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Yusheng with Lox

Lauren Monaco Grossman

Easy

Difficulty

The ritual of eating Yusheng, a raw fish salad, is common in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia throughout the Lunar New Year season. This festive salad celebrates togetherness and well wishes for prosperity. In Mandarin, the word for fish (“yu” 鱼) sounds like the word for abundance (“yu” 余); and the word for raw (“sheng” 生) shares the same character and sound as the word for growth/life (“sheng” 生). This dish is also known as Lo Hei, which means “tossing up” in Cantonese.

To connect with our family’s Jewish culinary traditions, this recipe uses lox instead of raw fish, which adds a smoky element to the salad. It also replaces plum sauce with an American Jewish favorite, Gold’s Sweet and Sour Duck Sauce (an American Chinese version of plum sauce).

Sometimes I change up the ingredients slightly, depending on what is in season where I live.

This salad is full of beautiful colors and textures in every bite! Most of the prep work can be done the day before. Wonton strips can be fried a week before, or you can buy them already fried.

When assembling the dish with friends and family, a corresponding phrase is recited as you add each ingredient. At the end, everyone uses their chopsticks to toss the dish together as high as possible; the higher the toss, the more wealth in the new year! Use the biggest platter you have, since it will make quite a mess.

Here are some ingredient ideas:

Fish: Lox, smoked salmon or sashimi grade salmon

Vegetables: Carrot, purple daikon, green daikon, pickled ginger, white radish, watermelon radish, turnips, red cabbage, jicama, cilantro, cucumber, pickled red onions and scallions

Fruit: Pomelo, grapefruit, mango, mandarin orange, green mango, green papaya, kiwi and cantaloupe

Crunch: Roasted chopped peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, fried wonton strips, crispy chow mein noodles and crispy shallots

Ingredients for 6 servings

Sauce ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. Gold’s Sweet and Sour Duck Sauce (or replace with 3 Tbsp. plum sauce, 1 1/2 Tbsp. Apricot jam)
  • 1 1/5 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
  • dash of cinnamon powder dash of 5-spice powder juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. sugar, optional

Salad ingredients:

  • 200g/7oz lox or smoked salmon (or sashimi grade salmon) 1/3 cup carrot, peeled & julienned
  • 1/3 cup white radish, peeled & julienned
  • 1/3 cup watermelon radish or purple daikon, peeled & julienned 1/3 cup green daikon, peeled & julienned
  • 1/3 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • pomelo or grapefruit, peeled, membranes removed, loosely broken into pieces 2 kiwis, peeled & julienned
  • 1/3 cup green papaya, cantaloupe, or mango, julienned
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onion slices
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise, cut into 2” strips
  • 2 Tbsp. pickled ginger
  • large handful of deep-fried wonton strips
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. crispy fried shallots
  • 1 lime, sliced in half, optional

For garnish:

  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. roasted peanuts, chopped
  • dash of white pepper (in a red New Year packet) dash of 5-spice powder (in a red New Year packet)
  • Preparation Time
    2 hours

Directions

To make the sauce:

  1. Combine all sauce ingredients (except sugar) in a jar and shake until well combined.
  2. Taste and add sugar or more lemon juice, if necessary.

To plate the salad:

  1. Roll lox into a rose shape by overlapping lox slices in a straight line. Start at one end and roll up into a rose shape. Place lox roses in the center of a large serving platter.
  2. Arrange the rest of the salad ingredients around the lox, each in its own separate pile (do not mix together yet).
  3. To the side or the salad, place two red New Years packets, each filled with spices. Place sauce in a bowl to the side. Fill two smaller bowls separately with sesame seeds and peanuts.
  4. When ready to serve, gather everyone around the table, sprinkle the sesame seeds, peanuts, spices and dressing over the salad. Each ingredient has a corresponding greeting.
  5. Have everyone toss the salad as high as possible with their chopsticks while calling out their wishes for the new year!

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Lauren Monaco Grossman

Lauren is a graphic designer and illustrator by day and home cook, baker and ice cream maker by night. She and her husband celebrate three different New Year’s holidays (four if you count Tu Bishvat) and love to host Shabbat dinners with friends and family. She enjoys expressing her multiracial identity through the food on their table and learning the stories and histories behind the recipes. She’s often making a mess in the kitchen, playing with flavors and techniques where her Peranakan and Italian ancestries are in dialogue with her Jewish identity. Visit her food blog at Mintystable.com.