Wednesday 2 August 2006

Assorted Hakka Abacus Seeds

This Hakka Abacus Seeds dish, where mashed yam is mixed with flour and shaped into round pellets that look like abacus seeds. The beads are usually stir fried with a simple sauce of minced garlic, shallot pork, dried shrimps, firm beancurd and shitake mushrooms.

My mother-in-law is a Hakka and she used to make this dish for us at least once a month. And after eating her version of abacus seeds, actually I had wanted to try it out very long ago. So after seeing the Pumpkin Abacus Seeds from MyCoffee blog. I decided to give this dish a try by making two different types of flavour in one go.

So for my Assorted Abacus Seeds, I had the traditional Hakka Yam beads as well as the Pumpkin beads from MyCoffee's blog. As for the side ingredients, I had include those that my mother-in-law used to put in. Finally, I had my own version of Assorted Hakka Abacus Seeds from Cuisine Paradise Kitchen......It tastes very Q and Spongy which my mum and hubby loves.....

Ingredients For Yam Abacus Seeds:(make about 30-35)
300g Yam, cut into small slices
100g - 150g Tapioca Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Light Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
A Pot Of Ice Water

1. Steam the yam slices until soft then mash it while still hot.
2. Slowly stir in tapioca flour till combined(you might not need all the flour, it all depend on the wetness of the mashed yam) then add in the rest of the seasoning and oil and knead into a smooth dough.
3. From small round balls and make a dent in each one with your thumb to from the abacus seed shape(about 2cm wide) and set aside.
4. Bring half pot of water to boil then cook the beads until float, remove and plunge into the pot of iced water(this is to stop the cooking process of the beads and make it more Q and spongy) for 1 - 2 minutes then drained and set aside.

Do not put too many beads into the boiling water at one time, allow some room for them to float around.

Used the same ingredients and methods for the Pumpkin beads, replace the yam slices with pumpkin slices and you might need more tapicoa flour(about 200g-250g) because mashed pumpkin contains more moisture than the yam.

Ingredients For Side Fillings: (enough for 50-60 beads)
300g Pork Mince/Belly Pork
2 Pieces Of Small Firm Beancurds, shredded
4 Dried Mushroom, soaked till soften
50g Black Fungs, soaked till soften
50g Dried Shrimps, soaked till soften
5 Cloves Garlics, finely chopped
4 Shallots, finely sliced
100ml Of Water, from soaking mushroom
1/2 Teaspoon Chicken Stock Granules
1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
For Garnish:
1 Stalk Spring Onion, finely chopped
3-4 Small Chillies, finely sliced
1 Tablespoon Dried Shallot
Some Pepper

1. Marinate the pork minced with 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce, 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil, 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper and 1 Teaspoon cornstarch, set aside in the fridge to marinate for about 30 minutes or more.
2. Shredded the soaked mushroom(reserved the water), black fungus and lightly pound the dried shrimp and set aside.
3. Preheat the pan with some oil then saute the shredded beancurd until golden brown, drained and set aside.
4. Add about 2 Tablespoons Of Oil in a pan, add in the sliced shallots and saute until slightly golden brown, add in garlic and pork mince.
5. Saute the pork until almost cooked then add in mushroom, black fungs, dried shrimp and continue to stir until fragrant and cooked through.
6. Next add in the beancurd and sauce upon boiling add in the cooked abacus beads and simmer for another 2 minutes on low heat.
7. Serve hot with garnish. Posted by Picasa


  1. waaaaa this recipe really came in handy coz i tot of making it too! and i think its not easy to find chinese/asian recipes online coz most of them are posted by "angmohs" which may not taste authentic. i WILL definitely try this! but hor, do u hv the recipe 4 the pumpkin abacus seeds? coz i think viv (mycoffee) didnt post it. and did u manage to get into KC? i don't wanna join anymore lah. the abacus seeds look more interesting with 2 types combined. what a great idea!

    btw lena, do u hv a recipe for kung pao chicken (宫保鸡丁)? i believe the authentic one only adds cashew nuts and dried chilli. but i found some recipes on the net that has red/green peppers and i don't want that :( thx ya!

    great job dear. keep it up!

  2. Thanks Evan,

    The recipe for the Pumpkin Abacus seeds is the same as the Yam. Just replace the Yam slices by Pumpkin and add abit more tapioca flour. I already mention under then Notes portion in the post.

    I didn't get the recipe from KC... this recipe is i mix and match and come up myself de.. and it really works well... and it taste Q and spongey......

    Em... as for the Kung Pao Chicken.. i got a few recipes.. when i go search then i email u ok.... :)

  3. oooo sorry sorry i overlooked. didnt read the notes section. thx for pointing out. actually i'm still thinking if i shd make two types, coz its quite time consuming. moreover gotta prepare the minced pork everything. but two really looks more interesting. will b buying the ingredients later =)

    ok, thx i will b waiting for yr email for kung pao chicken. sorry for the trouble!

  4. Hi chua_family2003,

    I am not sure about the amount of tapicoa used for your case, cos accordingly to most recipes that i read up.. they usually used 1:2 ratio.. like 100g tapicoa flour to 200g yam. But overall since u used so little flour how does your abacus seeds taste like.. cos mine is more towards the chewy and sponge type....

    Yo Evan,
    Made two different types la.. actually is not really that time consuming cos after all u still need to steam either the pumpkin or yam.. so just steam one after another then add in flour and knead that's all... :) Only Xin Ku for 1 time nia ma.... lolz

  5. Ellena, great job on the seeds, made two types at the same go, a lot of work sia :)

  6. hmmmm, I never eat this dish be4 though been hearing and seeing pple doing this dish. Izzit meant to eat as a main dish? Can i keep those ready-made Abacus Seeds dough in the fridge and fry them tmr?

  7. No la.. Angie.. cos i veri greedy ma.. so i wanted to try making two fav in one dish loh....

    Yup.. pamy u can have this as 1 pot main dish, cos other than the beads, you still have pork mince, beancurd and etc....I did saw my mother-in-law kept those boiled beads in the fridge without frying, but i am not sure whether will they get harden and stick together? Cos usually she will make alot of the finally products for us, then i will keep them in the fridge and reheat it in mircowave whenever we want to eat it.

  8. Is Yam here same as Taro?

  9. hi. I tried your recipe yesterday. I gave to some of my friends to try. Guess what? It simply tasted great. thank you. how about any recipe for Yam Paste with gingko nut?

  10. Hi Jo Liaw,

    Thanks for your feedback and kind comments. You can find the Yam Paste with gingko nut recipe in the Recipe Index list above, the recipe is right at the bottom under the Homemade Dessert heading. HTH :)

  11. Hello Ellena

    I am not too sure what kind of firm beancurds dat u r using, is it da white color one or the yellow bean curd. Thanks



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