Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds - Vegetarian

This month's Aspiring Bakers is about Heirloom and Local Dialect Recipes (家传菜/籍贯菜). My dialect group is Heng Hwa (兴化). When I was still in school many years ago, at that time, hardly anybody nobody knows what is Heng Hwa. So when people happened to ask my dialect group, I would always reply, "Oh, I'm Hokkien", to avoid people asking further and save the trouble of explaining. Now, most people know Heng Hwa, if they don't know, tell them Putien (our famous local restaurant that serves Heng Hwa cuisine), they will know. ;P

In my family, only my father knows how to speak Heng Hwa, this language is going to 失传 soon (in my family). Even the dishes also hardly appear at home. I do love the Heng Hwa noodles, so we eat occasionally at the restaurant. No surprise that this post is not going to be about any Heng Hwa dishes (such a regret). In fact, I'm more attached to Hakka dishes, influenced by my mum. I love Hakka Yong Tau Foo 客家酿豆腐 especially.

This year's Chinese New Year, since there's plenty of yam at home, I decided to try making Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds (客家算盘子) for the first time. This is a vegetarian version so that my parents can enjoy the dish too.

Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds (客家算盘子)

Abacus seeds
200g yam, peeled and cut into slices
60-80g tapioca flour (I prefer less flour)
A pinch of salt

1 tbsp sesame oil
2 slices ginger, shredded
50g dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and shredded
50g black fungus, soaked and shredded
50g carrot, shredded
50g long beans, diced (or any green vege)
1 piece of firm beancurd, shredded and fried
1 red chilli, chopped (optional)

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce


Abacus seeds
1. Steam the yam for 15 minutes or until soft. Remove and mash the yam with a fork while still hot.
2. Add tapioca flour and a small pinch of salt to the yam paste, knead well to form a dough. (I just add enough flour until the dough is not sticky anymore, as I prefer more yam than flour.)
3. Roll the dough into small balls. To shape them into abacus seads, press the centre of each ball with the thumb and finger to make a slight indentation.
4. Cook the abacus seeds in a pot of boiling water until they float to the surface when done. Quickly remove the abacus seeds and transfer into a bowl of cold water. Then drain well, mix with a little cooking oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

1. Heat sesame oil in a wok. Add the ginger and mushroom and stir fry until fragrant.
2. Add in black fungus, carrot, long beans and fried beancurd and stir well. Add some water and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
3. Add in seasoning sauce and stir well.
4. Add in the abacus seeds, simmer for 1-2 minutes till the sauce thickens. Stir in the chopped chillies and serve.

* For non-vegetarian version, you can add minced pork and dried shrimp.

I am submitting this dish to Aspiring Bakers #29:Heirloom and Local Dialect Recipes 家传菜/籍贯菜 (March 2013) hosted by FHL of Faith Hope Love.

Friday, March 15, 2013

8 December 2012 - Legoland Malaysia (Part 2)

To continue from my previous post of my trip to Legoland Malaysia (Part 1), this Part 2 is all about MINILAND! I recommend you to save some time (maybe around 1 hour at least) for Miniland. It took 3 years and more than 30 million LEGO® bricks to recreate some of Asia’s best known landmarks from 17 Asian countries in detailed miniature. Best of all, some of the Lego structures are animated! Do take a closer look at them, there are some very interesting scenes and figures if you have a sharp eye for details.


As a Singaporean, I, of course, love the all the familiar landmarks all created with the Lego bricks. It is really amazing as they are built so real and exactly the same!

One of my favourite is the Singapore Flyer. It is turning!

Another favourite is our Singapore's Merlion with the Fullerton Hotel.

Riverside Point and Singapore River.

How I wish they can create the whole of Marina Bay, including Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay!


A fairly large part of the Miniland is dedicated to famous landmarks in Johor, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, of course!

Petronas Twin Towers

KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport)

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Old Railway Station


Port Tanjung Pelepas, Johor


Landmarks from other Asian countries. Excuse me for not being able to identify all the landmarks as I'm not so well-travelled. I think I missed Vietnam.

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Thailand

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Taj Mahal, India

Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Brunei

Bolinao, Philippines

Karaweik Hall, Myanmar

Patuxai, Laos


If you go during weekends, school holidays or public holidays, when the opening hours is extended to 8pm and if you go by your own transport, I suggest you can stay later until the lights are on. The Miniland will be illuminated with lights and I think it will be a very wonderful experience. I did not have the chance!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Aspiring Bakers #28: Chicken Feast (Feb 2013) - Roundup

Finally, here's the roundup for our Chicken Feast theme. We have many new bloggers joining us this time. Thank you to our new friends and also all our long-time supporters of AB. Yeah!

Here are all the 70 delicious chicken dishes. Scroll down and enjoy! I am quite sure you will pick one and cook tonight!!

1. Braised Chicken Wings with Mushroom by Vivian Pang of Vivian Pang Kitchen

2. Festive Golden Five Spice Chicken by Peng of Peng's Kitchen

3. 南乳苹果烤鸡 by Peng of Peng's Kitchen

4. Hainanese Chicken Rice by Jasline of Foodie Baker

5. Mulligatawny with chicken by Joey of Little Accidents in the Kitchen

6. 香兰炸鸡卷 by 雷切儿 of Simple Life... Simple Love...

7. 中式“仁当”鸡 by 雷切儿 of Simple Life... Simple Love...

