Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Abacus Beads (Suan Pan Zi)

I always wanted to make Abacus Beads (Suan Pan Zi). Which I thought very difficult to make, but I was wrong they are so simple to make. Don’t have to spend $3.00 for 1 small portion of abacus beads anymore.

Made Abacus Beads (Suan Pan Zi) today. Using Jingle’ recipe although they don’t looks appetizing but they are very tasty. Especially the yam balls I loves the texture very much very chewy it has a strong flavor of yam.

Okay let talks about the "look" of the suan pan zi. It my fault recipe asks for slice meat but I used minced meat and the dried shrimps should be roughly chopped but I put it into a grinder and finely grind!!

In fact I had make the Yam Beads too big and it look like I got more ingredients than the yam beads. Oh in my suan pan zi you won’t able to see any mushroom cause I forget to buy mushroom!!

Yam Beads (Suan Pa Zi)
Serves 2 – 4

Ingredient 1:
300 gm yam (steam & mashed)
75 gm tapioca flour

Ingredient 2:
120 gm pork meat
50 gm dried cuttlefish (soak & cut into strips)
50 gm dried prawn
8 pieces of dried mushroom (soak & cut strips)
1/2 tbsp chopped garlic

1 stalk of parsley (cut out the leave then soak in a bowl of water)
1 stalk of spring onion (cut into small pieces)

Gravy: (Mixed all these in a bowl first)
8 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of fish sauce
1/2 tbsp of oyster sauce
2 tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of pepper

1. Cut the yam into pieces and steam for ½ an hour. The yam will be soft, ready for mashing
2. Mash it while it still hot, add in tapioca flour & ¼ tsp salt to knead until it not sticky.
3. Divide the yam into 2 portions, cover the 2nd portion of the yam while you use the 1st portion of yam. This is to retain the yam temperature.
4. 1st portion of yam, take out a small portion then roll it like a ball (just like tang yuan), then you use your thumb to slightly press in the center, it will look like abacus seed. Note: If your palm too dry, damp your hands then you can start to roll the ball
5. Once you have finished the 1st portion, put all on the plate & cover it.
6. Do the 2nd portion of the yam, same as method 4.
7. Once the 2nd portion of the yam had been completed.
8. Boil water once you see bubbles, put in the yam ball into the water.
9. Then when it float, scoop it up then put it into a pot of cold water for a while, this is to get rid of the starch in the cooked yam.
10. Then drain them, and then add oil to mix them, so they will not stick together. Put them in a plate to set aside
11. If you wan to keep, from method 10, you can keep some of them in the fridge to freeze, if you think you cant finish eating them all.

12. Prepare Ingredient 2: cut the pork meat into strip then mixed them with 1/2 tbsp of tapioca flour to give a smooth surface.
13. Dried prawn wash, and drain dry, chop a bit.
14. Dried cuttlefish soak water for 10 minutes. Take out the center hard skin then cut into strips.
15. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil, add garlic, cuttlefish to fry
16. Once fragrant add mushroom, dried prawns, add 1/2 tbsp Chinese Hua Tiao Wine.
17. Add gravy: water, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar & pepper to fry.
18. Until the gravy is well mixed, add meat, fry until the meat is cooked.
19. Then add abacus seed and fish sauce to fry until there is no more gravy. Then it is cooked.
20. Dish up and garnish them with onion and parsley for serving.


Anonymous jingle26 said...

wah so nice the abacus seeds

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Connie said...


Very nice. You commented that your dish looks odd (at KC) coz you used minced meat instead of sliced meat. It is alright to use minced meat. My mil cook this with minced meat and she add some sliced mushroom and black fungus.

Good job!

Rgds, Connie

Thursday, November 24, 2005 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jas said...


Thanks for sharing the recipe. Seriously I love those Yam Beads. I should have taken the photo of the Yam Beads itself before frying them.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jas said...


