Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese Valentine's New Day Year!

Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentine's Day Everybody! Wishing you a very prosperous new year and a lovey dovey Valentine's Day. Every year, even though our parents and all of our relatives are celebrating the new year in Malaysia, my brother and I will still try to whip up a fabulous new year for friends and loved ones. And the star of this meal is always the yee sang, an amazing sashimi salad which takes a fair amount of time and effort. It's always my job to arrange all the different elements of our yee sang together on a big platter, and this year I decided to make it Valentine's Day themed.
As you can see, there are a lot of things that go into this salad. This year included plump scallop sashimi and salmon sashimi, radish, cucumber, lettuce, jellyfish, carrot, pomegranate and ruby grape fruit. I arranged the sashimi in a heart shape and even carved the grapefruit. See?
This is by far the BEST salad ever! As you can tell, a lot of time and effort goes into it's construction, and it is almost impossible to do without a mandoline. (But not completely, we used to do it!)
I used to think that everyone around the world had yee sang when they celebrated Chinese New Year, but quickly learnt that it's really only common in Malaysia and Singapore. So what's so great about this salad? Well what you see above is only half of it. The fun part is coming up next.
First we sprinkle the contents of our red packets over the top (toasted sesame seeds and five spice). Then we pour over our beautifully thick salad dressing made of plum sauce, honey, lime juice, chilli, sesame oil and a little bit of kaffir lime.
Deep fried wonton skins (expertly fried by A) are scrunched up and sprinkled over the top.
...Then everyone grabs their chopsticks...
...And tosses like crazy! The higher your can lift the salad up with your chopsticks the better, and the messier the better!
And finally, you dig in! This was the BEST yee sang we've made so far, the scallops were so fresh and sweet and were still so fat even though we had sliced them in half. The dressing was sweet and zingy, and there was a perfect balance of textures and flavours. Heaven.
And if that wasn't enough for you, my brother whipped up two more amazing dishes for us to enjoy. The first was the most delicious thing ever, braised pork with chinese mushrooms, dried scallops and 'hair algae'. Don't be put off by the sound of the algae, it has a beautiful slippery texture and soaks up all the rich sauce. This was an adaptation of a dried oyster and hair algae dish which is quite common during New Years, because when you say dried oyster and hair algae (pronounced 'fat choy') in Cantonese it sounds similar to the Chinese New Year greeting of either "Good deeds and prosperity", or "Good business and prosperity". And it's like an explosion of umami on a plate. Soooooo goooooood.
We also enjoyed a whole steamed snapper, and a dessert which will have to remain a secret for now. Needless to say, we had WAYYY too much food and didn't finish anything except for our yee sang. I hope everyone else is enjoying the festivities today, and have a very happy New Year!
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  1. Beautiful looking food Steph. The heart shaped grapefruit was a touch of class.

  2. gong hei fat choy!! omg, a valentine's yee sang!!! so clever!!!!

  3. Wow, your yee sang looks amazing! Happy New Years!

  4. WOW Steph! I have to say you are right - that is the best salad ever! So beautiful! I can imagine the work you must have put into that salad - it must have not only looked but also tasted perfect. Happy New Year to you too!

  5. Love is in the air!!! Love love love your creative mind :)

  6. omg a valentines yee sang! so cute lah happy new year dude!

  7. Love the Valentines Day yee sang and the heart-shaped grapefruit are so cute! Happy New Year Steph!

  8. haha! those before and after photos are awesome, it goes from perfectly neat to a crazy mess hahaha

  9. love the yee sang you've made! very pretty! happy chinese new year steph!

  10. What a wonderful spread! Happy Chinese New Year and Valentines day to you too!

  11. looks like a great Yee Sang. well done. love the love hearts in it too :-)

  12. All looks great but that yee sang is AMAZING!!! Happy Chinese New Year Steph!

  13. Happy CNY ^^! Ooohh that yee sang looks so good! Hooray for deep fried wonton skins!

  14. Happy Chinese New Year to you. The salad looks amazing and it sounds like so much fun when it comes time to eat ;0)

  15. That braised pork with chinese mushrooms etc is my favourite dish of CNY! apart from the bbq meats of course :D

  16. Love how you've combined V Day with Chinese New Year! I love Yee Sang, it's so moreish! :D Happy Chinese New Year!

  17. it's so close to lunch time and I'm drooling on my keyboard! I want that salad!!

  18. You are so welcome to make me yee sang every year! And I love that you make it from scratch too. Us Malaysians have the best food!

    Yours is soooo pretty! There's nothing worse than an ugly yee sang :P

  19. Mark - Thanks very much! It was so fiddly to carve them!

    billy - haha yes gong hei fat choy!:D thank you

    Chris - :D thanks, happy new years to you too!

    Trissa - It tastes so good, I wish I could have had more of it!

    Ellie - Haha right back at you Ellie! Can't wait to see yours ;)

    chocolatesuze - hahah happy new years to you too lah!

    Jacq - Happy New Year! Thank you!!

    grace - Haha I know, it's a little heart breaking seeing it all go up in a big mess, but it's all part of the fun!

    panda - Thanks! Happy New Year!

    Brenda - :) It was so much food, we barely finished any of it!

    Simon Food Favourites - Thanks :) I couldn't resist!

    Conor - Heehee thanks so much! Happy New Year!!

    FFichiban - Same to you! :) How great are deep fried wonton skins???

    Chele - Same to you! It is very fun :)

    Howard - Saaame, it's SOOOO good! Oh man the sauce was amazing....

    Lorraine - I know, we gobbled it up so quickly! All those hours of work and it disappears in minutes! Same to you!

    Reemski - It's the best salad ever! And I'm not even a salad person!

    Karen - Haha next year we have to plan a food bloggers CNY dinner! From scratch and with lots of love is the only way to do it. We do!

  20. OMG.. that's like the best looking yee sang I've ever seen!!!


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