Sunday, January 03, 2010

Abacus Beads/Suin Poon Tzi

I remember eating this dish many years ago in Malaysia. There is a small café at PJ Old Town that served this dish and I remember ordering it each time I visit that them. ‘Suin Poon Tzi’ (算盘子) or Abacus Beads is a popular Chinese Hakka dish. Even though I am a Hokkien but I just love Hakka dishes like Yong Tau Foo, Kau Yoke and Char Yoke. Abacus Beads is very similar to the making of Italian gnocchi but instead of potato we use yam or taro. The yam or taro is steamed, mashed and mixed with tapioca flour to form into dough. It is shape to resemble beads on an abacus. They are boiled in water until it floats. Once boiled these beads has a soft on the outside with a nice fragrance of taro and chewy on the inside texture from the tapioca flour. The beads can be stir-fried with vegetables, meat or anything your like.

Ingredients for dough:

450 gram taro/yam, cleaned, peeled and thinly sliced
170 gram tapioca starch
½ tsp salt

1. Steam taro until soft and mashed while it is hot.
2. Add the tapioca starch and salt in a bowl and add the hot taro paste to it. Stir well and when it cools down a bit knead it to form into smooth dough. (If the dough is too dry add a bit of water and if the dough is too soft add a bit more tapioca starch)
3. Pinch a piece of the dough (size of a marble) and roll into a ball and gently press in the centre with your thumb to make a deep dimple. Do the same to the rest of the dough.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Drop in the beads and once it floats, let it boil for another 30 seconds. Remove the beads with a slotted spoon. Set it aside for further use.

Ingredients for stir-fry:

2 shallots – thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic – chopped
1 chicken breast – cut into small cubes
1 small carrot - peel and cut into small cubes
4 Chinese mushroom – soaked till soft and sliced
2 pieces of dried wood ears or black fungus, soaked and thinly sliced
Some spring onions – cut small for garnish
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
3 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
¼ cup chicken stock or water
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a frying pan. Add about 2 tbsp of oil and stir-fry shallots and garlic until fragrant and lightly brown.
2. Add in meat, carrots, mushroom and black fungus. Stir-fry for a minutes until the meat changes color and cooked.
3. Add in the abacus beads, all the seasonings and chicken stock. Stir-fry for a minute until well mixed. Check seasoning.
4. Dish out and sprinkle with spring onions. Served warm.


Food For Tots said...

I love Hakka dishes too esp lei cha and o ni (yam dessert). Suin Poon Tzi is also my favourite. Your homemade version looks fantastic! So delicious!! ;)

ann low said...

Yes, I also love this dish very much. I remember some Hakkas also added dried cuttlefish in it. Your version looks simple and delicious.

vanillasugarblog said...

I love when you make dishes like this. I would love to try this.

mycookinghut said...

I have never heard this dish before.. it's great to learn new things!! You are really a great cook!

Sayantani said...

wow that looks incredible!

Little Corner of Mine said...

I have never tested this abacus beads before, would love to try it. Someone cook for me please because I'm lazy to make my own. :P

Lisa Ho said...

this dish is one of the 'must haves' every Chinese New Year's eve for my in-laws..

Reanaclaire said...

in my whole entire life, i took this abacus thingy 2 times only.. first time in malacca jonkers street and another time in ipoh garden east during cny, a lady was selling this at a 5 foot way. Not to say i love it very much but they are very nice to bite.. spongy in a way... :) now even if i want to eat that, i dont know where to get them.. anyway, thanks for sharing the receipe ...

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

You love yam, don't you? ;) I learnt 2 dishes from a family friend who is Hakka - Lor Pak Kou and Suin Poon Tzi. And I find Suin Poon Tzi requires more work. So, I applaud you for making this. Your abacus beads are so uniform in size. And the final product looks soooo delicious!

tracieMoo said...

