I attended the Penang Food Blogger third gathering and was bowled over with a simple, Hakka dish brought by one of the food blogger, Min. It got me thinking of the dish so I decided to do it myself!
Hah! Nothing a Hainanese woman cannot achieve. First, I called up my eldest sister-in-law, who is my hubby’s eldest sister. They are Hakka and I thought she sure know how to do it. But she hasn’t even heard of this dish! She told me their grandmother cooks mostly Malaysian flavoured nyonya dishes.
So, I Googled and figured out the recipe myself. I steamed the yam and mashed it. Then, I discovered I have ran out of tapioca flour. But have no fear, I got plenty of tang meen fun and corn flour. I substitute the tapioca flour and actually ended up with very nice texture. I guess tapioca flour alone would make the yam coins or abacus seeds rather slimy. Using corn flour and tang meen fun makes the yam still rather floury.
Remember that I am making this yam coins based on my cooking instinct and may not be the traditional Hakka recipe. Here’s what I do :
Steam 300 grams of yams and mash it. Cutting the yam into tiny pieces will make it cook faster.
In another bowl, put in about 200 grams of tapioca flour. (in my case, I used 50 grams tang meen fun and 150 grams corn flour)
Half a cup of boiling hot water. Pour the hot water into the flour to partially cook it. Using a wooden mixing spoon, mix the flour and hot water into a ball. When cool enough to use your hands, knead the mashed yam with the ball of flour.
I added a pinch of salt, pepper and five spice powder to make the yam coins more flavourful.
When you get a nice, smooth ball of dough, roll them into oblong pieces. Just add more flour or water to get a nice ball of dough. It is hard to judge the quantity as some yams are more floury while others are watery.
(actually, after making potato gnocchi, this is easy peasy. I call this yam gnocchi, pronounced no-ki)
Make long strands of the dough, cut into tiny pieces and use your finger to press a bit. Imagine what a Chinese abacus seeds are like? Just about that size.
Boil a big pot of water and throw in the yam coins. Let them boil till they float up. Transfer into a big bowl of tepid water (room temperature water).
(the ingredients mentioned below)
Stir fry recipe
Based on what I ate at the food bloggers’ gathering, I added these to stir fry.
200 grams of minced pork, flavoured with some soya sauce, pepper and bit of corn flour
Black fungus (better to use the hardy type but I don’t have them so I use the small ears)
Stalk of Chinese celery and spring onion, cut into inch long. Chinese celery is mandatory to give the flavour.
Fist full of dried shrimps
Tiny fist full of dried squids, Jiu hoo see (the tiny strands?)
Garlic – chopped
Flavourings like some fish sauce, pepper and salt if required
1. Heat oil and stir fry the squid and dried shrimps till they are crackling and crispy
2. Add in garlic and continue stir frying
3. Add minced pork and Chinese celery
4. Add black fungus
5. Stir fry them well
6. Gently put in the yam coins and gently mix well and heat through. You need to be gentle to avoid the yam disintegrating as I have used more yam than flour to give the Hakka abacus seeds more flavour.
My Hakka hubby and Hakka sons loved the dish. So, yay! Hainanese woman won the award for stealing a Hakka recipe and making it so tasty. Next time, I am going to make them in big batches and feed them to my four Hakka sisters-in-laws and trot around proudly because Hainanese women are good cooks. Hehehe.
If you are a Hakka, can you share the real Hakka recipe with me? I have been looking around and get various versions so I do not know which to follow.