Yusheng literally means “raw fish” in Chinese but since it sounds like another phrase which means an “increase in abundance,” it is eaten as a traditional lucky dish to kick off an auspicious new year. Yusheng is a slaw-type of salad that serves as a tasty symbol of abundance, prosperity and good fortune.
Vegetables and Fruits
1 carrot peeled
1 white (daikon) radish, peeled
2 tbsp Japanese red pickled ginger (available at Asian grocery stores – there’s one around the corner from our AllSpice shop in the East Village)
1 Pomelo fruit, peeled and sacs separated
Red and green yam strips, whichare made with:
– 1 yam, peeled
– red and green food colouring
– vegetable oil for deep frying
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp roasted peanuts, finely chopped, or crushed w/mortar & pestle
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
dash of ground white pepper
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-1/2 Tbsp Chinese plum sauce
1 tsp Roasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp of hot water, adjust amount to get sauce to desired consistency
1/2 lb Salmon Sashimi (raw), sliced, or mackerel or other raw fish of your choice
Prepare the fruits and vegetables: Take carrot, daikon radish, and cucumber, and julienne into long thin strips, with a mandoline, a julinenne slicer, a food processor, or your good sharp knife.
Peel yam and julienne into long thin strips (with tools described above), and divide into two equal sized portions in two small bowls. Using a short straw, like a cocktail or coffee sitrrer, (or using an eyedropper), 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. Allow dyed yam to dry for a at least 30 min.
Heat vegetable oil in a wok or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Use enough oil to cover the ingredients. When the oil is piping hot, reduce heat to medium and deep fry the red-dyed yam for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain red yams on a plate. Repeat process with the green-dyed yam. Set yams aside.
Arrange all the vegetable and fruit ingredients on a round plate.
Prepare the toppings: Heat a dry heavy pan or wok over medium heat, then add sesame seeds. Use a wooden spatula to stir the sesame seeds evenly and toast till seeds are a nice golden brown, about 1-2min. Arrange all the topping ingredients in separate shallow dishes.
Prepare the sauce and raw fish: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until combined.
Arrange the raw fish on a separate plate. If using mackerel, you may want to marinade the fish slices with some ginger juice to ameliorate the “fishy” smell.
Serve the Yusheng:
Pass around the plate of shredded vegetables and fruits, followed by the fish, and the little bowls of toppings and sauce. Guests serve themselves. Once everyone is served, all the guests “toss” their salads with their chopsticks (or forks, if you prefer). The higher the Yusheng is tossed, the greater your New Year’s luck!