One of my favourite vegetarian dishes is the well-known Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds which originates from Dapu County of Guangdong province in China.
The yam abacus is made of cooked yam powder, and rolled into small balls shaped like an abacus, which signifies reunion and careful calculation. I really like this dish, because it is one of the family's specialty dishes.
Ten years of vegetarianism has made me feel that all living beings are equal, which is why I have unconsciously developed kindness towards everything and do not wish to harm any animals. Since I changed my dietary habit, I feel my eyes have become different and so has my perspective about life. I have developed a lot of perceptions and thoughts about life and the environment, and I could clearly understand that every life on the earth are valuable. Naturally, I feel that my vision has become clearer and gentler.
Some people think that being vegetarian is difficult. The truth is, as long as you are determined, you can still stick to your own dietary principles, and not be easily affected by external factors such as the objections from family members or discouragement from friends nor even environmental constraints.
Here is my recipe for Yam Abacus Seeds:
- 600g of yam (peeled, diced, steamed and mashed)
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp of Tapioca flour
- 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water till it is softened, sliced)
- 1 cup of mock char siew
- 3 tbsp of vegetable cooking oil
- ½ a cup of chopped parsley
- 3 cups of water
- 4 tbsp of vegetarian oyster sauce, 2 tbsp of black soy sauce, ½ tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of sesame oil, ½ tsp of white pepper
- Mix the mashed yam and tapioca flour (1 cup) into dough and knead until it becomes smooth.
- Divide the yam dough equally and roll them into 2cm balls to form the shape of an abacus, and then gently press the centre of the ball with index finger.
- Bring the water to boil in a pan and put in the yam balls.
- Cook the yam balls with medium heat, stir slowly, and cook until the balls float. Remove the balls from the pan and put them in cold water and set aside.
- Heat up the vegetable oil and saute the shiitake mushrooms. Add mock char siew, vegetarian oyster sauce and black soy sauce, and fry for about 30 seconds.
- Add water and cook with medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in the yam balls and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of tapioca flour, sugar and a bit of water into a bowl and mix evenly, pour the mixture into the pan and stir well with the ingredients and it is ready for serving.
(Translated by Chong Sin Yin)