A Nyonya in UK, Chinese New Year, Culture, Dinner, Lunch

Vegetarian Yee Sang and Steam Boat

My vegetarian Yee Sang - a healthy and low calorie salad to celebrate Chinese New. Year
My vegetarian Yee Sang – a healthy and low calorie salad to celebrate Chinese New Year


28th Jan 2021 Update.

I have made a video on how to make the pickles to the Yee Sang. Click the link to watch.


Yee Sang is a dish that I believe was invented by Overseas Chinese. I had not heard about it when I was a kid. I only learnt about it in the 80’s. Even then it wasn’t that popular.

Later on, restaurants have them on their menu to encourage more people to consume them so that they have better business.

The actual Yee Sang contains raw fish. The name actually is RAW FISH. The pronunciation of the words also means Money or Good Fortune and Growth or prosperity.

Yee Sang can cost a lot if you were to have it in a restaurant. You can have all sorts of raw fish. Salmon is now very popular.

Well, I am not really fond of raw fish. I don’t like sashimi as well.

Since we are not in Malaysia, I decided to celebrate Chinese New Year anyway – just so that we have the atmosphere. So I made vegetarian Yee Sang.

There are a lot of ingredients but you need not have all of them. Since most of the pickles are not available where I live, I made my own pickles which are so simple to make. I used sweet bean curd sticks to replace the fish. I shredded and fried them in hot oil. That takes care of the protein part. The rest are vegetables and the sauce is plum sauce and some garnishing.

As we are a small family, I made just enough. So my measurement is by the handful, no weighing or serious measuring for the salad ingredients. I also used up  whatever left over vegetables from the new year cooking. Most of the ingredients are store cupboard ingredients so you need not sweat it out.

Here is the easy peasy and healthy recipe for Yee Sang. Btw, we had it on the 8th day of Chinese New Year.

My Vegetarian Yee Sang

Quick info:

Serves: 4
Difficulty: easy
Cost: £
Time: 30 – 40 mins excluding pickling


A handful of finely shredded:

Spring onions
Sweet red pepper, or 1 Red chilli
Chinese pear
Red cabbage
White cabbage

A handful of
Pomelo segment –sacs separated
Pickled cucumber
Pickled carrots
Crispy fried sweet bean curd sticks – about 4 sheets/rectangles

3 Kaffir lime leaves – finely shredded

You can also add these:
Pickled papaya
20 g young ginger
6 pickled leeks


2 tsp sesame – toasted
1 tbsp peanut – toasted and crushed

Sauce ingredients

2 Tbsp Plum sauce
1 Tbsp Runny honey or apricot jam
½ Lime – juiced
1 Tbsp Water
Sesame oil-a few dashes
½ tsp Corn flour mixed with some water
Salt to taste

1 tsp Five spice powder – put in red packet
½ tsp Nutmeg powder – put it red packet

For the pickles:

½ Carrot
½ Cucumber
2 tsp Sea salt
Pickling Solution
150 ml Hot water
1 Tbsp Rice vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar


1. Make the pickles.
Combine the pickling solution ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolve. Set aside to cool

Cut the carrot and cucumber into match stick size. Keep them separate. Add half of the sea salt to the carrots and mix well. Set aside for at least 2 hours. Do the same for the cucumber.

After the time, rinse out the vegetables and squeeze dry. Soak the carrot in the half of the pickling solution. Repeat for the cucumber. Set aside for at least 2 hours or overnight. To serve: Squeeze dry and use.

2. Fry the sweet bean curd.
If you are using the sweet bean curd sheet, you can prepare them before hand.
Cut about 4 bean curd sticks into strips. Fry in hot oil until it puffs up. Remove and drain and put onto paper towel to absorb the oil.

Store in an airtight container if you have more than you can use. I usually make more so that I can have it with other dishes, especially my vegetarian fried rice vermicelli.

3. Prepare the sauce.
Add all the sauce ingredients except the corn flour solution into a small pan and slowly bring to a boil. Thicken with the corn flour solution. Set aside to cool in a serving bowl.

4. To assemble:
Arrange all the vegetables and other ingredients in a large plate.
Make sure all the diners have a pair of chopsticks.
Pour the sauce and garnishing on top, sprinkle with the spices and all diners toss and stir the mixture. The higher you toss, the more prosperity you will get.

So enjoy tossing.

Then, the diners help themselves to the Yee Sang!
Loh Hei,Loh Hei!!
Huat, Huat, Huat!! ( prosperity, prosperity, prosperity!! –in the Hokkien dialect).

Huat! Huat! Huat! Happy Tossing and Kan Pai!
Huat! Huat! Huat!
Happy Tossing and Kan Pai!

Yee sang is usually served as a starter.

Enjoy and have fun and lots of laughter!!

May the year of the Fire Monkey be great for you!!

Still on the celebration…(before the 15th day of Chinese New Year)

We decided to have hot pot for dinner on Friday. However, I do not have a proper hot-pot or steam boat, I used my trusty rice cooker. We had fun anyway, cooking all the ingredients and all diners got involved in it!! This is one way of having all the family together and food is the connecting factor!!

Steam Boat..Wah..!!
Steam Boat..Wah..!!

My girls say they enjoy the action of having to do something ie, cooking and scooping during dinner.

We used to do Korean Barbeque as well when we were in Malaysia. Hmm, looks like I need to get all the equipment for this.

Another item to put on my list when I go home to Malaysia…

Kong Xi Fah Cai.

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