Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yam Abacus Beads ( 炒算盘子)


I understand that some Chinese families will prepare this dish during Chinese New Year and is particularly famous among the Hakkas Chinese. My mother is not a Hakka, she's a Teochew and she enjoys eating this a lot. Infact she loves everything yam...like Or Nee, Yam Kuih..she who doesnt eat dairy, even likes eating a yam cream cake, not just a slice but many slices. I'm not too sure if this is one of the traditional dishes for the Hakkas to have this served during Chinese New Year but this dish has an auspicious meaning, she told me. Abacus is a Chinese calculator, in those days where electronic calculators were not around and not widely used, people here will use abacus to do their arithmetic and counting. My father had one and those days, i could hear him " klik klak klik klak" doing his "maths" using his fingers with the abacus. Why they said this dish is auspicious is because the yam balls are shaped in such a way that they resemble the abacus beads and in a way, it signifies fortune and you will have roaring business and busy counting your money all through the year! LOL! By the way, according to my mum, some also prepare this dish in a soupy version..that is everything in a bowl of soup but i've not seen that before. Mine here is a dry version.

The Chinese Abacus. Photo from wikipedia

Recipe
Yam balls
1 small yam, 230gm ( steamed and mashed )
108gm tapioca flour
Pot of boiling water

When the mashed yam has cooled down by quite a bit, add in the tapioca flour and knead till form a dough. If you find that it's a little difficult to form a dough, you may add in tapioca flour by little. It may appear difficult to form a dough, just keep kneading and knead to form a roll.  Cut into small pieces and shape them into balls. Use your thumb to make the dent in the middle. When they are all ready, drop the yam balls into the boiling water, let it cook till they float to the top. Remove from boiling water and sprinkle some oil to lightly coat them. Leave aside.

* Do not tempt to put a lot of tapioca flour for the dough. The more tapioca flour you put in, the more pliable your dough is, the chewier the yam balls , although easier to knead, they will end up being very chewy and taste rubbery. I personally like just a little springy texture.  Also sometimes it depends on how starchy or moist the yam is, as long as the tapioca flour that you add in can roughly form a dough, that's fine *


roll the dough into long..

cut into pieces and shape them round





Rest of the ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
30gm dried shrimps, soaked in water for 5 mins
50gm dried squids, washed
2 pieces of mushrooms, softened and shredded
1 big piece of black fungus, softened and shredded
salt to taste
chopped spring onions ( optional )

Method:
1.Pour abt 2 tbsps of oil into the wok and fry the dried shrimps. When they smell fragrant, add in garlic and shallot and saute them till aromatic. Add in the dried squids, mushroom and black fungus and fry them for a about 3-4 minutes. 
2.Throw in the yam balls, stir fry everything in the wok, splash some water round the wok so that it wont get too dry . Add salt and stir them for another few minutes. (Splash water if necessary) Dish up.  




I am submitting this post to Chinese New Year Delights 2013 hosted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover

78 comments:

  1. Lena , that yam that you've used is taro ? It's the first time , I've seen this :D It is the same as the one being sold that's also dried ? ... Your dish sure looks mouth-watering !

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  2. Nowadays very hard to get "abacus" in Ipoh.. the last time I bought was in Ipoh Garden East during CNY time..

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    1. i dont see this nowadays too, many years ago i saw it the pasar malam here.

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  3. Bananaz is Hakka but have not heard or eaten this until transplanted to KL from the North. Understand different Hakkas would have their own specialties. Love eating them hmmm yummy. Bananaz also learned the Chinese Abacus when small only the addition part not sure they have multiplication or subtraction or not?

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    1. yes, they have substraction and mutiplication. so you still remember how to use the abacus?

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  4. I like this Yam Abacus Beads, I long time didn't eat this already. No one here can make this for me.

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    1. if i got chance then i make this for you:)

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  5. Replies
    1. hmm..i think i rmber you did this too..you can make them again:)

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  6. Hi Lena, this makes my mouth water. I really like this. Didn't know its that easy to make. Shall give it a try.

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  7. i love how you added the mushrooms, spring onions and shallots together. I can just smell the aroma now! This looks amazing

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  8. I like this too and hopefully one day I can make this. Thank you.

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  9. You know Lena, i was just thinking that i have never liked abacus yam before, and i was wondering why when i read your note on not to add too much tapioca. That's why i didnt like it! The ones i had before tasted exactly like how you described - chewy, rubbery, like eating tasteless hardened tong yuen :(. Maybe i will try to make my own and see the difference!

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    1. yeah, you are right..like hardened tong yuen and gummy :))

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  10. Hi Lena,
    Yum! I love this! Have been meaning to give this a try for ages! I could eat this for lunch and dinner! I totally agree with your mom, Yam is delicious!

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    1. actually i love yam too but nowadays do not dare to take so much at one time..my digestion not too good:(

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  11. Yam abacus? Anything yam-related is my favourite! I've only taste or-nee and yam kuih but not yam abacus! I'll print this recipe for my mom, muahahaha! CNY is coming, mah~

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    1. haha..i thought you want to make for your mum!

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  12. Lena, what a great dish that you have cooked for "us" today, haha! My mum is a Hakka but she never made us this dish and I just knew about it recently that this is a Hakka dish, hahaha!

