Tossing a raw fish salad called yu sheng with chopsticks whilst simultaneously shouting out well wishes is a customary tradition amongst Chinese communities in Singapore during Chinese New Year.
While similar takes on this festive delicacy made its appearance even before Singapore’s independence day, it was in the 1960s when the Asian dish got popularised.
More often than not, yu sheng is actually very costly if you were to buy them from hotels and restaurants. But preparing yu sheng is actually simple and very affordable too. Why not have a go at making your own yu sheng for the upcoming Chinese New Year?
Yu sheng aka Lo Hei is symbolic of prosperity and can be found across restaurants, supermarkets and even hawker centres in Singapore.
Variations are aplenty and everyone has their own interpretations and secret ingredients, but yu sheng ubiquitously comprises the following key ingredients – raw fish strips, crackers, shredded vegetables, five spice powder and a sweet plum sauce.
You can, too, come up with your own rendition – with your favourite fruits, fishes, vegetables… anything at all. But bear in mind to not steer too far off from traditions, else your folks might not be pleased!
Here is a simple one we have to get you started.
Recipe adapted from Health Promotion Board (Serves 6 to 8)
2 cups carrot, julienned
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 cup cucumber, thinly shredded
2 cups daikon radish, thinly shredded
100g fresh salmon/tuna sashimi, thinly sliced
¼ cup of chopped peanuts, roasted and unsalted
¼ cup whole-wheat crackers, crushed
1 tsp pickled ginger, thinly shredded
1 tbsp five spice powder
4 sprigs of fresh Chinese parsley
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Dressing (combine all ingredients and set aside):
1/8 tsp five spice powder
½ cup of plum sauce
¼ cup of water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp peanut/ corn oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Arrange the sashimi slices in the centre of a large platter.
Position each type of shredded vegetables neatly around the platter, surrounding the fish (which has to sit in the middle).
Sprinkle the crackers, parsley, peanut and picked ginger over the vegetables, before pouring the mixed dressing over it.
You can now start tossing your homemade yu sheng and exchanging auspicious Chinese phrases!