Yu Sheng or Chinese raw fish salad is a Chinese New Year staple in Singapore. I’m not sure about Malaysia, but I know they also consume this dish there during the CNY season. It’s one of my favorites and I always look forward to eating it during CNY. I’m also proud to say that the recipe was invented by Singapore chefs, so it’s a true blue local dish.
I was chatting with a friend during the CNY season and we both talked about how we missed this dish. I had a little lightbulb moment – since I made bak kwa this year, why can’t I also make yu sheng? I started looking online for recipes and found out how easy it is to recreate this dish.
I was also happy to discover I had many of the ingredients needed like plum sauce (from my rojak making days) and ground peanuts. I also had the necessary tools (i.e., julienne peeler from Singapore and food processor to help with the grating task). You can purchase a similar peeler here.
There are many variations of yu sheng and each ingredient is supposed to represent something. Honestly, I never cared and just was happy to eat it. I guess that’s very me – all about the taste, very little about the meaning…hehe. As such, I was very happy to make substitutions (as necessary) and omit some ingredients. For a more in-depth explanation on the meaning behind each ingredient, click here.
Overall, the yu sheng was a success and the hubs and friends enjoyed it.
Yu Sheng (Chinese Raw Fish Salad)
(taken and adapted from here)
Ingredients and Method:
Arrange on a plate:
- 1 cucumber, julienne, using a special peeler or mandolin/food processor (Use as much or as little as you want)
- 1 carrot, julienne, using a special peeler or mandolin/food processor (Use as much or as little as you want)
- 1 daikon (white radish), julienne, using a special peeler or mandolin/food processor (Use as much or as little as you want)
- 1 Chinese yam, julienne, using a special peeler or mandolin/food processor. Deep fry the yam for 2-3 minutes or until crisp. (Use as much or as little as you want) (I used the yam with the purple inside. I am sure you should be able to use a sweet potato as well)
- Pickled Japanese ginger (you can get this at most Asian grocers) (Use as much or as little as you want)
- 1 cup pomelo (optional)
- 4oz smoked salmon
- 1-2 cups crispy crackers (I made them using thick wonton skins. Cut them into small squares, deep fry till golden brown)
Sprinkle on the ingredients:
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder, or more if desired
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more if desired
- 1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper, or more if desired
- 1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts
- 1/8 cup toasted sesame seeds
Pour on the sauce. To make the sauce, combine:
- Juice of 1 lime
- 5 tablespoons plum sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Some hot water to thin the sauce to desired consistency. Sauce shouldn’t be too thick but neither too runny.