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Chinese New Year Yee Sang Recipe: A Delicious and Colourful Salad Dish

One of the most popular dishes served during Chinese New Year is Yee Sang, a colourful and delicious salad that symbolises abundance, prosperity, and vigour. This dish is enjoyed in Malaysia, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia, and is a must-have during Chinese New Year celebrations.

A colorful array of shredded vegetables, fish, and sauces arranged in a large bowl, ready to be tossed together for the traditional Chinese New Year yee sang dish

Yee Sang is a fun and interactive dish that involves tossing the ingredients together with chopsticks. The higher you toss the salad, the greater your luck and prosperity for the coming year. While there are many variations of Yee Sang, the essential ingredients include shredded vegetables, crackers, and a tangy plum sauce. You can also add raw fish or seafood to the salad for a unique and tasty twist.

Origins and Significance of Yee Sang

A colorful array of fresh and pickled vegetables, raw fish, and crunchy toppings arranged in a large bowl, symbolizing prosperity and good luck for the Chinese New Year tradition of Yee Sang

Yee Sang, also known as Yu Sheng or Lo Hei, is a traditional Chinese dish that is commonly served during Chinese New Year celebrations. It is a salad that is made up of various ingredients such as shredded vegetables, fruits, crackers, and raw fish.

The origins of Yee Sang can be traced back to the Cantonese region of China, where it was first created as a way to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It was believed that the higher the toss, the more luck and prosperity one would receive in the coming year. This is why Yee Sang is also known as the "Prosperity Toss Salad".

The dish is usually served with auspicious wishes, such as "May you have abundance year after year" or "May you have good fortune and prosperity". It is a symbol of prosperity and abundance, and is meant to bring good luck to those who eat it.

In Malaysia and Singapore, Yee Sang has become a popular dish during Chinese New Year celebrations, and is often served as part of a larger feast. It is usually tossed by diners at the table, with everyone using chopsticks to mix the ingredients together.

If you are looking to make your own Yee Sang at home, consider using seafood such as salmon, tuna, or prawns as a tasty addition to the salad. Seafood is often associated with prosperity and abundance in Chinese culture, and can add a delicious flavour to the dish.

Essential Ingredients for Yee Sang

A colorful array of shredded vegetables, pickled ginger, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, and slices of raw fish arranged in a large bowl

If you are planning to make Yee Sang at home, there are a few essential ingredients that you will need to get started. Yee Sang is a dish that is traditionally served during Chinese New Year, and it is a fun and colourful salad that symbolizes prosperity and abundance.

Selecting the Fish

Yee Sang is typically made with raw fish, and there are a few different types of fish that you can use. Salmon is a popular choice, and you can use either fresh or smoked salmon depending on your preference. Other types of fish that you can use include jellyfish and abalone. If you are not a fan of raw fish, you can also use cooked or grilled seafood such as prawns or scallops.

Vegetable Varieties

Yee Sang is a salad that is made with a variety of vegetables, and there are many different types of vegetables that you can use. Some of the most common vegetables used in Yee Sang include cucumber, carrot, daikon (white radish), and pomelo. You can also add other vegetables such as red cabbage or bell peppers to add more colour and flavour to the dish.

Crunchy Additions

To give Yee Sang its signature crunch, you will need to add some crunchy ingredients such as roasted peanuts or sesame seeds. These ingredients add texture to the dish and make it more enjoyable to eat. Other crunchy additions that you can add include crackers or wonton skins.

Flavourful Dressings

To bring all the ingredients together, you will need to make a flavourful dressing for your Yee Sang. The dressing typically includes ingredients such as plum sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and five spice powder. You can also add a bit of vegetable oil and white pepper to balance out the flavours.

Remember, Yee Sang is a dish that is meant to be shared with family and friends, so don't be afraid to get creative with your ingredients and have fun with the preparation.

Assembling the Yee Sang

Ingredients arranged on a table, including shredded vegetables, sauces, and toppings, ready to be mixed together to create the traditional Yee Sang dish for Chinese New Year

Layering the Ingredients

Now that you have prepared all the ingredients for your Yee Sang, it's time to assemble them. Place the shredded vegetables, including jicama, carrots, yam, coriander, capsicum, red cabbage, green capsicum, and taro, in separate piles on a large platter. Arrange the fruits, such as pomelo, mandarin oranges, and sliced apples, around the edge of the platter.

If you are using seafood in your Yee Sang, you can add slices of raw salmon, tuna, or even abalone to the platter. Make sure the seafood is fresh and of good quality.

To create a colourful and visually appealing dish, arrange the shredded vegetables and fruits in a circular pattern, starting with the outermost layer and working your way inwards.

Preparing the Prosperity Toss

Once you have arranged all the ingredients, it's time for the fun part - the Prosperity Toss! This is where you mix all the ingredients together using chopsticks while making wishes for good luck and prosperity.

To start, pour the plum sauce over the top of the ingredients. Then, using chopsticks, toss the ingredients together while saying your wishes out loud. The higher you toss the ingredients, the more luck and prosperity you will have in the coming year.

As you toss the ingredients, focus on the texture and colour of the dish. The crunchiness of the shredded vegetables and the sweetness of the fruits will create a delicious and satisfying salad. The vibrant colours of the ingredients symbolize good fortune and prosperity.