Yum. I should learn how 2 to this.. it looks delicious. Nope I've never had thiss.. I'm so tempted to try it now :)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I love this !! I must learn and cook it soon. For time being, I still buy the ready made one from the wet market.

Anonymous said...

I love this dish and always wanted to make them but waiting for a good and reliable recipe. I have it now!!! Thanks!

Yan said...

looks like you are ready for CNY....

My Mom and sis requests that I do this dish for CNY as well.... done it twice so far... steady FA FA FA...


Pei-Lin said...

This is my all-time fave though I'm not a bit of Hakka! In fact, we do make it at home ... It's been a while since we last made it ... Yours is simpler ... I noticed you did leave out choi poh though ... Hard to find there?


yours deliciously said...

Yum! Its been ages since I had this..

ICook4Fun said...

Food for Tots, thank you. I have yet to try lei cha. I am going to try it when I go back to KL in Feb :)

Anncoo, yes this is a simple version with less ingredients :)

Dawn, why you have to live so far away. If not I can always let you try some :)

Leemei, you have to try this the next time you go back to Malaysia.

Sayantani, thank you.

LCOM, try this dish out the next time you go back to Malaysia.

Ho Ho Ho, yes I heard that Hakka people eat this during CNY.

Reanaclaire, I think not many people make this dish nowadays. If you can find some Hakka restaurant I am sure they still serve this.

ICook4Fun said...

Ju, I love yam. If I buy one I have to find ways to finish it up. Sometime I am able to make 3 dishes out of it that is why you see quite a few recipes here using Yam :)

TracieMoo, do try this out :)

Sonia, this is not very difficult to make. Hope you will try it out someday :)

Ellie, let me know how yours turn out :)

Yan, ha ha... yeap CNY is not too far away :)

Pei-Lin, I am not a big fan of choi poh that is why I omit it. Yea I am able to get choi poh here.

Yours deliciously, thanks for stopping by.

A Full-Timed Housefly said...

I love this and used to cook this for my family , my hub is a Hakka and I lerrnt to cook this dish from my sis-in-law. I like adding crispy shredded cuttlefish to it , yours look real nice !

Cheah said...

I like this dish, chewy and spongy. Think this is a Hakka dish. Your recipe seems easy to follow.

CaThY said...

can I check 6oz of tapioca starch is equal to how many grams? Tks.

Gracianne said...

Very interesting recipe, and very unuasual for me. I love taro. Thanks for sharing.

And happy new year to you.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

I don't believe I've seen this before. But looking at the recipe, I think I'd like it.

Interested to know what you think of "Lui Cha" (what they call it here in Kuching) when you do try it.

Joyce Teamo said...

So glad to see this on Tastespotting! I'm Hakka,and love this dish. Finally someone makes a footprint of this dish on the world map :)! Bravo!

Rebecca @ Inside Cuisine said...

Don't know much about Hakka so really appreciate this post - taro is delicious - thank you @frombecca

Wen said...

Thanks for this! I'm a Singaporean Hakka and was deighted to see this. My Dad's cousin makes this every Chinese New Year and I hope to learn from her how to make this this Feb. Happy to have your recipe to check against too!

Wen @goingwithmygut

ICook4Fun said...

Full-timed Housefly, I like cuttlefish too but I don't have any so I didn't add any :)

Cheah, me too. I like the bite of it.

Cathy, is about 170 grms.

Gracianne, thank you andHappy New Year to you too.

Nate & Annie, I never try Lui Cha yet but it is something I am going to try out when I go back to KL in February.

Joyce, thank you :)

Rebecca, thanks for stopping by and you are welcome.

Wen, thanks for stopping by and your comment.

Jason Wong said...

Good day! I have recently received an inquiry regarding the use of tapioca starch or tapioca flour the the abacus yam beats recipe because it states both in you post.

A check shows that the both are the same, and they have an alternate name which s Cassava Flour.

ICook4Fun said...

Hi Jason, tapioca starch or tapioca flour they are the same. In the US we call tapioca cassava :)