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Authentic Chinese Yu Sheng Recipe for Lunar New Year

If you're looking for a dish that's both delicious and steeped in tradition, you might want to try making Chinese Yu Sheng. Get ready to add some vibrant luck to your Chinese New Year celebrations with this iconic dish - Yu Sheng! A colourful salad made with shredded vegetables, fruits, crunchy crackers, and fresh fish, it is believed to bring good fortune and prosperity to those who indulge in its delicious flavors. Serve it up on a grand platter to enjoy the full experience of this auspicious dish.

A colorful array of shredded vegetables, raw fish slices, and various condiments arranged on a large plate, ready to be mixed together for a traditional Chinese yu sheng dish

Historically, Yu Sheng was a dish that originated in Malaysia and Singapore, but it has since spread to other parts of the world. The dish is typically made with ingredients that are served during Chinese New Year, such as daikon radish, carrot, cucumber, and various types of fish. The fish used in Yu Sheng is typically raw, and it can be anything from salmon to tuna to abalone.

If you're interested in making Yu Sheng, you'll need to gather the right ingredients and prepare them properly. The dish requires a bit of chopping and shredding, but it's not difficult to make. Once you've prepared the ingredients, you'll need to toss them together with your family and friends. The tossing process is an important part of the Yu Sheng experience, as it's believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who participate.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese Yu Sheng is a traditional dish that's popular during Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • The dish is typically made with shredded vegetables, fruits, fried crackers, and fresh fish.
  • Yu Sheng is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who eat it, and it's traditionally tossed together with family and friends.

Historical Significance

A table set with various ingredients for Chinese Yu Sheng, including fish, vegetables, and sauces, surrounded by traditional Chinese decorations

Origins and Traditions

Yu Sheng, also known as Yee Sang or Lo Hei, is a traditional Chinese dish that is commonly consumed during the Lunar New Year in Singapore and Malaysia. The dish, which consists of a variety of shredded vegetables and raw fish, is believed to have originated from the Guangdong province in China.

The dish has a long history dating back to the Qing Dynasty, where it was first introduced as a simple salad dish. Over time, the dish evolved to become a symbol of prosperity and good fortune. The dish is traditionally served on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year, which is known as Renri or "Human Day".

The tradition of tossing the ingredients of the dish in the air is believed to have started in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1960s. This practice, known as "Lo Hei", is said to bring good luck and prosperity to the diners. The higher the toss, the greater the fortune is believed to be.

Cultural Relevance

Yu Sheng is more than just a dish; it is a symbol of family togetherness and cultural identity. The dish is often served during family reunions and gatherings, where family members come together to toss the ingredients and wish each other good fortune for the year ahead.

In Singapore and Malaysia, Yu Sheng is an important part of the Lunar New Year celebrations. The dish is often served in restaurants and at home, and is a popular gift during the festive season. The dish is also an important part of the "Gong Xi Fa Cai" (Wishing you prosperity) culture, which is deeply rooted in Chinese tradition.

If you are looking to add seafood to your Yu Sheng recipe, you can consider using raw salmon, tuna or abalone. These seafood options are commonly used in Yu Sheng recipes and are believed to symbolize prosperity and abundance.

Yu Sheng Ingredients

Colorful array of shredded vegetables, pickled ginger, pomelo, and crispy crackers arranged in a large platter, ready for tossing in the traditional Chinese Yu Sheng salad

When it comes to making Yu Sheng, there are some key components that you'll need to have on hand. These include fresh produce, raw fish, crackers, and more. Here's a closer look at the ingredients you'll need to make this delicious dish.

Key Components

  • Raw fish: Yu Sheng typically includes raw fish, such as salmon or sea bream. If you're not a fan of raw fish, you can substitute it with cooked seafood like shrimp or crab meat.

  • Vegetables: Shredded vegetables like daikon, jicama, and carrot are commonly used in Yu Sheng. These vegetables add a nice crunch and freshness to the dish.

  • Fruits: Yu Sheng often includes pomelo or grapefruit, which add a sweet and tangy flavour to the dish.

  • Crackers: Pok chui crackers are traditionally used in Yu Sheng, but you can substitute them with deep-fried wonton skin wrappers.

  • Sesame seeds: Toasted sesame seeds are sprinkled on top of the dish for added flavour and texture.

  • Peanuts: Crushed peanuts are also often used as a topping for Yu Sheng.

Freshness of Produce

When making Yu Sheng, it's important to use fresh produce to ensure the best flavour and texture. Make sure to select vegetables and fruits that are in season and have a good quality. If you're using raw fish, make sure to purchase it from a reputable fishmonger and use it within a day or two of purchase.