Once you have finished tossing the ingredients, your Yee Sang is ready to be served. Enjoy this delicious and auspicious dish with your family and friends during Chinese New Year!

Garnishing and Seasoning

Colorful ingredients arranged around a large bowl of yee sang, with various garnishes and seasonings being sprinkled and drizzled over the dish

Adding the Final Touches

Now that you have all the ingredients in your Yee Sang salad, it's time to add the final touches. The garnishing is the most exciting part of the recipe as it adds colour and texture to the dish. You can add roasted sesame seeds, peanuts, or toasted sesame seeds to give it a crunchy texture. You can also add fried wonton strips, seaweed, or dumpling wrappers to give it a crispy texture.

To make your Yee Sang salad more vibrant, add mandarin oranges, green onions, or cilantro. These ingredients will give your salad a pop of colour and freshness. You can also add some seafood like prawns or salmon to make it more flavourful.

Seasoning for Taste

To make the Yee Sang salad more flavourful, you need to season it well. You can do this by adding plum sauce dressing, which is sweet and tangy. You can also add lime juice to give it a zesty flavour. White pepper, salt, and sugar can be added to balance out the flavours.

If you want to add some spice to your salad, you can add some Chinese 5 spice powder. This will give it a warm, aromatic flavour. You can also add some chilli flakes if you want it to be spicier.

Garnishing and seasoning are the key elements that make Yee Sang salad delicious. By adding the final touches and seasoning it well, you can make a salad that is not only colourful but also flavourful. Don't be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and seasonings to create a salad that suits your taste buds.

Serving and Enjoying Yee Sang

A colorful spread of fresh fish, shredded vegetables, and crunchy toppings arranged on a large platter, ready to be mixed together for a festive Chinese New Year yee sang celebration

Yee Sang is not just a dish, but a cultural experience. Serving and enjoying Yee Sang is a ritual that involves the whole family or group of friends. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your Yee Sang experience.

The Ritual of Tossing

The ritual of tossing Yee Sang, also known as the Prosperity Toss or Lou Hei, is the highlight of the Yee Sang experience. The dish is served on a large platter, and everyone uses their chopsticks to toss the ingredients together. As you toss, you should shout out auspicious greetings, such as "Huat ah!" or "Prosperity and good fortune!" The higher you toss, the better your luck will be.

Sharing and Eating

After the tossing ritual, it's time to share and eat the Yee Sang. It is customary to start with the mandarin oranges, which symbolize good luck and wealth. Then, you can enjoy the rest of the salad, which is usually served with a sweet honey dressing. Yee Sang is a vegetarian dish, but you can also add seafood, such as salmon or jellyfish, to the recipe for an extra burst of flavour.

To make your Yee Sang experience even more special, consider making your own homemade version of this prosperity salad. Whether you are in Malaysia, Singapore, or anywhere else in the world, Yee Sang is a dish that brings people together and celebrates the spirit of good fortune and prosperity.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful table spread with various ingredients for making yee sang, including shredded vegetables, sauces, and toppings, with a festive Chinese New Year backdrop

What's the simplest way to whip up a yee sang for Chinese New Year?

If you're short on time or just looking for a quick and easy recipe, you can make a basic yee sang by mixing shredded vegetables, such as carrots, cucumber, and radish, with some sliced fish or seafood, crackers, and a sweet and sour dressing. You can also add some pomelo or mandarin oranges for a burst of flavour.

Could you list the essential ingredients for a traditional yee sang?

A traditional yee sang typically includes shredded vegetables, such as carrots, cucumber, and radish, as well as sliced fish or seafood, crackers, and a sweet and sour dressing. Some recipes may also include pomelo or mandarin oranges, pickled ginger, and sesame seeds.

What's the top-rated yee sang recipe for a festive celebration?

There are many great yee sang recipes out there, but one of the top-rated ones is the homemade yee sang recipe by The Devil Wears Salad. This recipe includes a variety of colourful vegetables, such as purple cabbage and beetroot, as well as fresh salmon, pomelo, and a tangy plum sauce.

How has the yee sang recipe evolved since 2021?

The yee sang recipe has evolved over the years to include more creative and modern ingredients, such as avocado, quinoa, and even truffle oil. Some recipes also use alternative dressings, such as balsamic vinegar or honey mustard, to give the dish a unique twist.

Which yee sang recipe is considered the most authentic in Malaysia?

The most authentic yee sang recipe in Malaysia is the one that uses fresh and high-quality ingredients, such as salmon or abalone, and a traditional sweet and sour dressing made with plum sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil. The dish is typically served during Chinese New Year as a symbol of prosperity and good luck.

What's the significance behind the prosperity toss during Chinese New Year?

The prosperity toss, also known as lo hei, is a traditional Chinese New Year ritual that involves tossing the yee sang ingredients high into the air while reciting auspicious phrases. The higher the toss, the greater the prosperity and good luck for the coming year. The ritual is also a fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday with family and friends.

If you're a seafood lover, you can add some fresh prawns, scallops or even lobster to your yee sang recipe for an extra special touch. Just make sure to cook the seafood properly before adding it to the dish.