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).