Yam abacus seeds (算盘子) or yam gnocchi is an auspicious dish that is popularly served during the lunar new year as the ROUND yam abacus represent reunion and signifies wealth and prosperity. It is made of yam and tapioca flour. When cooked, these yam abacus seeds are soft on the outside, chewy on the inside and full of strong yam aroma. It is a savoury dish that can be served as a main meal or even on its own, as a snack.
Festive Yam Abacus Seeds 算盘子
An auspicious dish that is popularly served during the lunar new year as the ROUND yam abacus represent reunion and signifies wealth and prosperity. These yam abacus seeds are soft on the outside, chewy on the inside and full of strong yam aroma.
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Servings: 6 people
Yam Abacus Seeds
- 650 g Yam (Taro), Buy 1 kg yam
- 200 g Tapioca flour
- 120 g hot water
- ⅛ tsp salt
To Stir Fry Yam Abacus
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 5 shallots, minced
- 40 g dried shrimps, soaked in water, minced
- 15 g dried cuttlefish, cut into thin strips
- 30 g shitake mushrooms, soaked and cut into stripes
- 30 g large black fungus, soaked and cut into strips
- 200 g meat, minced
- 1 tbsp preserved radish (cai pu)
- 6 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 1 tsp salt, to taste
- 1 tsp white pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp light soy sauce, to taste
- 1 tsp fish sauce, to taste
- 1 tsp Oyster Sauce
- 2 red chillies, cut in halves, then into pieces
- 1 stalk spring onion, diced
- 2 stalks coriander leaves, cut into big pieces
- Peel and cut yam into slices.
- Steam the yam till very soft and cooked, about 30 minutes. If using a wok to steam, be sure to boil the water first before steaming the yam.
- Check for doneness with a chopstick, if able to poke through the yam, then its cooked.
- At the meantime prepare ingredients needed to make the yam abacus seeds which are tapioca flour, cooking oil, salt and hot boiling water.
- Once the yam is cooked, quickly transfer it to a stand mixing bowl with a K hook attached.
- Using the lowest speed, mix until the hot steamed yam has been mashed.
- Add in tapioca flour.
- Then add in salt.
- And the cooking oil.
- Lastly add in the hot boiling water a little at a time.
- Mix till the dough comes together.
- Then change to the dough hook, using the lowest speed, continue to mix for about 10 minutes or until you get a pliable dough. Alternatively, you can mash the hot steamed yam and knead the dough by hand.
- Roll the yam dough into long logs and cut into small even pieces, about 5g each ( or your desired size).
- Roll each piece in between your palms to form round balls. Use your index finger to make a slight depression in the centre to make it looks like an abacus seed.
- Continue with the rest of the dough. Try to make the seeds evenly sized so that they can be evenly cooked.
- Then boil a large pot of water.
- Add in the yam seeds in batches, stirring well to prevent them from sticking together.
- Boil for about 15 minutes or until the yam seeds float to the surface of the water.
- Remove the yam seeds from the boiling water using a strainer.
- Immediately rinsed them in cold water for about 5 seconds. This process helps to firm up the abacus seeds.
- Drained the water and then drizzle cooking oil to coat the abacus seeds evenly to prevent them from sticking together.
- Set aside while you prepare the ingredients to stir fry them. If you don't intend to use them immediately, you can put them in a zip lock bag and put in the freezer.
- To stir fry the yam abacus, first prepare the ingredients needed.
- Then heat up some oil in a wok.
- Saute minced garlic and shallots till fragrant.
- Add in dried shrimp and strips of cuttlefish. Continue to stir fry until they are really fragrant and brown. Add in more oil if needed.
- Next add in the strips of mushrooms and preserved radish.
- Then add in the strips of black fungus. Fry for about 2 minutes.
- Next add in the minced meat and fry for about 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked.
- Lastly add in the yam seeds and stir fry gently to combine, about 2 minutes.
- Add in oyster sauce ( mix with some mushroom water ).
- Then the rest of the seasonings, to taste.
- Add the chopped coriander and red chilli. Stir through another minute. Taste and add more seasonings, if needed.
- And we're done! To serve, dish the yam seeds in a shallow serving plate and garnish with chopped spring onions, remaining of the red chilli and coriander leaves.
To make yam abacus
To stir fry Yam Abacus
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To make yam abacus, ratio of yam and flour is recommended to be 3:1 (i.e. 3 parts yam to 1 part flour) for more yam flavour. To make yam abacus in advance, freeze them in ziplock bag after mixed well with oil. Make the yam abacus seeds in the same size so that they will be evenly cooked.
The recipe turns out really well!! Love the extra yam flavour and texture on the abascus
Thanks for sharing
Hi. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I noticed that you did not put in measurement for oil under the section ‘ingredients’, Sub-section ‘yam abacus seeds’.
Looking forward to your advice.
Sorry, I use 3 tbsp cooking oil to stir fry the yam abacus seeds. Thanks for the notice.