Yee sang, a colourful salad used during Chinese New Year. Served on a big plate or tray, it consists of freshly shredded vegetables, fruits, fried crackers and fresh fish. This recipe uses ingredients which are typically served during Chinese New Year in Malaysia and Singapore.
There are many different types of combinations of ingredients that can be used. Tossing yee sang is great way to celebrate the festive season with family, friends and colleagues as the dish itself symbolizes abundance and prosperity.
History of Yee sang
This prosperity toss salad started from the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore as yee sang is not known in China or other Chinese dominant countries until the recent years. The idea of yee sang, however does reflect the Cantonese tradition of enjoying the flavours of fresh fishes.
Other combinations of ingredients in yee sang
Besides the ingredients listed in the recipe, there are many other ingredients you can use for yee sang. Here is a list of ingredients you can pick from to assemble yours.
|Fish||Fresh salmon, smoked salmon, raw wolf herring, jelly fish (sold fresh or prepacked in Asian grocers), abalone|
|Vegetables||Carrot, capsicum, turnips, pickled ginger, white radish, red radish, green radish, kaffir lime leaves, red cabbage, jicama, coriander, pickled leeks, onions, pickled cucumber, spring onions|
|Nuts||Roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds|
|Fruits||Pomelo, mango, mandarin oranges, young mango, papaya|
|Crackers||Wheat crackers, fried coloured taro, fried wantan wrapper strips|
|Dressing||Sesame oil, oil, pepper, plum sauce, kumquat sauce, rice vinegar, white pepper, five spice powder|
Modern yee sang now uses all sorts of meat such as grilled eel or even char siu. Fruits such as strawberries or grapes are also added. Some restaurants add truffles in theirs making it very exquisite and different from the traditional yee sang.
The idea is to keep the yee sang colourful and to ensure that you'll be able to hold the ingredients with chopsticks and toss them high up.
How to prepare yee sang?
It is best to prepare yee sang in two or three separate days because of the many ingredients which require its own preparation. Here is a suggestion on time management to prepare yee sang.
Day 1: Fry crackers. They can be kept in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. Day 2: Prepare shredded vegetables and fruits. Pound peanuts if preferred. Day 3: Assemble all ingredients and serve together with dressing.
How to eat yee sang?
The general rule to eating this dish is to toss the ingredients as high as possible using chopsticks while expressing well wishes for the new year. The act of tossing the salad is referred to as ‘lou hei’ which translates to moving upwards in Cantonese.
It is believed that the higher you toss, the better your luck will be in the upcoming year. The ritual is to toss the mixed ingredients high in the air while shouting 'Lou Hey' which literally means to 'move upwards'.
Of course, you may say other well wishes that comes to mind with every toss. That is why it is not a surprise to have a messy table after tossing Yee Sang. I definitely would not mind especially if it brings forth good fortune. After all, it is the wish for our fortunes to rise and expand during the forthcoming year.