Yee Sang - Yu Sheng

Kung Hei Kung Hei ! Gong Xi Gong XI ! Keong Hee Keong Hee ! Chuc Muc Nam Moi ! Happy New Year ( Chinese ).

The Chinese New Year is around the corner and that is the marking of a new season - Spring. That is also the day after the winter solstice. Say bye bye to the year of the Rooster and we welcome the year of the DOG - my zodiac too. Ouch ! Getting older.

As usual, the Chinese all around the world are preparing for this festive. Busy arranging for anything including going back for Reunion Dinner that I will blog about later, when I'm back.

For now, lets talk about the commercial CNY as they are fondly known.

Yee Sang ( Cantonese ) or Yu Sheng ( Mandarin ) used to be served on the 7th Day of CNY. Now, we are finding them everywhere 1 month prior to the festive. Talk about making money....hehehehehehe!

Its true that Chinese usually used auspicious name like Yee Sang - literary sounds like easy to live for most dishes especially CNY dishes. Even in Hong Kong, this dish is better known as LOH HEI. Anyone care to elaborate on this meaning ??

Part of the attraction or fun of eating yee sang comes from participation where all those present at the dinner table, be they are young or old or men or women, are supplied with chopsticks and are encouraged to indulge in mixing of the ingredients simultaneously while saying auspicious wishes aloud. Thus, a feeling of family togetherness/bonding/affirmation of ties/social solidarity is created at the same time.

In Malaysia and Singapore, our Yee Sang is slightly different from the rest of the world. Dont know who and when, but a Malaysian Chef created what we now called Rainbow Yee Sang "Chat Choy Yee Sang". All those colourful thingy that are derived from rainbow colour ( or near ). It is considered as "Chat Choy Kat Siong" or in Mandarin "Qi Cai Ji Xiang" or literary translated as Colourful Auspicious Wishes.

Up here in Genting, we have started to sell Yee Sang from the 2nd January 2006 onwards. One of the Chinese Restaurant - Good Friends Restaurant or better known as HOU YAU KEI in Cantonese or HAU YOU CHI in Mandarin had a stall displaying the dish.

The Chef's there even created certain auspicious wishes using the ingredient.

Here they are

Top - Front View of Counter Top
Middle - Hua Kai Fu Gui Si Man Dang / Far Hoi Fu Kwai Hei Mun Thong - Something to do with luck.
Bottom - Chun Dao Ren Jien Xin Fu Nien / Chun Tou Yan Kan Hang Fook Nin - Spring is among us, prosperous new year. Something like, the hardship is over, a better year is coming.

As usual, makan time is around and some people take all the trouble to buy or cook food. FOr me, its easier to buy YEE SANG.... However, some people do make their own YEE SANG.

Check what Chernjie as well as Lily of Wai Sek Hong came out with last year.

Ran around asking chef for ingredients and snapping picture so i can post this before I go for my long holidays. Be back by 1st Day of CNY to work.

The ingredients as follows;

Shredded Carrot or Chiffonade. Not easy to cut this thin and that is why they used a turning slicer. Easy to use and efficient too.

The box .

The slicer itself

The blade or cuttting part

The blade - sharp

Turn the knob and the radish comes out long and will be ready to use once it is dried. I remember those days chef's were using table cloth to place the carrot or radish and squeezes out most of the moist content. Its hard work. Now , hehehehehehehehe, they buy a dryer , the same machine we use to dry our laundry. Spin dry - chuckle

Ready for use radish

Preserved Ginger - this is sour

Preserved Red Ginger - Sweet

Fresh Ginger - Spicy

"Char Kwa" - Chinese Preserved Cucumber. This ingredient lends a sweet, crispy slightly tough texture to the dish.

Yam Preserved Yellow ( Top ) and Red ( Bottom ). This yam is basically tasteless and only use for its colour and crispness. Yam is purple in colour once cooked. For this crispy fritter, the willmash the yam, mixed in flour anf colouring. Using machine to get it into the shape they wanted and are normally fried. Bear in mind, yam is a word for sweet potato in America and Europe too. What we called Yam is known as TARO there.

This is called "Qiu Tau" or Preserved Leek. We only use the bottom part for pickle and thus it will have a garlicky flavour.

Hah ! Pomelo ! For this, they will normally find the not quite ripe variety so it will add a sour taste to the whole dish. You will need the sourness as to counter the sweetness of the sauce.

Kwa Ying or Preserved Papaya. This young papaya pickle lends a sweet crips taste.

Dough Crackers "Pok Chui"- add crispness in the dish. Most people will like it. It does create a well balance texture for the dish.

Now to present the dish. Arrange the carrot and radish to the proportion of 2/3 :1/3 respectively in the centre of the plate. Arrange the rest of the ingredient as colourful as you can separating the ingredient. ( refer to top page ).

Toped the carrot and radish mixture with :

Shredded Kaffir Lime leave

Julienne Spring Onion or Scallion

Julienne Red Chilli

Boiled Jelly Fish This ingredientis tasteless but lends a chewy texture.

Grounded Peanut

Coriander / Cilantro

Toasted Sesame Seed

You can use all sort of raw fish to serve ut by far the most common is Salmon ( no intrduction needed ) and Grass Carp or Wan Yee

The fishes need to be marinated with white pepper powder and 5 SPice Powder and usually comes in packet form as below.

For Imperial Rama Restaurant, we do served Abalone or even Lobster or Geoduck. However, it depends on whether the stock is there or not. Unless you made advanced booking with deposit. This is upon request only and it is charge accoeding to market price.

To serve, marinate the fish, abalone, etc with the spices and lime juice. Mixed will. Place on the middle of Yee sang dish. Pour oil - Chinese uses cooking oil but now more are using corn oil and of course the PLUM SAUCE.

To make plum sauce, you will need ( approximate )

100 gm Plum Paste
200 gm Plum Sauce
20 gm apple Jam
Sugar and Water

Melt the sugar with some boiling water. Stir in the rest of the ingredient. For extra flavour, add in some Tangerine Oil. MIxed Well. Cool.

Plum Sauce and Oil

Oops ! I have forgotten. You will also need to add the preserevd mandarin peel as this will add fragrant and of course bitter sweet flavour. As for the lime, hehehehee! thats for the fish.

Till Then

Wishing All Chinese readers or shall I say all who reads my blog - A Prosperous New Year and May You Be Blessed with Good Health.

Cheers ! Dont miss me..........chuckle !



boo_licious said...

WOW!! Double WOW!!! This is what I call the mother of all yee sang posts. Thanks so much for all the information, you took so much trouble to get it. Have a great Chinese New Year holiday esp the family get together.

Anonymous said...

You sure do your homework, Mike! So detailed information abt Yu Sheng. The Chinese here actually do not even know what Yu Sheng is & not to mention, if you ask them abt Loh Hei, they don't even have a clue! I guess it's our South East Asian thing?

culinary said...

haha, interesting, you really go all the way to take the picture and show us everything, sometime we always see the big plate all varieties color but dun noe wat they are.

Thank you for showing us everything about the big rainbow plate about.

Tazz said...

Thanks for showing the Turning Slicer and how it works. :)

fooDcrazEE said...

Boo ,Lin and Jingle, not really that informative as I was rushing for it before going for my hols. So, its kinda haphazard lar.

Tazz, its a great tools.

rokh said...

wow foodcrazee, now i know my yee sangs. i have it every year yet i do not know every ingredient. i just know i love it!!!