12 Yee Sang Toss Steps for Chinese New Year 2021
Malaysians usher Chinese New Year prosperity with a colourful raw fish salad called Yee Sang Toss (Chinese: 魚生) or Prosperity Toss, “Loh Hey” (Cantonese for 撈起 or 捞起).
“Loh Hey” literally means to ‘move upwards’ and is symbolic of rising fortune for the forthcoming year.
Yee Sang is a popular festive dish eaten by the ethnic Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
This fun and tasty dish is a raw salad symbolizing abundance, prosperity, and vigour.
Yee Sang (Prosperity Toss Salad) is one of the dishes Malaysian look forward to sharing with their family, friends, and colleagues during the Chinese New Year Festivities.
Years ago, this particular dish was only served in restaurants on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year.
The seventh day is also known as Universal Mankind’s Birthday. The auspicious day is found in the Chinese New Year Spring Festivities Fifteen Days Guide.
Most families will eat out on that day and enjoy Yee Sang with a Prosperity Toss at the restaurants.
Nowadays, most Chinese restaurants have replaced raw fish with raw salmon or smoked salmon.
The Significance of Yee Sang
Today, Yee Sang is readily available even before the festivities. There are pre-packed Yee Sang sold in hypermarkets that you could bring home to eat.
Nowadays, Yee Sang is served on the eve of the Chinese New Year right through Chap Goh Mei (the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year).
What does Yee Sang signify?
Yee Sang means “increase in abundance and vigour.”
Restaurants and Chefs have gotten more creative and now offer Pau Sang, with pau yee (abalone), which comes with a hefty price tag.
What does Pau Sang signify?
Pau Sang means “guaranteed abundance and vigour.”
Is eating Yee Sang a fun experience?
You must not miss out on an opportunity to join in a dinner with a Yee Sang Prosperity Toss. The experience is not to be missed.
It is a communal thing, and most companies, groups of friends, and family have a lot of fun with Yee Sang. The salad itself is delicious with the right balance of sweet, tangy, savoury, and crunchy.
How do you toss it?
The fun part is the tossing of the salad. We believe that the higher and more vigorous the toss, the better the new year!
Get the kids to join in and teach them to call out the auspicious wishes for good luck!
How to eat a Yee Sang?
After all that hard work, everyone gets to enjoy a tasty plate or two of this salad to usher in the Chinese New Year.
There are 12 Steps Prosperity Yee Sang Toss for Chinese New Year for this Teochew-style raw fish salad with shredded vegetables, added nuts or crackers for crunch, and topped with various sauces.
Is Yee Sang a healthy dish?
Yee Sang, which has a variety of veggies, is healthy, right?
Consider the fats and sugars from the liberal use of fried flour crisps, sweet plum sauce, and oily sesame oil.
The short answer is, No.
What is the calorie in a store-bought Yee Sang?
A 387g serving of store-bought Yee Sang will cost you over 500 calories.
Can I make my own Yee Sang?
By making Yee Sang at home, you can halve the calories.
What are the typical Yee Sang (raw fish salad) ingredients?
The main ingredient for a Yee Sang dish is raw fish. You can buy fresh salmon or tuna sashimi sliced to avoid the hassle of having to cut it.
The rest are the natural vegetable, pickles, and crisps.
• White radish
• Pickled ginger
• Chinese parsley
• Fried Flour Crisps
How can I make a healthier Yee Sang?
Use fresh ingredients instead of pickled or preserved ingredients.
Omit the deep-fried flour crisps.
How to Make a Vegetarian Yee Sang?
Just omit the salmon slices to make a vegetarian version of this dish.
What is the Yee Sang Ingredients?
Salmon slices (as desired)
80g Japanese cucumber, julienne
60g carrot, julienned
80g apple, julienned
60g white radish, julienne
80g honeydew, julienned
60g yam, julienne and toasted for 20 minutes at 160C till crispy
50g Mandarin orange
50g pomelo pulp
1 tsp. Olive oil.
Pinch of five-spice powder
Pinch of pepper
30g sesame seeds
30g pine nuts
How do I make Plum Sauce dressing?
