Abacus Seeds with Minced Meat – 算盘子

Abacus seeds is one of the most iconic Hakka dishes. Often eaten during festivals, they are made by mixing mashed yam and tapioca flour which are then shaped into tiny balls resembling the beads on an abacus.

This dish is also known for its lovely chewy texture and beautiful yam fragrance. Add more yam if you like it softer!

We tried to follow the traditional Hakka way of preparing this, which includes stir frying them with minced meat and mushroom. Fried beancurd is also added for that extra texture!

This is definitely a wonderful recipe for festive seasons and gatherings!

We used WMF’s new NATURamic® high-tech ceramic, scratch resistant cookware to make this lovely dish. It’s also non-porous, thus requiring less oil for your cooking while keeping the taste the same! To find out more, view their page here:- http://www.wmf.sg/naturamic

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  • Servings: 4

  • Time: 1hr 30 mins

  • Skill: Intermediate


  1. 600g yam / taro (peeled)

  2. 300g tapioca flour

  3. 150 ml boiling water

  4. 3 tbsp oil

  5. 1 tbsp minced garlic

  6. 3 shallots (sliced)

  7. 300g minced pork

  8. 50g dried shrimp (soaked in water)

  9. 5 dried mushroom (soaked in water and cut into strips)

  10. 1 fried beancurd (cut into cubes)

  11. 1 tbsp light soya sauce

  12. 2 tbsp oyster sauce

  13. ½ tsp white pepper

  14. 2 tbsp Hua Tiao wine

  15. ¼ cup chopped spring onions


  1. Steamed 600g sliced yam / taro for 25-30 minutes

  2. Mash steamed yam with a fork

  3. Add 300g tapioca flour to mashed yam

  4. Add and mix in 150 ml boiling water a little at a time

  5. Mix until dough is formed

  6. Knead dough until smooth, and divide into 4 portions

  7. Roll and cut per portion into 1 inch pieces

  8. Roll dough into a ball and make a dent in the centre

  9. Repeat the same for the rest of the dough

  10. Boil abacus seeds into water, until they float to the top

  11. Transfer abacus seeds to cold water, let it cool down

  12. Drain and set aside

  13. Heat 3 tbsp oil to wok, add 1 tbsp minced garlic and 3 shallots (sliced)

  14. Stir fry until fragrance, add 300g minced pork

  15. Stir fry and break pork up

  16. Add 50g dried shrimp (soaked in water), 5 dried mushroom (soaked in water and cut into strips) and 1 fried beancurd (cut into cubes).

  17. Season with 1 tbsp light soya sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, ½ tsp white pepper and 2 tbsp Hua Tiao wine

  18. Stir fry until fragrant, add abacus seeds and mix well

  19. Finish with ¼ cup chopped spring onions and serve.

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