Yam Abacus

March 22, 2013
Yam Abacus

Oh Yes...as you could see the photo above, its another 'brown' food again. 

Well... soy sauce and oyster sauce are two most commonly used in almost every Chinese cooking. That, more or less 'dictate' the outlook of any dish.

Yam Abacus is made of mashed yam and tapioca flour.

Yam abacus is a traditional dish for one of the Chinese 'clans', namely Hakka Chinese.... and H is of Hakka heritage. 

Will this brown dish be cooked again for 2014 Chinese New Year meal?
its a definitive "YES".. Everyone loved it.

And if you have 2 growing up, forever hungry teenagers (like mine), living in the house... double the portion... Don't be alarm if you hear some noises coming from the kitchen...its not a BIG FAT rat, but teens snacking on abacus in the wee hour   ....

Have a good rest and a wonderful weekend...

Lisa H.
Chinese Yam Abacus


Yam Abacus

 click to Print Recipe

Preparing abacus
300 g frozen yam (from Asian grocer) 
150 g tapioca flour
boiling hot water

2 tablespoon dried prawns - soaked
3 garlic - chopped
2 tablespoon golden fried shallots (store bought)
4 tablespoon canola oil
5 boneless chicken thigh cut into strips (or chicken mince)
3 chinese dried mushroom - soaked and thinly sliced
3 black fungus - soaked and thinly sliced
1 cube Maggi chicken stock
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
salt to taste

Step 1 ~ Preparing the abacus
  1. Cut the yam into chunks, steamed and mashed. 
  2. Add tapioca flour and mix. 
  3. Add hot water, a little at a time (be careful not to scald your precious hand!!!) into a pliable dough. 
  4. Shape into small ball (a size of a big marble), flattened slightly into a disc and make a dimple on each side. 
  5. Bring 2 liter of water to boil. 
  6. Drop the abacus into the rapidly boiling water. 
  7. The abacus will be cooked once it started to float. 
  8. Using a slotted spoon, dish the abacus out and transfer to a bowl of cold water. 
  9. Set aside then drain, when we are ready to cook.
Step 2 ~ Cooking 
  1. Heat up canola oil, saute garlic until fragrant. 
  2. Add in dried prawns and stir until aromatic. 
  3. Add chicken strips, mushrooms, black fungus. 
  4. Stir for another 5-8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 
  5. Add in soy sauce, chicken cube stock, and all seasoning with about 1/2 cup of water. 
  6. Season with salt (if needed to). 
  7. Bring the mixture to boil. 
  8. Add in the drained abacus and stir until the mixture thicken. 
  9. Taste again before dishing out into a bowl. 
  10. Garnish with golden fried shallots. 
  11. Serve with steamed rice.


  1. Hi Lisa
    I got to try this out one day. I have never eaten fried "abacus yam" but I bet this dish taste super delicious because I am a yam lover.

  2. Tq for sharing this marvelous recipe.. Insyaallah will try..

  3. Hi Lisa, would like to invite you to our Aspiring Bakers event this month for local dialect dishes. :)

    Check here:

  4. That is an interesting dish! I have never heard of this dish before...



    1. I dont think this is serve in Chinese restaurant :)

  5. I love this but I haven't had it in years!!!!! Hmm... maybe I should get some frozen yam on my next trip to Chinatown! A trip is due as I've ran out of so many things. :)

    1. Happy shopping... I always ended with a basket full of stuff that is not on my list :P

  6. I love these delicious traditional dish!!!

  7. it's been years since i had these! and i remember they tasted pretty good! i like the dimples/imprints on the discs ~ it's cute^^ and makes the dish somehow more interesting and tastier (??) ^^

    1. I guess the dimples/imprints gave this dish some character :P

  8. Hi Lisa! That sounds like a lot of work... but with the 2 young and hungry teens liking and appreciating your cooking, I'm sure it was all worth the effort! :D

  9. This looks so yummy. I assume this is a traditional Asian dish? Dried mushrooms, prawns, black fungus - this sounds soo gooooood!

    1. It is traditional Asian dish, and its not a dish can be found in Chinese Restaurant too :D

  10. I've never had this dish, but everything you make is delicious and make me want to try!
    BTW congrats on Top 100 mom food blogs! I saw your name!! :)

    1. Thanks Nami, it would go unnoticed if not for you. I hardly check my junk mail :)

  11. This is so delicious, Lisa. Can't remember at all when I last had some yam at all. Sighs...

  12. I have never tried yam abacus before, it looks yummy! Nanti u masak bagi, k? :)

  13. Lovely, I could eat this alone as a meal, without the rice. Springy yam abacus, hmm ...

  14. Hello,

    Great blog I will try this yam Abacus in my home, and hope so as delicious as show in pictures.

    Thanks For Sharing.

  15. Never prepared Abacus by myself before, so I was decided to make it out and was looking for a good recipe with instruction. This recipe post definitely helped to get good knowledge about preparing yum abacus. Thanks for nice sharing.
    benefits of abacus