The recipe is simple. For the Plum Sauce Dressing, whisk together the ingredients:
⅓ cup Hoisin sauce (80ml)
⅓ cup apricot or plum jam (80ml)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
Can I replace the Plum Sauce?
You can replace the preserved plum sauce with fibre-rich fresh passion fruit pulp.
Here’s the recipe for Passion Fruit Yee Sang Dressing (Serves 5)
Pulp from 2 passion fruits
1 tbsp. Plum sauce
1 tbsp. Lime juice
2 tsp. honey
Can I make a Fruit Yee Sang?
Use your favourite fruits or vegetables for this fruit twist to the usual Chinese New Year Yee Sang salad.
How long does it take to make a Yee Sang at home?
Usually, Prep Time takes most of the work to wash, clean, and cut the various raw ingredients. This can take up to 1 hour or more, depending on the amount.
Since there is no real cooking except frying some flour and taro crisp, making the sauce and assembling the ingredients on a huge platter may take up to 30 mins.
So the Total Time is approximately 1 hr. 30 mins.
How do I make the crispy bits?
I prefer to make crispy bits where I can control the quality of oil used for frying.
You only need to buy wonton wrappers and cut this into strips for deep frying.
Shred taro (yam) coarsely using a grater. Divide shredded taro into two and colour one portion red and the other green with vegetable colouring.
Heat about 1-inch depth vegetable oil in a frying pan. Deep fry the wonton wrappers and taro separately.
Remove with a metal strainer. Store the crispy bits in airtight containers. This will keep it fresh until you use it.
What are the other types of Yee Sang?
There are several different types of Yee Sang you could try. Most of the ingredients and condiments remain the same, and as cuisine evolves with time, so will the ingredients.
The Fruit Yee Sang
This is the perfect type of Yee Sang for those who hate raw fish and won’t eat the shredded vegetable base. You can make an upgraded version of a fruit salad and use your favourite fruits, and prepare it at home precisely according to your liking.
Use auspicious and “lucky” fruit cut to desired slices or shapes (for example, matchsticks, bite-sized pieces, halves, or thin slices).
150 grams of strawberries (use redder ones) sliced
Two kiwis skin removed; sliced
3 tbsp. pomegranate seeds
3 tbsp. pomelo sacs
2 mandarin oranges skin membrane from sac removed for better presentation
150 grams pineapple flesh sliced
Other suitable fruits suggestions:
- Whole seedless grapes
- Canned rambutan or Longan
- Dragon fruit
- Star fruit (cut to star shapes)
- Any sweet fruit that has a vibrant red, green or golden
For the dressing, use a fruity salad dressing or even a lemon-lime Chinese plum sauce to taste with some sesame oil
If you have a nut allergy, you can leave out the toasted sesame seeds and finely chopped roasted peanuts
Vegetarian Yee Sang
As more people go vegetarian or vegan, you may want to replace the raw fish with fried vegan tofu mock-fish sticks. You could make your own at home if you feel up selecting, buying, washing, drying, and shredding your preferred vegetable.
The other option is to eat out at a Vegetarian Restaurant.
Luxurious Yee Sang
If you love seafood, this is the time to up your Yee Sang ingredients and replace the raw fish strips with Smoked Salmon, King Crabs, Lobsters, Clams, and even Abalone!
Super high-end restaurants serve this option. If you prefer a luxurious meal, order with a fair and reputable Chinese Restaurant; they will call the ingredients for you if you can match the price.
Lazy Yee Sang
The fast-food version is to order a pre-packed Yee Sang set or pick up a set from your nearest supermarket. These are super convenient, budget-friendly, and serve up to 10 – 12 people. You could also pick up a traditional melamine ware Longevity Platter and chopsticks for your annual Loh Hei while you are there.
Artistic Yee Sang
Perfect for the foodie with the moistest to impress. Instead of piling up a mound of shredded vegetables and dumping all the ingredients on top, these artistic Yee Sang are works of art to be admired.
Some fine dining restaurants serve Yee Sang as an individual plate for the guest.
What are the 12 Steps to a Yee Sang Toss?
