Useful Tips > February

(Serves 2)


The ingredients stated are for two, but it can easily serve up to 4 since it’s just an appetizer salad. Feel free to double up for 4, triple for 6, etc

The amount of ingredients, especially the grated vegetables, is just a rough guide. Feel free to grate as much vegetables to your liking. Some Yu Sheng comes with a mountain pile of daikon, carrots and cucumbers.

(A) Main Cast – 8 main ingredients

1) 1 carrot, skin peeled
2) 1 white radish (daikon), skin peeled
3) 1 cucumber
4) 2 tbsp Japanese red pickled ginger (In Singapore, I buy them at Sakuraya/Cold Storage Taka/Isetan Scotts Supermarket)
5) Pomelo (I use the Ipoh Tambun variety), peeled and sacs separated, about 50g
6) 1 packet of Pok Chui crackers (I use store bought ones from NTUC)
7 & 8) Red and green yam strips which is made with
- 1 yam, remove the skin (wear disposable gloves when handling yam)
- Red and green food colouring (I use Bake King’s Cochineal/Cherry Red and Apple Green)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying

(B) Supporting cast

- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped finely (or crushed using mortar and pestle)
- 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- A small dash of Chinese white ground pepper
- 1 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil

(C) Sauce

Note: Serves 2, feel free to double the quantities for 4, triple for 6, and so on
- 2.5 tbsp Chinese plum sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- A tbsp of hot water to achieve the consistency of sauce to your liking (adjust according to the brand you use)

(D) Raw fish

- Raw fish slices, usually salmon sashimi slices (traditionally raw mackerel used) and/or
- Abalone slices

(E) Tools

- A special vegetable peeler with “teeth” or julienne slicer or mandoline for shredding vegetables quickly and finely to long thin strips
- A round plate for assembling the main ingredients as roundness symbolises fullness Using a vegetable peeler with “teeth” to julienne the vegetables effortlessly (that’s not my hands btw, I’m the photographer: x)


(A) Main Cast – 8 main ingredients

1) Pat dry carrot, daikon and cucumber after washing. Using a special vegetable peeler with “teeth” or a julienne slicer or a mandoline, julienne (slicing to long thin strips) 50g of each vegetable.

2) To prepare the yam (see photo step-by-step below), wear disposable gloves as the yam will “bite” our skin. Slice off the yam skin and then using a special vegetable peeler with “teeth” or a julienne slicer or a mandoline, julienne (cutting to long thin strips) 100g of yam. Divide yam into two equal portions in two separate bowls. Using a short straw, pick up a few drops of red colouring and dye one bowl of yam red. Use another straw, dye the other bowl of yam green. Leave to dry for a while. Heat up some vegetable oil in a wok (enough to cover the ingredients; I use about 500 ml), when the oil is hot enough turn it down to medium, add the red yam first and deep fry for about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on a plate. Repeat for green yam. It is important that the oil is hot enough but not too hot or else the yam will become too crispy. Set aside.

3) Arrange all the ingredients on a round plate.

Preparation of yam

(B) Supporting cast

1) To toast sesame seeds, heat up a dry pan or wok, then add sesame seeds. Use a spatula to stir the sesame seeds evenly and toast till the sesame seeds is a nice golden brown. Do not take your eyes off during the toasting process as it only takes a few minutes, and the seeds get from golden to burnt really quickly.
2) Arrange the ingredients in separate shallow dishes.

(C) Sauce & Raw fish

1) To prepare the sauce, just add everything in a small bowl and mix till evenly dissolved.
2) Arrange the raw fish on a separate plate. If using mackerel, you may want to marinade the fish slices with some ginger juice because some people find it more “fishy” than salmon.

How to eat Yu Sheng
Lo Hei – Tossing Yu Sheng
In a ceremony known as “lo hei”, families, friends and colleagues gather around the table.

2) Say the auspicious greeting for each ingredient as it is added to the plate.

Here is the corresponding CNY greeting of each ingredient:
- Red items (carrot, red yam, and red ginger):
- Green items (cucumber, green yam):
- White radish (daikon):
- pok chui crackers:
- pomelo:
- Cinnamon powder:
- Chinese 5-spice powder:
- Plum sauce:
- Crushed roasted peanuts:
- Roasted sesame seeds:
- Olive oil:
- White pepper powder:
- Raw fish slices:
- Abalone slices:

3) When all the ingredients have been piled on the plate, then everyone, on cue, proceed to toss the shredded ingredients into the air with chopsticks while saying auspicious wishes (Jíxiáng Huà) out loud to mark the start of a prosperous new year. It’s believed that the higher you toss, the greater your fortunes!

Recipe tweaks

Vegetarian version
- Replace raw ingredients with mock fish and/or mock abalone slices

Extra Sides (optional/not shown in photos)
- preserved jellyfish
- preserved papaya & melon strips
- lime slices and a bit of lime juice
- Lobster sashimi slices

Ingredients substitution
- Red capsicum for red yam
- Green capsicum for green yam
- Deep fried wonton skin wrappers for pok chui crackers
- Grapefruit for pomelo


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