Hakka Abacus Recipe

By Jannesse Koh

Hakka food isn’t exactly that common in Singapore as it’s one of the minor dialect groups here. However, I love Hakka’s abacus seed, a traditional dish made with yam that is usually served during festivals as it signifies wealth (abacus is Chinese version of calculator).

My mum used to make them and I know of one stall that sells at Bugis Village where I always get my abacus fix when I have a craving. From $1.50 to the now $4, it’s really a high price to pay for such a small portion so I decided to have a go at making it. It’s actually rather easy and I think everyone will be able to master it.

I made the abacus beads and had my dad do the cooking which he went Hokkien style, LOL. The original Hakka style is stir fry and looks white without dark soy sauce etc while my dad went heavy on the dark soy sauce, typical Hokkien cooking. So I say cook it however way you want it, food is meant to be experimented with.How to Make Hakka Abacus

Serving Size: 4-5
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

300g of yam
100g tapioca flour
60ml hot water

Amount according to your liking:
mushrooms (soaked and sliced)
dried shrimps (soaked and chopped)
black fungus (soaked and cut to strips)
mince meat

Diced the yam and steam it till soft
Mash the yam, knead in tapioca flour and hot water
Roll the yam dough and cut into small pieces, forming a round button
Poke a hole in the middle with chopstick, making abacus beads look like belly button
Cook the beads in boiling water and when it floats transfer to cold water
Stir fry mince meat, mushrooms, dried shrimps, and black fungus in your preferred seasoning
Add in abacus beads and stir fry them together wellMaking Hakka Abacus in Singapore

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