Thanks, oh your mil used minced meat too. Actually I forgot to buy the mushroom but never mind. Next I’ll add in some sliced mushroom and black fungus. I guess it might be the dried shrimp then? It should be chopped but I had ground them to fine with grinder. And they look "mashie".

Thursday, November 24, 2005 1:43:00 PM  
Blogger rokh said...

my grandma use to do this for me to eat. i miss it so much.

Friday, November 25, 2005 1:32:00 AM  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

hm....its diffrent alright.....but as long as it is tasty.......who cares..

My mum used a different recipe...minced meat mixed with yam, waterchestnut, corn flour and seasoning and wrapped them up with pork lard web....deep fried..

Friday, November 25, 2005 7:28:00 PM  
Anonymous gina said...

jas, I've shared the hakka yam beads recipe at KC too. ages ago. also uses minced meat. I think you add too much sauce with thickening, thus it looks mashy. must quickly stir fry the minced meat. Should not have so much sauce unless you want to do the soup version..have u tried soup version? recipe at KC, as usual.

Friday, November 25, 2005 7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm..i was wondering where i could get the recipe for the suan pan does look yummy...where's kc?

Saturday, November 26, 2005 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jas said...


True true... Jingle Abacus Beads it real tasty. In fact I ate some with Yam ball with light soy sauce and drizzle it with some cooked oil. Yum yum... Your mom has a way of interesting cooking style. Sound yummy too!

Saturday, November 26, 2005 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jas said...


Oh, I must have overlook but you mention ages ago. Hmm... I haven’t been browning much in KC. Is there a soup version? No, I haven’t tried any soup version. I don’t think I have seen any soup version before. Was it a self-create dish of yours? Sound interesting. ^^

Saturday, November 26, 2005 7:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jas said...


I had post the recipe. Hope you’ll like it.

Saturday, November 26, 2005 7:23:00 PM  
Anonymous gina said...

jas, no, not self create dish. was in my dad's family Hakka dishes. My dad is true blue Hakka. His dad was a coffee shop owner in Taiping, Malaysia selling Hakka food. if you can figure out how to make Suan Pan Zi, then you will know how to make the Hakka Soon kueh. the dough used is the same. but people prefer to eat dry version. my mom said the older folks prefer the soup version.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jas said...

Oh I see, my grandpa (dad’s dad) is a Malaysian Hakka. My aunt (grandpa’s daughter) only makes us the Dry Suan Pan Zi on the CNY.

Hmm... Individually can’t please everyone’s with a dish. But I still prefer the dry version. ^^

Friday, December 09, 2005 12:27:00 PM  
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007 2:53:00 AM  
Anonymous phoebe said...

hi there,

wonderful website

i am currently in australia and is really missing chinese food, so thought of making them myself.

uhm, i am just wondering, is it allright to replace tapioca flour with corn flour? (i am really green to the kitchen)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 8:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog and I can say You're just WONDERFUL !! I've been looking for most of these recipes and found them here. Great inspiration to me to start my cooking and baking.

Also I like you sense of humour. Thanks even though I do not know you, but it feels like I've known you for decades....LOL....

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger pedro velasquez said...

Suan pan zhi, bet basketball or yam abacus seeds, was always a bit of a mystery to me growing up. I'd only ever see it and eat it in 1 place at Ah Pak (my Dad's paternal cousin and the current patriarch of the Soh clan) and his wife Pak Meh's house. And only ever on the first day of Chinese New Year. sportsbook Some years we'd get a tasting bowl of it while visiting, some years it wouldn't even be there (I think those years we got to Ah Pak's too late). march madness All I knew was that suan pan zhi was a very old school Hakka delicacy, and it was bloody tasty with a lot of bite. So as part of my project to chase down my culinary inheritance, I entreated Pak Meh through my parents to teach me how to make this dish while I was in Singapore for Chinese New Year this year.

Saturday, April 24, 2010 12:50:00 AM  

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