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    1. haha..you make one day and surprise your mum!

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  13. Hi Lena! My family loves this dish too. I would usually add Siu Yok (Roast pork belly) slices into the dish too!

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    1. hey, good idea! i only thought of minced pork or pork slices..siu yook would be great!

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  14. My mom and late grandma are hakka. They sure will cook this dish during CNY. Its super yummy!

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    1. ah, for auspicious and good luck!

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  15. Oh...I remember this. It's really good.....mmm. I think the last time I made this must be at least 10 yrs ago.....hehe. I need to make it again some day. Thanks very much for reminding.

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  16. Lena, this dish seems very interesting and special!
    I'm very interested in authentic recipes from various cuisines. Thanks for posting!

    Have a nice week,
    Miriam.

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    Replies
    1. you're welcome! good to hear that you enjoy knowing some of the traditional dishes here!

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  17. Is this what you call in English? I never knew the English translation but my kids nanny used to make this for them when she was taking care of them. Whenever she makes this, she'll bring some for my kids. They just love this. Yours look so appetizing, Lena. And I know it's not as easy to make.

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    1. yam abacus balls, abacus yam balls, yam balls..anything! LOL!

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  18. I remember my friend cooked this before and it was very delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

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  19. Hi Lena,

    You might have find me very strange that I have not taste any abacus beads in my life. I Have heard of this dish but never have a chance to try at all. Would love to try cooking this at home :D

    Zoe

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    1. no zoe, not strange at all. Even here it's not an usual thing that you can find it everywhere..

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  20. My mother also not a Hakka but Hokkien, this yam abacus never appear in CNY table before, but don't know since when , my mother start to cook this during CNY. She said 'yau tak xin' and 'xin beh liao, LOL

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  21. Lena,my aunt cooked this dish once before. I love it very much. I also like yam a lot. But so lazy to make the dough :)

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  22. There is one makan shop in Segambut that is famous for this dish. Yours looks exactly like theirs and I believe home cook should taste far better. Next time I come visit you, you cook this for me okay? *WINK*

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  23. Hi Lena, in the past I wasn't very fond of this dish because of the yam, but now I really like it, thanks for sharing the recipe, hope to try it out in the future!

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  24. I love the name abacus beads, these sound wonderful.

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  25. Looks good Lena. The only time I've had it is from a shop around Cheras. I like the chewy texture.

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  26. Lena Lena Lena....I love this yam abacus! I'm so happy you post this recipe! I want an easy recipe that has been tasted and tested...hehehe (rubbing my palms) And seems like I knew this was coming, I bought a big yam yesterday, hahaha! Have a good weekend my dear...

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    1. would like to see what you do with your yam..hahaha!

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  27. Hi Lena, thanks for reminder, I haven't eat this for years. :)
    My Teo chew hubby don't eat, so I don't cook. Once a while go tapau from hawker stall.

    Have a nice day.

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    1. haha! at least you can still hv them without having to make them! here susah dapat!

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  28. Lena,
    What a coincidence, i am going to post this today.
    I love Yam abacus since little..:D
    Yours looks super delish!

    mui

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    1. oh, looking forward to see your version!

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. Dear Lena

    Thank you for this recipe. My Mum used to cook it but after she passed away no one in the fmly knows how to cook it. Hope we can try cooking it this CNY. It s a traditional Hakka dish. Do u rem'ber i'm a Hakka girl? My next trip back to msia, u cook for me, ok? Hahaha. Wishing you all the best n enjoyment in ur cooking. Happy CNY to u n fmly!

    Myokee







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    1. Oi!what a surprise! no lah, i cant remember you are a hakka, so what hakka dish do you know to cook? hehe..

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  31. Your abacus beads are very well shaped. Lovely looking dish, going to dream about enjoying this dish while having lots of fortune to count, nothing can be better :)

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  32. That looks so delicious. I've never used tapioca flour - does's sound too hard to make!

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    1. thank you and thanks for visiting!

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  33. I usually like the other "supporting" ingredients such as the mushrooms, squid and fungus when I eat this dish as most times, the yam balls are too much flour than yam and too filling for me after 2-3 yam balls :O

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    1. without the yam, i bet you can finish the whole plate :D

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  34. Oh yum, this looks delicious.

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  35. This is so delicious! Can't yam over here... ;-(

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  36. I love this dish even though I am not hakka. The amount of work is tremendous though but u make it look easy!!

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    1. not exactly, just making the balls takes a little time, probably about 10-15mins.

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  37. I've eaten this dish once and fell in love with it. I too like any food with yam in it! May think of making this......one day:)

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  38. I LOVE everything with yam . This looks & sounds good but I can't eat shrimps. I think I can replace it with chicken or pork, rite ?!! Love to give this a try! ;)

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  39. Ohhhhh love to try this. I am thinking of harvesting yam some this month. Thank you for sharing. Lena how do you enjoy your sengkuang. At the moment I don't have many ideas how to habiskan our sengkuang harvest.

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  40. One of my fave noms when we visit Hakka restaurants.

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  41. Hello,

    Your blog is very nice, its look delicious. I will definitely try his yum abacus.give us update like this in future.

    Thanks For Sharing.
    ---------------------
    Abacus

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