Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hakka abacus beads from scratch

Inspired by my mother, I decided to take on the challenge of pulling the classic Hakka abacus beads dish from scratch.

This is my version of the recipe (adapted from My Kitchen Snippets)

To make the dough for the abacus beads:

450 grams taro/yam, cleaned, peeled and chopped
170 grams tapioca starch
½ teaspoon salt

Steam taro until soft (about 20 minutes) and mash while still hot. Mix in tapioca starch and salt. Allow mixture to cool slightly then knead to form a soft dough.DSC01980

Adjust consistency by adding a little water if it’s too dry or more tapioca starch if it’s too wet/sticky.

Pinch off marble sized pieces of the dough, roll into small balls, then press gently in the middle to make a small indentation.

Bring a pot of water to boil, then drop in beads one by one. The beads will rise to the surface once they are cooked. Removed them with a slotted spoon and set aside.

For the stir-fry, the ingredients can be varied to your preference, but here is a general guide on what you can include:


2 tbsp oil
2 shallots – thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic – chopped
1 chicken breast – diced
1 small carrot – diced finely
4-6 Chinese mushrooms – soaked until soft and sliced thinly
2 pieces of dried wood ears – soaked and thinly sliced
¼ cup dried shrimp – soaked and pounded lightly
Some spring onions – chopped finely for garnishing
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
¼ cup water
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in wok/frying pan and stir-fry shallots and garlic for a few seconds. Add chicken, mushrooms, dried wood ears and dried shrimp and fry for a few minutes until meat is cooked. Add abacus beads and sauces/seasoning and fry everything together. Dish out and garnish with spring onions.


P.S. More of my other recipes posted here


  1. this is my favourite dish !! or one of :)
    eu lynn

  2. One day I must try yours to see if mine lives up to your standards! :) maybe pick up tips on how I can improve it further

  3. Wow! I must try this one day!


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