Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Abacus Beads (算盘子) That My Wife Cooked For Me

Sometime ago my wife and I was watching a programme on TV which introduced food native to certain cultures and countries. It so happened that the dish the TV show "served" for us was the famous Abacus Beads (Suan Pan Zi aka 算盘子)from the Hakka tribe. Yours, truly me was really intrigued as I had never seen anything like it before even though my late mom is a Hakka. Hence I jokingly asked my wife who is Teochew if she could cook this cuisine for me one day. Ha :D

The 2 most important ingredients: Yam (left) and Tapioca starch.

The next day (Sunday) my wife asked me to bring him to the market to buy some yam or also known as taro. I asked her what she wanted to do with the yam? She said, "I am going to make abacus dish for you later!" Aww...I was instantly touched with my wife's gesture. In fact, like me, my wife has never heard of this Abacus Beads before, let alone cooking this seemingly weird cuisine. After grabbing our yam, off we headed home. On our way home, I kept on wondering how my wife was going to make those beads. :p

Behold~abacus beads. :)

My dearest wife put me in charge of looking after Jordan boy while she was busy preparing the dish for us. (1) First thing first my wife cut the skinned yam into smaller pieces steamed it for around half an hour. (2) After that she immediately mashed the steamed yam which was hot and soft. (3) While mashing, my wife added some tapioca flour and salt, and continue to knead the yam until it is not sticky anymore. Then my wife started to make the abacus beads. (4) Small portions of the yam was taken and rolled into the shape of a ball. So right now it would look like your "tang yuan". (5) Then use your thumb to press the middle part of the ball and voila~you would get your abacus bead.

Then all the abacus beads must be boiled.

Soaked them in cold water once they started to float.

Later all the abacus beads would be boiled. (6) Wifey put some water on the wok and boil it. (7) Once little bubbles start bursting out, all the bead-looking yam were put into the boiling water. (8) When all the abacus beads started to float (they were cooked) my wife scooped them up and put them into a huge bowl of cold water. Why? My wife said it was done to get rid of the starch. Ouh~ (9) Then my wife heat some oil and started to stir fry both the garlic and dried little shrimps. (10) Once the fragrance has been scented, my wife added all the abacus beads and fried them with "gentle" heat. (11) Last but not least, my wife added some chopped onion leaves before everything was scooped up and served.

These are the ingredients needed: dried shrimp, minced garlic and onion leaves.

Stirred fry the abacus beads until they give out fragrance.

The talented chef-my beloved wife.

Besides abacus beads, my wife also cooked for us spicy dried shrimp and mixed vegetable (cauliflower, lantern chilly and beans). The vegetables were crunchy; the red-looking chilly dried shrimp was delicious, and the abacus beads? OMG! The abacus beads that my wife cooked were totally out of this world. The beads were a bit chewy and tender at the same time. I don't know how to describe it vividly. All I knew was my taste buds were totally shocked. :)

Our simple, yet delicious dinner is set.

I simply love the abacus beads that my wife cooked for us.

Hereby I wanna thank my beloved wife for taking all the trouble to cook this abacus beads dish for me. It was my wife's very first attempt and she cooked it like a genuine Hakka. Amazingly nobody taught her how to cook this dish. A sheer genius huh! So when can you cook me these abacus beads again wifey? Ha :D

They sure look like real abacus beads huh!

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