Proposing the use of seafood in the recipe, you can also use cooked shrimp or crab meat as a substitute for raw fish.

Preparing the Yu Sheng

Ingredients arranged for Yu Sheng recipe, including fish, vegetables, and sauces, laid out on a clean, organized workspace

Slicing and Chopping

To prepare the vegetables for the Yu Sheng, start by washing and patting dry the cucumber, daikon, and carrot. Using a julienne slicer or a mandoline, slice the vegetables into long thin strips. Be careful when slicing the yam as it can be tough to handle. Consider wearing disposable gloves to protect your skin from the yam's bite.

If you choose to include seafood in your Yu Sheng recipe, consider using smoked salmon or any other type of sashimi-grade fish. Cut the fish into thin slices and arrange it in the centre of a large platter.

Assembling the Dish

Once you have sliced and chopped all the vegetables, arrange them neatly around the fish on the platter. You can add toppings such as peanuts, sesame seeds, and chow mein crisps for extra crunch.

To make the dressing, mix together plum sauce, lime juice, olive oil, sesame oil, pepper, white pepper, five-spice powder, cinnamon, and sugar. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and fish, making sure to coat everything evenly.

When serving the Yu Sheng, invite your guests to join in the tradition of tossing the salad together. Use chopsticks to mix everything together while saying auspicious phrases such as "prosperity" and "good luck."

Overall, preparing the Yu Sheng is a simple and fun process that can be customized to your taste preferences. Whether you choose to include seafood or stick to a vegetarian version, the end result is sure to be a colourful and delicious addition to your Chinese New Year celebration.

The Art of Tossing

A colorful array of shredded vegetables and raw fish arranged in a large bowl, with chopsticks poised to toss the ingredients together in a vibrant display

Preparing Yu Sheng is only half the fun. The other half is the "Lo Hei" ceremony, which involves tossing the ingredients high in the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious phrases. Here are some tips to make your "Lo Hei" experience a success.

Lo Hei Ceremony

The "Lo Hei" ceremony is a fun and interactive way to enjoy Yu Sheng with friends and family. To start, everyone should gather around the table, and the person who ordered the dish should lead the ceremony.

Using chopsticks, the leader should mix the ingredients together while saying auspicious phrases. Then, everyone at the table should join in and toss the ingredients high in the air while saying more auspicious phrases.

Auspicious Phrases

During the "Lo Hei" ceremony, it is customary to say auspicious phrases to bring good luck and prosperity. Here are some popular phrases to get you started:

  • Gong Xi Fa Cai - Wishing you prosperity
  • Da Ji Da Li - Good luck and great prosperity
  • Nian Nian You Yu - Abundance year after year
  • Zhao Cai Jin Bao - Attract wealth and treasures
  • Wan Shi Ru Yi - Everything goes well

Proposing the use of seafood in the recipe, prawns or salmon are great options. You can also use other ingredients like shredded carrots, radish, and pomelo. Don't forget to drizzle some plum sauce and sprinkle some sesame seeds and crushed peanuts on top for added flavour and texture.

In conclusion, the "Lo Hei" ceremony is an important part of enjoying Yu Sheng. Tossing the ingredients high in the air while saying auspicious phrases is a fun and interactive way to bring good luck and prosperity to your table.

Modern Takes and Variations

Colorful array of shredded vegetables, raw fish, and crispy toppings arranged in an ornate dish, surrounded by eager diners wielding chopsticks

Vegetarian Options

If you are a vegetarian, you can still enjoy yu sheng by substituting the raw fish with vegetarian options. Some popular vegetarian options include shredded carrots, cucumbers, and turnips. You can also add tofu, shiitake mushrooms, or other vegetables of your choice to create a unique and flavourful dish.

If you want to include seafood in your vegetarian yu sheng, you can use imitation crab meat or seaweed to add a seafood flavour to your dish. You can also use vegetarian abalone or jellyfish to add texture and flavour to your yu sheng.

Fusion Interpretations

Yu sheng has evolved over the years, and many chefs have come up with unique and creative ways to make the dish their own. One popular fusion interpretation of yu sheng is the use of salmon sashimi or smoked salmon instead of raw wolf herring.

Another popular fusion interpretation is the use of different sauces and dressings. Some chefs use a spicy chilli sauce or a tangy citrus dressing to add a kick to their yu sheng. You can also experiment with different toppings and garnishes, such as crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, or crispy wonton strips.

