6 Ways to Make Your Yee Sang Healthier This Chinese New Year

Why you should care

Say yes to yee sang that brings you both wealth and health.

If you love yee sang as much as we do – the sweet tang of that plum sauce, the crunchy pickled vegetables, the succulent bits of fish – we show you how to start the year on the right note.

Yee sang is basically salad, right? Think again. A plate of the dish clocks in at more than 1,000 calories! Granted, it’s meant to serve the entire table but some of us just can’t help but dig in; our Asian parents did tell us not to waste.

Fear not, here’s how you can indulge without the guilt this season.

Make it Fresh

It’s so easy to pour yee sang out of a box and be done with it, but most store bought or pre-ordered yee sangs are high in preservatives to prolong their shelf lives. We like the nod to longevity but opt for long years of your own instead by making it fresh.

yee sang vegetable

SOURCE: simplyscratch.com

Yee sang typically contains shredded carrots (symbolising approaching good luck), white radish (prosperity at work), green radish (eternal youth), and pomelo (more good luck!). Start by grating them into thin strips – you can even use your spiraliser if you have one. Soak the shredded vegetables in iced water, then squeeze out the moisture with your hands or the back of a large spoon.

More Fruits and Vegetables!

Make sure you’re getting your daily dose of nutrients during the festivities by loading up on vegetables. Red, green, and gold are auspicious colours during the season; red and green colouring is usually added to the radish strips for symbolism.

Instead of doing this, why not add more brightly coloured vegetables and fruits? Red and green capsicum, as well as Mandarin orange slices lend colour and flavour to your yee sang.

In addition to the ones mentioned above, cucumber and papaya (good returns), cabbage (wealth), and leek (growth and ideas) are great options too.

Skip the Deep Frying

toasted tortilla pieces

SOURCE: makegoodfood.ca

The radish strips are typically deep fried, as are the crunchy crisps (wealth and prosperity) that are secretly our favourites. Put the wok away and toss them into the oven for 5-6 minutes instead!

Alternatively, use a dehydrator on a low setting for the radish strips. You can also pass on the crisps and replace them with crushed whole wheat crackers or tortilla strips.

Go Easy on the Salt and Sugar

Smoked salmon (abundance), crushed peanuts (wealth and blessings for the home), sesame seeds (prosperity in business), and pickled white and red ginger make up the other usual suspects.

There’s no symbolism to the ginger here; it’s simply a palate cleanser and preservative. Since you’re making your yee sang fresh, skip the pickling and opt for fresh or very lightly pickled ginger to reduce the sugar in your yee sang.

yee sang fresh ingredients

SOURCE: mintyskitchen.blogspot.my

Use fresh salmon instead of canned salmon as the latter often has high amounts of sodium. A dash of lemon juice and a wee bit of salt should suffice as flavouring for your salmon which can then be smoked, while the seeds and nuts can be toasted in the oven without any additions.

You can also replace the usual peanuts with healthier alternatives like almonds and pistachios.

Dress Down the Dressing

yee sang sauces

SOURCE: superchefdiary.blogspot.com

There are usually four elements here: plum sauce (sweetness in life and relationships), oil (gold pouring in from all directions), pepper (more wealth – we’re sensing a theme), and five spice powder (good fortune).

We’re not ones to wish you bitterness or hardship so instead of leaving out the sweet, substitute the bottled plum sauce for a homemade version. We like this [recipe](http://www.anediblemosaic.com/chinese-inspired-plum-sauce-paleo/) which uses honey and spices to enhance the plums’ natural sweetness, instead of the usual spoonfuls of sugar.

Opt for heart-friendly, healthy virgin olive or nut oils. You can also mix your oils with lemon juice which gives the same liquid gold appearance of oil.

yee sang

SOURCE: pamper.my

Wish for Health

You’re now ready to go! Assemble your shredded ingredients in neat piles on a round plate with the salmon in the middle. Add the pomelo to the fish, followed by the pepper and five spice powder. Then, drizzle the oil on all the ingredients.

Next comes the shredded vegetables, crushed peanuts, and sesame seeds. Pour the plum sauce over the ingredients before finishing with a flourish of crisps. Toss, toss, toss! Remember to make auspicious wishes while tossing, like “eternal youth”, “abundance”, and “willpower to stick to my daily yoga routine”.

Why you should care

Say yes to yee sang that brings you both wealth and health.

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