buy good camote at weekend markets, peel, and fry or bake with a bit of salt and sprinkled with olive oil.

    Aug 13, 2010 | 9:55 am

  4. Connie C says:

    The left over batter would also make nice ukoy with shrimps and bean sprouts or Vietnamese banh xeo with the dipping sauce giving it the extra zing.

    Aug 13, 2010 | 10:26 am

  5. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Interesting…I must try. Its good to know that sayote is good beyond chicken tinola. But then again, anything battered and deep fried is fine by me.

    Aug 13, 2010 | 10:47 am

  6. present tense says:

    Sayote slices makes a good achara. Nice crunch to them. For a giniling meal ( aroz la cubana ), i also use sayote and carrots

    Aug 13, 2010 | 2:55 pm

  7. sister says:

    Why bother frying sayote? Tring to find the next kiwi? Sayote is not highly nutritious and now burdened with fat and carb. Sweet potatoes would be far better for you. But the sauce- anything would taste better with that!

    Aug 13, 2010 | 5:15 pm

  8. rose says:

    Ms. Ong,…. aside from her fabulous designs for jewelries, she is a good cook. i will try this.

    Aug 13, 2010 | 8:46 pm

  9. Mimi says:

    Thank you for the batter recipe. I’ll try it with the ‘in’ potato swirl/twist dipped in a batter much like what you used, then dusted with cheese powder. The dipping sauce seems to be Thai-style.

    Aug 13, 2010 | 9:53 pm

  10. Kam says:

    I love sayote! This is definitely something different. I usually just cook it as ginisa. Thanks!

    Aug 14, 2010 | 4:28 am

  11. jane says:

    i don’t even taste it but i will try…. i think thats nice and delicious,,,,,,

    Aug 25, 2010 | 2:47 pm

  12. georgia may sandrino says:

    wow galing naman po,ask k lang po, ano po bang meron ang sayote fries na wala ang potato fries

    Sep 27, 2010 | 10:24 am

  13. mary joy gladys b. rodriguez says:

    i will try this
    Good idea!

    Jan 19, 2011 | 4:46 pm

  14. QueenBee says:

    to sister: I disagree with you, Sayote ( Vitamin C

    Sayote is a excellent source of Vitamin C, an essential that we get only from food or supplements. Each 100 g of sayote fruit contains 11 to 20 mg of vitamin C, while the stem contains 16 mg and the root contains 19 mg of this vitamin. Vitamin C is vital for healing wounds, increasing immune resistance and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin C also acts as an anti-oxidant and protects the cells from free radicals. It helps make collage, the protein for making skin, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels.
    Vitamin A

    Each 100 g of sayote fruit has about 5 mg of vitamin A, and each 100 g of the stem contains 615 mg, according to the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, or IPGRI. Vitamin A is important for good vision as it produces retinol, a pigment needed by the eye. This vitamin helps make white blood cells that fight harmful microbes and infections. Vitamin A also strengthens the lining of the eyes, and the respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts.

    Sayote contains small amounts the B-vitamins niacin, thiamin and riboflavin, notes the IPGRI. Because B-vitamins are water soluble and leaves the body through the urine, you need a continuous supply of these vitamins in your diet. B-vitamins are important in making carbohydrates, fats and cholesterol. They also help convert food to energy.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/493647-vitamins-from-the-sayote-plant/#ixzz1zQKwIVM5

    Jul 2, 2012 | 9:30 am


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