8. Samgyetang, Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup by Lirong of .L.I.R.O.N.G.

9. Yomeishu Baked Chicken by Agnes of AgnesBakes

10. Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry by Mich of Piece of Cake

11. 贵妃鸡卷 by Jozelyn Ng of 我的烹饪食谱

13. 冬菇焖鸡肉块 Stew Chicken with Mushroom by xing hui of 美味情缘

14. Braised Chicken with Ocean Bamboo & Anka by Peng of Peng's Kitchen

15. 胜券在握的白斩鸡 (Hainan Chicken) by Aunty Young of Aunty Young

16. Steeped Herbal Chicken Rolls by Jac of Sassezz's Kitchen

17. Mandarin Orange Chicken by Jac of Sassezz's Kitchen

19. Braised Ang Zhao Chicken with Arrowhead (ngaku) by Ivy Sew of Simply beautiful and healthy living

20. Chicken Lor Bak by Ching of Little Corner of Mine

21. Nonya Chicken Curry by Daphne of More Than Words

23. Coca-Cola Chicken by SSB of Small Small Baker

24. Chicken in Tomato and Vinegar Sauce by Kimmy of Cooking Pleasure

25. EZ Pan Fried Chicken Curry by Kimmy of Cooking Pleasure

26. Nam Yee Drummettes and Wings by Lisa H. of From My Lemony Kitchen...

27. 大小脚 by 雷切儿 of Simple Life... Simple Love...

28. 柠檬鸡扒 Lemon Chicken Chop by xing hui of 美味情缘

29. 海南白斩鸡 by ANNA TAY of 小雨伞的天空

30. Poached Chicken With Ginger And Spring Onion Dip by Elin of Elinluv's Tidbits Corner

31. 凉拌菜~泰式玻璃鸡脚 by 雷切儿 of Simple Life... Simple Love...

32. Clay Pot Stuffed Chicken Wings by Choo Doris of Sumptuous Flavours

33. Ayam Buah Keluak by Alan of travellingfoodies

34. Lemon Honey Chicken by Kimmy of Cooking Pleasure

35. 蜜汁鸡 Honey Chicken by xing hui of 美味情缘

36. Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup / SamGyeTang (韩国人参鸡汤) by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders

37. Kung Pao Chicken by Resh of Daily Cuppa

39. Clay Pot Chicken Drumstick With Shitake & Button Mushrooms by Choo Doris of Sumptuous Flavours

40. Sesame Roasted Chicken by Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY

41. 清蒸沙姜鸡 by Peng of Peng's Kitchen

42. My Favourite Roast Chicken with Malt Whisky and Mixed Herbs by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders

43. Soy Sauce Chicken by Adeline of Lite Home Bake

44. 沙爹鸡 by sean of 阿娴当家

45. Emperor’s Chicken by Helen Pang of The Dessert Fanatic

46. Double Boiled D.O.M Chicken by April Lim of rainbow28

48. Double-Boiled Herbal Chicken Soup by Choo Doris of Sumptuous Flavours

49. Fried Chicken Cubes with Honey Peas 滑炒雞球 by New Kid On The Blog (NKOTB) of My Love • My Food

50. 香辣紅咖哩雞~ Ayam masak merah by 蚊子 mosQ of 蚊子的天空

51. Lemon Chicken by Lvna of Faith Hope Love

52. Salted Eggs Yolk Chicken by April Lim of rainbow28

54. 如意鸡(Prosperity Chicken) by May Law of 厨苑食谱

55. Ayam Masak Merah by Doreen/mui of my little favourite DIY

56. Mix Sauce Pan Fried Chicken Wings by MnYfoodtalk of MnYfoodtalk

57. 奶油鸡 by sean of 阿娴当家

58. Sesame Oil Chicken (麻油鸡) by foodplayground of foodplayground

60. Five Spice Fried Chicken Wings by foodplayground of foodplayground

61. 茶树菇红枣蒸鸡腿 by Yoon Lai of Hui Khee & Yoon Lai's Colourful Life

62. 美式香辣鸡翼(Buffalo Wings) by May Law of 厨苑食谱

63. Clay-Pot Chicken With Mushrooms & Bamboo Shoot by Choo Doris of Sumptuous Flavours

64. Steam Chicken 私房菜蒸雞 by New Kid On The Blog (NKOTB) of My Love • My Food

65. Bovril Chicken with Potatoes by Peng of Peng's Kitchen

66. 蚝菇虫草花枸杞蒸鸡 by Yoon Lai of Hui Khee & Yoon Lai's Colourful Life

68. Hainanese chicken rice by Lirong of .L.I.R.O.N.G.

69. 'M' style chicken nuggets by Doreen/mui of my little favourite DIY

70. 蒜爆雞塊 Garlic Fried Chicken by New Kid On The Blog (NKOTB) of My Love • My Food

New Theme for March

The theme for this month is: Aspiring Bakers #29: Heirloom and Local Dialect Recipes (家传菜/籍贯菜) (Mar 2013), hosted by FHL of Faith Hope Love . The closing date is: 4 April 2013. All entries will be complied and posted on 5 April 2013.

Please continue to support Aspiring Bakers!

For those who are new to our Aspiring Bakers monthly event, do also check up our past themes and roundups and also our upcoming themes on my Aspiring Bakers Page.

If you will like to host this wonderful event, please email me at, the month/year that you want to host and your suggested theme.