More festive cheers around the corner and this time it’s Chinese New Year! Ushering in the year of the Red Fire Monkey, I thought I prepare a dish fondly eaten during this time. Yee Sang or Yu Sheng, a Malaysian Chinese favorite, it’s a dish that symbolizes abundance. Originated from China, the dish was more favorited by Malaysians, Singaporeans and Indonesians rather that the Chinese from China. Depending on the Chinese race, each yee sang differs from others. However, the basic principal rules applies on finely shredded fresh vegetables, pickled vegetables, nuts and seeds together with a sweet and tangy sauce is tossed with thinly slices of raw white fish at the tableside from all the diners for abundance of prosperity, health and luck.
Today’s chefs get to put on their thinking hats and create their own versions of yee sang. Diners too are more adventurous and open to try creative touches on yee sang. One can savor traditional yee sang or modern ones that have added fruits and other ingredients. Raw white fish is slowly disappearing while the creamy lush salmon seemed to have taken over the favorite spot in the yee sang. Of course one can even go lux and enjoy a yee sang amped up with premium abalone, scallops, surf clams, soft shell crab and many more seafood.
In honoring this coming festive, I decided to also put a spin on yee sang. Making yee sang sounds more intimidating but it is actually quite simple as most of the work is on focus on the cutting and preparation of it. There is hardly much cooking involve and even some of the preparation can be completed a few days earlier. The ingredient list may seemed long but it’s really up to one’s preference on how many ingredients you want in your yee sang. I used scallop because I found a good deal on US Scallops but you can substitute scallops with of your preferred choice of seafood like salmon, prawn, clams, soft shell crab, jelly fish and more. Even the fresh vegetables and fruits can be easily substitute if you don’t like my list below.
Once all these are prepared, just make sure to chill the vegetables and fruits for a fresher and vibrant bite and flavours. A large platter will be handy as one needs the space to toss the yee sang. Honestly, the ingredients is endless. For the sauce, who would have thought that LINGHAM’s Chili sauce with Ginger would work so well on yee sang? LINGHAM’s Chili sauce is actually really delicious on its own already but I added some extras to heighten the sweet, tangy and spicy flavours to new heights.
My Yee Sang with LINGHAM’s Chili Sauce with Ginger has lots of fresh bright flavours of lightly spicy, sweet and sour notes. The subtle hint of chili turn out great because it creates an addictive luscious note. The many textures from all the vegetables, fruits, peanuts and sesame seeds gave this dish a delicious bite. One may think that all these flavours may drown the scallops but it actually went really well, enhancing the sweetness of the fresh scallops. If you use the toasted dried squid, it also gave the dish another depth of unctuous flavours that is really delicious. The dried squid is the savory ones that you can buy at the snack section at grocery stores. Else you can substitute this with crispy crackers or Pok Chui (also now available at some grocery stores) or deep fried wanton skins or deep fried fish skins.
By using LINGHAM’s Chili Sauce with Ginger, your sauce is already deliciously flavourful. I only added a little palm sugar for a richer sweetness and lots of lemon rinds and juice to brighten up extra tangy notes. Haw flakes candy is something I love a lot and reminds me of my childhood days. Adding crush haw flakes to the sauce also added a depth of flavours from my childhood memories. The result is a concoction of robust sweet, sour and very lightly spicy flavours. Once everything is tossed together, the spiciness is actually very mild in the dish.
Whatever your yee sang have, it should always have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to give the dish a vibrant and fresh flavour and bite. The best part of the dish is the tossing part with all the other diners too! May this Chinese New Year bring you lots of Huat Ah….
Yee Sang with LINGHAM’s Chili Sauce with Ginger
10 Scallops (poached)
3 Dried Squid (toasted till crispy) - optional
½ Radish (finely shredded)
½ Carrot (finely shredded)
1 Japanese Cucumber (finely shredded)
½ Red Apple (cut into matchsticks)
½ Snow Pear (cut into matchsticks)
1 Mango – ripe (cut into matchsticks)
1 bunch Seedless Grapes (cut into halves)
Handful Red Coral Lettuce (torn in small leaves)
Handful Coriander leavers
Handful Honey Roasted Peanuts
3 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Tbsp LINGHAM’s Chili Sauce with Ginger
1 Lemon (need the lemon rind and juice separately)
1 Tbsp Palm Sugar or Brown Sugar
2 Pkt Haw Flakes (crushed)
Lightly poached scallop till cooked and set it to cool.
If using dried squid (those you can buy in the snack section – savory), lightly toasted in pan till crispy.
Prepare all vegetables for shredding, clean in running water, squeeze dry and set to chill in fridge.
Cut apple, snow pear and mango into matchsticks and squeeze some lemon juice over them so they won’t turn brown and chill in fridge.
Prepare the remaining ingredients – grapes, lettuce leaves and coriander.
Mix all the Sauce Ingredients and adjust according to your taste. Add more lemon juice or sugar.
When ready to serve, arrange all the vegetables and fruits in a large platter individually.
Serve the Yee Sang with the side of Honey Roasted Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Olive Oil and Sauce.
Pour in everything and toss for good luck!
Extra Notes and Tips
· Substitute scallops with salmon or white fish, abalone, jelly fish, soft shell crab and many more seafood of your choice. While the fish can be served raw, it must be very fresh for consumption. Other seafood may need to be cooked.
· Substitute dried squid with crispy crackers or Pok Chui or deep fried wanton skin or deep fried fish skin
· Substitute honey roasted peanuts with regular roasted peanuts or toasted almond or any other preferred nuts and seeds.
· Other fruits which can be served are berries, melons, peaches, dragonfruit, mandarin orange segments, pomelo and more.
· Other vegetables which can be served are purple cabbage, cabbage, lettuce, turnips, pickled ginger, spring onions and more.
· Lemons can be substitute with limes or calamansi limes but these are less sour that lemons.