Friday, January 24, 2014

Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds [客家算盘子]

Yam Gnocchi / Chinese New Year
 Yam Gnocchi / Chinese New Year

For the abacus seed dough:
1 small yam - about 510g (yields 460g mashed yam)
100g tapioca flour
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt

  • Cut yam into cubes and steam until soft enough to be mashed.
  • Add salt and oil into the hot yam and mash with a fork.  Gradually knead in tapioca flour using your hand until it forms a pliable dough and doesn't stick.
  • Cut yam dough into 4 pieces.  Cover dough to prevent from drying out.  Gently roll each piece to form a log.  Cut each log into small pieces.  Take a small piece and roll into a ball.  Then press your thumb and index finger into the centre of the ball to form an indentation.  Place the 'abacus seeds' on a tray lined with baking paper (abacus seeds can be frozen at this stage)
  • Bring a pot of water with 1/2 tsp salt to the boil.  Put in a batch of the abacus seeds.  As they cooked, the abacus seeds will rise to the surface.
  • Remove with slotted spatula and drain well.  Toss the abacus seeds with a little oil to prevent them from sticking together.  Repeat with remaining abacus seeds.

For the frying:
1 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
4 dried shiitake mushroom (soaked until softened, thinly sliced)
1/2 carrot, minced
1 piece firm tofu, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp dried shrimps (soaked and chopped finely)
salt & pepper, to taste
fish sauce, to taste
coriander leaves, for garnishing

  • Heat oil in a wok, lightly brown the tofu.  Set aside.
  • Saute shallot and garlic until fragrant.  Add in dried shrimps, shiitake mushroom and fry until aromatic.  Then add in carrot and a splash of water.  Cook for about 2 minutes.  
  • Toss in the cooked yam abacus seeds and tofu. Add in sesame oil.
  • Season with salt, pepper and fish sauce.  Continue frying for 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

* Once frozen, the abacus seeds can be transferred into a plastic bag.  They can be frozen up to at least a month.  Cook frozen abacus seeds in boiling water before frying (no need to thaw).

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