Ingredients

  • Serves 4
  • For the Abacus Seeds:

    500g peeled yam, cut into 1cm slices

  • 150g tapioca starch

  • 50g rice flour 

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar 

  • 150-300ml hot water

  • For frying:

    1 dried squid, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

  • 30g dried shrimp, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

  • 120g minced pork

  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

  • 10g dried black fungus, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 bunch Chinese celery, washed and cut into 1cm lengths

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • For the sauce:

    2-3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • 350ml chicken stock or pork and anchovy stock

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Recipe Courtesy of
Sarah Huang Benjaming

Hakka Abacus Seeds

{{totalReview}}
This is an heirloom recipe from my family, dating back generations to my grandmother’s village in China. It’s a difficult dish to find outside, so although it takes some effort and time to make, it’s so worth it.
  • Hard
  • 45 min
  • 40 min
  • 15 min
  • 15 steps
  • 22 Ingredients
  • Hard
  • 15 steps
  • 22 Ingredients
  • 45 min
  • 40 min
  • 15 min

Directions

  1. Prepare the yam dough

    • To make the abacus seeds, steam the yam slices for 15-20 minutes until they are very soft.

    • Transfer the hot yam to a large mixing bowl, and mash into a smooth paste. Add the tapioca starch, rice flour, salt and sugar and stir to combine roughly.

    • Drizzle a few tablespoons of hot water at a time, stirring to mix. When the dough starts to come together, add more water little by little. Once you have a cohesive dough, stop adding water.

    Prepare the yam dough


  2. Knead and shape the yam dough

    • When the dough is cool enough to handle, use your hands to knead it until smooth.

    • Pulling off small bits of dough, roll into a ball, then press between your thumb and index finger to create indentations on both sides. Set aside.

    • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and cook the abacus seeds in batches until they float. Drain them and rinse with cold water.

    • Drizzle with some neutral-flavoured oil to stop them sticking. Set aside.

    Knead and shape the yam dough


  3. Prepare the sauce

    • Stir all the sauce ingredients together, using only 2 tablespoons of fish sauce to start with.

    • Clean the dried squid, and cut into thin slices. Using a pestle and mortar or food processor, break the dried squid up into a fine consistency.

    • Remove the stems of the shiitake mushrooms and slice the caps. Slice the black fungus thinly.

    • In a wok over medium-high heat, add the oil. Saute the minced pork until cooked through and separate. Add the garlic, then the dried squid strips and pounded dried shrimp.

    • Add the sliced shiitake mushrooms and black fungus, and fry everything until aromatic. 

    • Pour the sauce in, and simmer everything for 5 minutes.



  4. Add the abacus seeds into sauce

    • Add the abacus seeds to the wok, stirring and cooking for another 5 minutes, to allow the abacus to absorb the flavours of the sauce.

    • Taste, and add the remaining tablespoon of fish sauce if needed. You can also season with salt and white pepper.

    • Stir in the chopped Chinese celery before serving.

    Add the abacus seeds into sauce


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    Ingredients
    • Serves 4
    • For the Abacus Seeds:

      500g peeled yam, cut into 1cm slices

    • 150g tapioca starch

    • 50g rice flour 

    • 3/4 teaspoon salt

    • 3/4 teaspoon sugar 

    • 150-300ml hot water

    • For frying:

      1 dried squid, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

    • 30g dried shrimp, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

    • 120g minced pork

    • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

    • 10g dried black fungus, soaked in water until soft (at least 5 hours)

    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    • 1 bunch Chinese celery, washed and cut into 1cm lengths

    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    • For the sauce:

      2-3 tablespoons fish sauce

    • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

    • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce

    • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

    • 350ml chicken stock or pork and anchovy stock

    Nutrition
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