It’s the big day today! Happy Chinese New Year or 新年快樂! To celebrate, we have two very special and authentic fish dishes from two different regions of China. The word for fish, “Yu,” sounds like the words both for wish and abundance, so serving fish dishes at the end of the meal symbolizes a wish for abundance in the coming year.
TEOCHEW STEAMED WHOLE FISH
Teochew (or Chaozhou) people are native to the eastern Guangdong province of China and Teochew cuisine offers a lot of healthy steamed, stir-fried and braised dishes. Using whole fish with tomatoes, salted vegetables and salted plums, the flavours of Teochew steamed fish are savoury, sour, spicy and altogether very appetising.
1 fresh seabass/ seabream/ gös (gutted, cleaned and scaled)
1 pickled sour plum
1 teaspoon fermented soya bean paste (tao cheo)
A dash of fish sauce
Salt and pepper
2 shiitake mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1-2 tablespoons pickled mustard (kiam chye) (thinly sliced)
1 red chilli (seeded and thinly sliced)
- Stuff the sour plum into the fish stomach.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper, mashed fermented bean paste, fish sauce, soya sauce and sesame oil.
- Garnish the fish with the sliced mushrooms, pickled mustard and chilli.
- Steam for 15-20 minutes or until the fish eyes are bulging.
- Remove from steamer and garnish with fresh chopped coriander
- Serve immediately.
Recipe: Diane Solosa
YU SHENG (New Year Raw Fish Salad)
This is a hugely popular and symbolic dish at Chinese New Year, particularly in the Chinese-speaking commmunities of Singapore and Malaysia. Every ingredient added has a meaning: The raw fish is added, symbolises abundance; the pomelo adds luck, whilst pepper is then dashed over in the hope of attracting more money . Then oil is poured out, circling the ingredients and encouraging money to flow in from all directions. Carrots are added, indicating blessings of good luck, whilst the shredded green radish symbolises eternal youth (the white radish brings prosperity in business. Even the peanuts and sesame seeds stand for gold and flourishing businesses. It’s a very auspicious dish!
Serves 8. Preparation time 20 min
250g fresh fish fillet (salmon or any white fish of your choice)
1 medium pomelo or grapefruit, cut into small wedges
2 carrots, shredded
1 white radish/daikon radish, shredded
1 jicama, shredded
2 cucumbers, shredded
80 grams pickled red ginger, cut into small strips
1 mango, cut into small strips
100g strips of fried wonton skin
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped coarsely
50g toasted sesame seeds
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon plum sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
a pinch of five spice powder
a pinch of salt and a dash of white pepper
- Make sure you buy the freshest fish for the dish and slice the fillet into thin strips. Season with a little salt and lime juice.
- Arrange all the ingredients into sections on a large serving platter.
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and green onions over the dish.
- Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together.
- To serve: Pour dressing over the salad. Have your guests simultaneously toss the salad high with their chopsticks while saying Lo Hei and well wishes for the new year.
Want more fantastic recipes? Check out our Expat’s Cookbook!
Recipe: Michelle Ng Eriksson
Photo Credits: avlxyz