Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Abacus Beads (算盘子)

I have always wanted to learn this dish from my mother. And I finally got the chance during this Chinese New Year. This is not that difficult as I thought but you must have a tough hands. Oh why tough hands?....That's because you have to knead the hot yam once after steam together with the hot water.....HOT!!

We had this on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year for lunch. And this dish is a must during this festive season. "Xuan Pan" ( 算盘) means abacus, the more you eat the more you can calculate the $$..haha! Well, well lets see how much I can get this year...LOL!!
The photo belows showed how the dough looks like after kneading (Oh, that's my mother's hands, not mine...haha! I just can't stand the "hot"!!) Anyway I did help for moulding the beads.

Recipe for the yam dough:
200g Yam / Taro
100g Tapioca flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp five spice powder

~ Slice yam into 1" thick, place in the pot fill with water (water level just to cover the yams)
~ Cook for about 15 minutes or until soft
~ Mashed yam together with the water, then add in remaining ingredients and knead into a soft dough. (may add alittle warm water if dough is dry)
~ Keep kneading the dough until smooth but not sticky.
~ Take a small piece of dough and mould into small abacus beads.
~ Bring to boil a pot of water and cook the beads for about 10-15 minutes. They're cook once floated.
~ Drain and transfer into a bowl. Add 1 tbsp cookingl and mix well. This to prevent the beads from sticking each other.

Ingredients for the accompaniment (for 1/2 portion of the abacus beads):
4-5 tbsps cooking oil
100g minced meat (usually its pork)
3-4 black fungus (shredded)
30g dried shrimps (diced) 5 chinese mushrooms (soaked & shredded)
3 pieces dried beancurd (shredded)
10 shallots (diced)
a little garlic (diced)

2 tbsps oyster sauce
a little salt
50ml water
** some coriander for garnishing

~ Heat up oil, panfry shallots and grlic until fragnant.
~ Add in minced meat, stirfry until almost cook then add in remaining ingredients.
~ Add in half portion of the cooked abacus beads then follow with the seasoning. Continue stirfry until almost dry.
~ Garnish with some coriander and serve.

Texture was so chewy and the taste was just right to our bud. Hope you like this wonderful recipe from my mum...:)

Happy Cooking!!


  1. Even though I am not Hakka but I love this dish. It is difficult to find this kind of authentic dish anymore. Glad that you still keep the tradition of making this.

  2. haha this is the one that your mum made and u took the pictures ah... i like to eat this too!

  3. Wahh! I love this dish also! You must also teach me your mum's recipe when I see you yah? Don't think I have tough hands also, lol! So what happens if we don't knead it while it's hot? The texture won't be as chewy, bouncy and nice? Thanks for sharing this, yum!

  4. ~ Gertrude, ya it's true, even if we found one outside it may not taste nice too.

    ~ Swee San, ya lo...haha! But I still help abit

    ~ Bee Bee, sure no problem. I'll try to make for you in March...want? Yes, you are right, according to my mum, if we knead when its cold, the texture will not be chewy even if we keep kneading like bread.



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