At The Dinner Ladies, we used to bring our version of the prosperity salad to the menu every Lunar New Year, but when we made the switch to only frozen dinners, there were a few salads we couldn't keep on the menu - some raw vegetables like cucumber or cabbage just don't freeze well. But if you enjoyed our rendition of the prosperity salad over the last few years (and why wouldn't you? It's delicious!!), we've shared the recipe for you here.
First, here's a little bit of history... Sit comfortably, and we'll begin.
The Origins of the Prosperity Toss
Prosperity Toss (also known as yusheng and yee sang) is customarily the starting dish of a multi-course Lunar New Year dinner to bring good luck for the new year.
There are a few origin stories of how yee sang became what it is today. It's mainly served in Malaysia and Singapore (though increasingly becoming popular in other parts of the world!), so it's to nobody's surprise that it's thought to originate from either Malaysia or Singapore.
One claim is yee sang was created by Loke Ching Fatt in Seremban, Malaysia in the 1940s and another is that four Singaporean chefs known as the Four Heavenly Kings invented it in the 1960s.
It's believed that the roots of the recipe have come from influences in China - more specifically in Guangdong where a dish of mainly raw fish existed (yusheng translates to raw fish, but also an increase in abundance).
Regardless of its history, at its core is the heartwarming ritual of family and friends gathering together at the dinner table, tossing the salad together while wishing each other a prosperous year ahead.
The communal tossing with chopsticks isn't just a simple act of mixing ingredients together - the higher you toss, the more prosperity! And at the same time you wish each other good fortune - traditionally, each ingredient has an auspicious meaning and a corresponding phrase to recite as you toss.
Take the raw fish, for example, which symbolises abundance, or crushed peanuts, which is thought to bring you wealth.
The Dinner Ladies Prosperity Salad
200g fresh salmon sashimi
1 carrot, finely sliced
2 cucumbers, finely sliced
2 cups of Chinese cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons pickled ginger
3 spring onions, sliced diagonally
¼ red onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
50g of crunchy fried noodles (store-bought is fine!)
2 tablespoons plum sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon Chinese five spice (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice (optional)
Once you've prepped and chopped all the veggies, it's a matter of assembling it by colour along with the raw salmon, then whisking together the dressing ingredients. Then comes the fun part - get tossing with your nearest and dearest!
PS. Crunchy fried noodles are a great cheat, though you could also fry sliced wonton skins.
From all of us at The Dinner Ladies, we hope all your yee sang wishes come true as you usher in the Year of the Ox!