The 2018 year of the dog commenced a few days ago. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed out on feasting. The Chinese have 15 days of celebration, beats the 12 days of Christmas! This is a grand year for little kiddies, because there are doggie images everywhere! Many have taken the opportunity to prepare yee sang, a special salad – with a doggie image made with the vegies. Cute!
Why is this so special? Chinese love to play on words. The sound of the word connotes other meanings or its homophone. Raw fish, or “yee sang “, the hero ingredient of this salad, also means abundance in Chinese.
If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s because mainly South East Asian Chinese love it. Those from other parts of China don’t usually have this. But once you eat it, you’ll be pretty much hooked, even if you don’t like the idea of raw fish. I love it because not only is it delicious, it is light and absolutely healthy.
If you are like me, does reading the complicated recipes make you feel nervous? There are lots of recipes which call for fancy ingredients such as red Japanese ginger pickles etc. This year I found packaged ingredients, originating from Malaysia, and out of insecurity, bought a package. I needn’t have, and neither should you. All recipes require that you fry wonton wrappers one by one, then cut it up – another stumbling block – who has got the time?
This is my pretty much fail-safe, recipe for about 10-12 people. Most ingredients are readily available, and if you can’t find any particular thing, don’t worry, substitute something else with a similar texture. This year I used heart of palm, from Ecuador, which a South American friend had given me. It added an interesting flavour. Remember, we are aiming for taste, texture and colour. If we keep these principle in mind, we won’t get hung up on whether we can buy white radish in the shops.
If I can do this, you can do this too!
- 2-3 large carrots
- 1/4 of a red cabbage
- 1 large very fresh and firm continental cucumber (prefer this to many little cucumbers)
- 2-3 sticks of celery
- capsicum – go for all colours!
- 2 – 3 sticks of fresh young ginger
- Any other fresh, firm salad ingredients of your choice – it can be wombuk (chinese cabbage), cabbage, white radish, shallots.
- Pomelo if you can get it or pink grapefruit, cut up,
To add flavour and crunch –
- 2 cups corn flakes – I use special K – no more frying wonton wrappers!
- goji berries, or blueberries – nothing too mushy
- 2 cups chopped nuts – peanuts or walnuts or cashews
- toasted sesame seeds – about 1 cup
- Any other flavoursome condiments e.g. pickles of any sort, just small amounts
- generous amount of chopped up fresh coriander.
Raw fish –
- about 2 cups of fish, thinly sliced, marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and a squeeze of lime juice
- I use smoked salmon – so much easier
- Adam Liaw, a pretty amazing chef, uses raw lobster.
- plum sauce as the base – about one and a half cups
- soy sauce – 2-3 table spoonfuls
- sesame oil – 2-3 table spoonfuls
- honey – 2-3 table spoonfuls
- a pinch of five spice powder
- Juice of 2-3 limes.
- Use a shredder type device to help you cut up the vegetables (carrots, cucumber, white radish). I have a new one bought from the markets which was very helpful. You can find these anywhere. You don’t need anything too fancy, mine cost $10.
- The celery, shallots, cabbage, young ginger should be chopped finely. Some of the ginger can go into the sauce.
- Assemble around a very large flat platter.
- Keep the crunch ingredients and raw fish separate from the salad. Add just before eating
- Pour sauce when ready to eat then EVERYONE around the table, armed with chopsticks, tosses the salad high in the air.
- Say lovely wishes, sing, laugh, and make sure the salad is well tossed.
We had this at my sister-in-law’s house. She’s a fabulous cook and made about 10 dishes. I know my place – cannot compete with her. But this yee sang earned her praise!
And what about little Felix, did he enjoy it too? He loved it – but picked out all the raw fish.
Tell me whether this recipe worked for you and your grandbaby!