When everyone is gathered around the dining table, everyone offers Chinese New Year greetings.
Favourable Wishes: “Gong Xi Fa Cai” means “Congratulations for your wealth” or “Wan shi ru yi,” meaning “May all your wishes be fulfilled.”
It presents the Yee Sang platter. We add fish, which symbolizes abundance or excess through the year.
Favourable Wishes: Nian Nian you yu 年年有馀, You yu you sheng Always have more than enough
We add the peeled pomelo pips over the fish, symbolizing added luck and auspicious value.
Good Wishes: 大吉大利 Da ji da li. I wish you good luck and good profits.
We open the green and red paper packets of spices and sprinkle the Pepper and Cinnamon Powder over the ingredients hoping to attract money and valuables assets.
Pepper 招财进宝 (zhāo cái jìn bǎo) Attract wealth and receive treasures.
Chinese 5-spice powder 五福臨門 (wǔ fú lín mén) May all good fortune be upon you and your family.
We pour the bowl of oil out, circling the ingredients to increase all profits 10,000 times. This is to encourage money to flow in from all directions.
Favourable Wishes: Yi ben wan li and 财原广进 Cai yuan Guang jin
Peanut oil 家肥屋嫩 (jiā féi wū nèn) Prosperity and harmony at home
Sesame oil 财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn) May wealth pour in from all directions.
We add carrots to the fish signifying blessings of good luck.
Carrots 鸿运当头 (hóng yùn dāng tóu) May good fortune be upon you.
We place the shredded green radish on the fish symbolizing eternal youth.
Green radish 青春常驻 (qīng chūn cháng zhù) May you be youthful and vital always.
We add the shredded white radish. This means prosperity in business and promotion at work.
White radish 风生水起 (fēng shēng shuǐ qǐ) May your success roars like the wind and waves.
We dust chopped Peanut bits on the dish. This symbolizes a household filled with gold and silver. Peanuts represent eternal youth and are an icon of longevity.
Ground Peanut 金玉滿堂 (jīn yù mǎn táng) May your home be filled with wealth and treasure.
Toss in Sesame Seeds. This symbolizes a flourishing business.
Favourable Wishes: 生意兴隆 Sheng Yi xing long.
Deep-fried flour puffs in the shape of golden pillows are added with wishes that the whole floor would be filled with gold. You may find fried wanton skin strips and even crisps in the dish for the modern-day version.
Fried Crisps 黄金满地 (huáng jīn mǎn de) May wealth and prosperity be everywhere.
Everyone joins in and tosses the salad an auspicious seven times with loud shouts of “lo hei” 捞起 and other auspicious Chinese New Year wishes.
Favourable Wishes: Lo hei 捞起, which is Cantonese for “tossing luck.”
All to toss up the prosperity toss seven times and shouting auspicious phrases and wishes for prosperity.
Today is the 7th day of Chinese New Year, a day is known as Yan Yat (Cantonese), which means Mankind’s Birthday.
According to Chinese legend, the goddess Nu Wa spent six days creating animals out of mud, while on the seventh day, she created mankind.
On this day, many would indulge in a dish called 鱼生 Yee Sang (Cantonese) or Yusheng (Mandarin), which is the literal translation for Raw Fish.
The tradition of eating Raw Fish on Yan Yat started with the fishermen living along Guangzhou’s coast.
The fishermen would celebrate the day by feasting on their fresh catches.
Yúshēng is a homonym for Yúshēng (余升), which means an increase in abundance.
For the Chinese people consuming Yúshēng is considered auspicious in every way.
In Malaysia and Singapore having a Yee Sang, Prosperity Toss is part of Chinese New Year Celebrations.
Hotels and restaurants are in full gear to incorporate each year’s Chinese Zodiac sign into the ‘Lo Hei’ for Chinese New Year Set Dinner, a gastronomical family tradition.
All that’s left to do is invite your family and friends over or celebrate in the office for a prosperity Yee Sang toss to good fortunes ahead.
Tell Smart Dory about your favourite Yee Sang in the comments below, and Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Source: Yusheng Prosperity Toss