If you want to incorporate seafood into your yu sheng, you can use fresh prawns, scallops, or even lobster to add a luxurious touch to your dish. Be sure to use sustainable seafood options and cook them to perfection to enhance the flavour of your yu sheng.

Overall, yu sheng is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Whether you are a vegetarian or a seafood lover, there are many ways to make yu sheng your own and enjoy this delicious Chinese New Year tradition.

Where to Experience Yu Sheng

A table set with colorful ingredients for making Chinese Yu Sheng, including fish, vegetables, and sauces, ready to be mixed together in a vibrant and festive display

Yu Sheng is a popular dish during Chinese New Year, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. It is a raw fish salad that is typically served during the festive season. If you want to experience this dish, there are two ways to do so: by visiting restaurants and festivals or by preparing it at home.

Restaurants and Festivals

During Chinese New Year, many restaurants in Singapore and Malaysia serve Yu Sheng. Some of the best restaurants to try this dish include:

  • Si Chuan Dou Hua
  • Peach Garden
  • Crystal Jade
  • Din Tai Fung

These restaurants offer traditional Yu Sheng as well as modern variations with different types of seafood. You can enjoy this dish with your family and friends while celebrating the festive season.

Apart from restaurants, there are also many festivals that offer Yu Sheng. For example, the River Hongbao festival in Singapore serves this dish as part of its food offerings. You can also find Yu Sheng at the Chinatown Chinese New Year celebrations in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Home Preparation

If you prefer to prepare Yu Sheng at home, you can easily do so with the right ingredients. You will need a variety of vegetables, such as shredded carrots, radish, cucumber, and pomelo. You will also need some crackers, sesame seeds, and peanuts.

To make the dressing, you will need to mix together some plum sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar. If you want to add seafood to your Yu Sheng, you can use salmon, tuna, or even prawns. Just make sure that the seafood is fresh and of good quality.

To prepare the dish, simply arrange the vegetables and seafood on a platter and top it with the crackers, sesame seeds, and peanuts. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss everything together before serving.

Overall, whether you choose to experience Yu Sheng at a restaurant or prepare it at home, this dish is a must-try during Chinese New Year.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you whip up a simple Yu Sheng at home?

Making a simple Yu Sheng at home is easy and requires only a few ingredients. Start by preparing your vegetables, such as shredded carrot, cucumber, and daikon radish. You can also add fruits like pomelo and mandarin oranges for a sweet and tangy taste. Toasted nuts, sesame seeds, and crispy fried wonton skins can add crunch to the dish. If you prefer a non-vegetarian version, you can add thinly sliced raw salmon or tuna. Once you have all the ingredients ready, toss them together in a large bowl and drizzle with a tangy dressing.

What are the essential components for a classic Yu Sheng?

A classic Yu Sheng recipe typically includes shredded vegetables like carrot, cucumber, and daikon radish, as well as thinly sliced raw fish like salmon or tuna. Other essential components include toasted nuts, sesame seeds, crispy fried wonton skins, and a tangy dressing made with plum sauce, vinegar, and oil. Some recipes also call for shredded fruits like pomelo and mandarin oranges to add sweetness to the dish.

Can you recommend a top-notch Yu Sheng recipe?

One recipe that stands out is the Yu Sheng recipe by Noob Cook. This recipe includes all the essential components of a classic Yu Sheng, including shredded vegetables, raw fish, nuts, sesame seeds, and crispy wonton skins. The dressing is made with a combination of plum sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. The recipe also includes step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and toss the Yu Sheng for maximum flavour.

What's the secret to a zesty Yuzu sauce for Yu Sheng?

To make a zesty Yuzu sauce for Yu Sheng, you will need fresh yuzu juice, soy sauce, and honey. Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and adjust the sweetness and saltiness to your liking. You can also add a pinch of grated ginger for an extra kick of flavour.

Is there a way to make a vegetarian Yu Sheng without losing the traditional taste?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian Yu Sheng without losing the traditional taste. Simply omit the raw fish and replace it with thinly sliced tofu or vegetarian mock meat. You can also add more shredded vegetables and fruits to make up for the lack of protein. The dressing can be made with vegetarian oyster sauce or hoisin sauce instead of plum sauce.

How can I make a Yu Sheng that's both tasty and good for my health?

To make a Yu Sheng that's both tasty and good for your health, use fresh and wholesome ingredients. Opt for lean protein sources like salmon or tuna, and load up on colourful vegetables like carrot, cucumber, and daikon radish. Use a light dressing made with vinegar, sesame oil, and a touch of honey instead of heavy sauces. You can also add superfoods like goji berries or chia seeds for added nutrition.