After making Yee Sang (Yu Sheng, 鱼生) twice, I hereby recommend the following way of making it, especially if you’re in the US trying to reproduce this impossible dish. After some extensive survey, I found that this dish is only extremely popular in Malaysia / Singapore and parts of South East Asia, used to be eaten on the 7th day of Chinese New Year, but now commonly eaten as the appetizer course in the standard N-course meal for any CNY dinner of your liking.
Recipe for Yee Sang – my style (enough for about 2 tables, 20 people)
The basics (for the last minute shoppers):
2 large Carrot (shredded – or shred it yourself)
2 to 3 large Rhedish (shredded)
Some Cilantro (if you have time to remove the stem that’ll be great, another possible substitute is spring onion)
A bottle of Plum sauce (Any brand will do, but I find the Lee Kum Kee one pretty reasonable)
A bottle of Pickled Ginger (Get the chopped ones if you can, you’ll find lots of sliced ones for sushi, but then you’ll have to end up chopping them if they are too big)
Pinch of Five Spice Powder (Don’t buy too much, you only need a pinch)
A can of Roasted Peanuts (Pound it into bits and pieces)
A bowl of Sesame Seeds (Roasted is good)
Fish (very important!! spend some money and buy a good quality one for good fortune in the coming year – you don’t have to buy sushi quality if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to buy a lot, just one steak size piece is enough – i’ve tried salmon and sea bass)
Other optional ingredients that other websites / recipe books suggest includes:
Pomelo Wedges (almost impossible to find ingredient overseas – but excellent if you can find it)
Red Chilli (shredded – don’t put if you can’t take it!)
Pickled Papaya (this might be impossible to find)
Pickled Leek (I think you’re starting to get the idea – anything pickled that you find appealing can go into the dish)
Kaffir Lime Leaves
Fried Wonton Skin (or crackers, the most impossible ingredient – for some unknown reason – if you want to try making this, you can buy the wonton skin, fold it multiple times and deep fry it till it’s crunchy)
The rest you should already have in your kitchen, like salt, sugar and pepper. You don’t need them if you don’t want to. Same goes to the “optional” ingredients if you just want it fast and easy. Just keep this in mind – crunchy, sweet and sour, with good raw fish.
Shred everything and arrange the way you like, usually in a circular fashion
When you serve, pour around 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over it and squeeze the lemon juice over the fish (especially since it’s raw), pour plum sauce over it liberally (about half a rice bowl for each 10 man serving), sprinkle a pinch of 5 spice powder and all your crushed roasted peanuts (and the fried wonton skin if you have that) over the dish.
Now get all your guest to stand up, and do this:
You’ll have to mix them up well and toss them high, while shouting ancient chants of good fortune and prosperity. Ah you probably know what to do already.
Good luck trying to fix up your own Yee Sang! If you want to save yourself the hassle, remember to buy those Yee Sang kits from the market when you’re back home.
From our politicians: