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5 from 6 votes

Hakka Taro (Yam) Abacus Seeds - 客家算盘子

These authentic and delicious Hakka Taro (Yam) Abacus Seeds have a chewy and QQ texture that is so addictive and you can't just stop with one bite. It's perfect for any meal of the day! Give this a try and enjoy them with your friends and family.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Hakka
Keyword: Taro
Servings: 3
Author: woonheng


Taro Abacus Seeds Dough

  • 250 g taro
  • 125 g tapioca starch
  • pinch of salt
  • water to cook the taro

Toppings and Seasoning

  • 4 oz firm tofu mashed
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup sliced wood ear mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon vegan 'oyster' sauce
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce or to taste
  • 3 stalks of green onion white and green parts separated
  • a handful of chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup water or veggie stock
  • white pepper


How to prepare the Taro Abacus Seeds

  • Remove the outer layer skin until you still the white flesh with purple specks.
  • Cut into smaller cubes and place them in a small pot.
  • Add enough water to cover the taro, bring it to a rolling boil, then cook the taro until it's tender.
  • Transfer cooked taro cubes into a bowl (if it has too much moisture, drain out some of the water).
  • Mash taro with a potato masher until it turns into a fine paste. Season with white pepper and a pinch of salt.
  • Gradually add in the tapioca flour and mix it well with a spatula. Once it's cool to handle, knead the mixture into a soft dough.
  • To make the taro abacus seeds, pinch about a teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball.
  • Then, using your thumb and index finger, pinch the middle of the ball to make a dent. Continue until you are done with all the dough. Cover the taro pasta to prevent them from drying out.

How to cook and serve

  • To cook the taro abacus, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.
  • Add in the taro pasta and cook until they float to the top. Using a sieve, strain and transfer to a bowl of cold water.
  • Then, drain and place taro pasta on a cleaned plate and rub them with a drizzle of oil. Set aside or store in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Heat a non-stick pan with oil and sauté shallots until they turn translucent. Then, add in the mushrooms and cook until fragrant.
  • Push the ingredients to the side of the pan and add in the tofu (add more oil if needed) and sauté tofu until golden brown.
  • Add the wood ear mushrooms, garlic, white part of green onions, seasoning and water. Bring the mixture to boil and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the taro abacus seeds and toss to mix all ingredients together. Taste test and season accordingly. You can add a drizzle of dark soy sauce for color if preferred.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions. Serve warm.


For a homemade version vegan 'oyster' sauce, give this Vegan Umami Stir Fry sauce a try. 
While handling the taro, some sap will make your hand itchy, so wear a glove if you prefer.