The Hakka Yam Abacus Beads used to be a festive dish in Singapore among the Hakkas. The main ingredients are taro or yam and tapioca flour, mixing together to form a dough and make into little abacus beads to signify wealth.
Preparation: 20 mins, Cooking time: 25 mins
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
° 200g taro (yam), peeled and cut into chunks
° 100-120g tapioca flour
° 750ml water
° 50g Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked and diced
° 25g black fungus, soaked and shredded
° 50g carrot, peeled and diced
° 1 thin slice ginger, chopped
° ½ teaspoon salt
° ½ teaspoon sugar
° ½ teaspoon sesame oil
° 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
° salt and pepper, to taste
° a small handful fresh coriander leaves (optional), for garnish
1. Arrange the yam in a heatproof serving plate and steam for 10-15 minutes or until soft.
2. Mash the yam in a container with a fork. Add the tapioca flour, salt, sugar and mix well to form dough. Knead until the dough is non-sticky. Divide the dough into 40 small pieces and roll each into a ball. Shape them into abacus beads by using the thumb and finger to make a slight indentation in the centre of each ball.
3. Bring 750ml of water to a boil in a pot or wok. Add the yam balls and return to the boil. Remove the yam balls with a slotted spoon when they float to the surface. Transfer to a bowl of cold water or coat with 2 tablespoons of oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
4. Heat oil in a wok. Add the ginger and fry till golden brown.
5. Add the carrot, mushrooms, black fungus and stir-fry briskly until aromatic. Season with salt, pepper, sesame oil and light soy sauce.
6. Add the yam balls and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with coriander leaves.