Yam Abacus 芋头算盘子

Yam Abacus_5

It’s another Yam-mey day !! I think I am starting to fall for yam already especially after the yam paste and yam cake earlier ! And so, I decided to continue my Yam-mey journey into yet another traditional yam dish and that’s none other than the commonly known Yam Abacus. It’s something that I would say, quite rarely being able to find it being sold commercially nowadays. Other than preparing it from scratch by hand at home, I seriously doubt I can find anywhere that’s selling this dish within 5 km from my place. And since the mom loves this dish to bits, all the more I should do it since there will be a ready audience waiting to devour this dish !

Yam Abacus_3

And gosh, I think I did prepare a bit too much that should leave everyone enough supply for the next couple of days. And by then, I think they will be so sick of anything yam-mey again !! LOL.

To make my yam abacus looking as neatly as possible, I actually weigh them individually and ensure consistency with their size !! Hahaha !! My mom was so amazed at what I have done though !! And it took me a good whole of an hour to actually finish the entire almost 1kg of dough to complete moulding them into “abacus” shape.

Yam Abacus_2

But the yam abacus does look amazingly beautiful with their uniform size and glossy finishing right after they are cooked. Here’s how they looked liked ~


To top it up, I followed quite the traditional way of adding shredded cuttlefish and black fungus to give the dish its savoury aroma and compiled with a bunch of good lots of dried prawns (hei bi) that I have gotten from Tai O in Hong Kong some time ago, this dish is having all its thumbs up by all the audience !!

Yam Abacus_7

I think by now, everyone would be so sick of anything YAM already !! I shall rest my obsession for yam for the time being till my next mad craving is back again !

Perhaps a little tip to share, using your last finger to make the indent and turning it around to ensure the dent is even in size will enable the yam abacus to look more presentable and uniform (at least to me). Maybe you can give it a shot and see if it works easier for you too !

Yam Abacus_4

Also, if you have issues handling yam like I do, with your hands getting itchy whilst doing so, you can rub some salt onto your hand prior to that. This will help to prevent or reduce the itchiness that will arise whilst handling.

Yam Abacus_1

And if you need some good yam to prepare this awesome traditional dish, do hop onto PurelyFresh online for all your fresh groceries and cooking needs today !

Enjoy !!

Yam Abacus 芋头算盘子
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
For the Yam Abacus:
  • 700g yam
  • 250g tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • some boiling water
  • some cold water
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil

For the Rest:
  • 5 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 70g dried prawns, soaked until soft and coarsely diced
  • 35g dried shredded squids, soaked until soft
  • 200g minced pork/chicken, mixed with 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 100g mushrooms (I used honjimeiji mushrooms, you are free to use any kinds.)
  • 8 pcs black fungus, soaked and shredded

For the Seasoning:
  • 1 cube chicken seasoning
  • 2 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • dash of salt
  • 200ml water

For the Garnishing:
  • Some spring onion, diced
  • Some fried shallots
  • Some chilli shreds
  1. Cut the yam into chunks and steamed them over high heat till they are softened.
  2. Using a food processor, blend the yam into a fine paste. If you do not have a food processor, you can also use a potato masher and mash it till fine.
  3. Place the yam into a mixer and on low speed, add the tapioca starch slowly (to prevent the flour from flying out whilst the mixer is on) and 1 tsp of salt and beat till all the tapioca starch is incorporated and combine to form a dough.
  4. Remove the dough and place it on a worktop and cover it with a damp cloth. (Optional) Measure each small piece of dough by 7g each and roll them into balls. Using your last finger, press an indent into the middle of the round ball and slowly turn it around to ensure the indent is uniformly pressed on all sides. Continue until all the dough is used up.
  5. Heat up a pot of water. When the water boils, add the yam abacus from the previous step. When the yam abacus float to the surface of the water, it means they are cooked. Remove them from the boiling water.
  6. Rinse the yam abacus over some cold water and drain well (This is to give the yam abacus a qq texture).
  7. Add in 3 tbsp of cooking oil to the yam abacus.
  8. Stir them well and ensure that the oil coats all over the yam abacus (This is to prevent them from sticking to each other).
  9. Heat up 5 tbsp of oil in a wok. You can fried some shallots at this point for garnishing the yam abacus later. After draining away the shallots, reserve the oil. You can skip this step if you already have existing fried shallots.
  10. Add in the minced garlics, shallots, dried prawns and dried shredded squids. Stir fried briefly till fragrant.
  11. Add in the mushrooms and minced meat and stir to mix well.
  12. Add in all the seasoning followed by the water last.
  13. When the water starts to boil, add in the yam abacus. Continue stirring to mix well till all the liquid is fairly dried up.
  14. Garnish as desired and serve hot.


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