Given that the Hubbs hails from a South-East Asian country, I thought I'd attempt one of his Chinese New Year traditions. They call it Lao Yu Sheng (translates to the "Prosperity Toss") and the dish is served during any of the 15 days of Chinese New Year.
Now, this might sound, or even come easy for some of you but having not been exposed to the dish much, this is tackling something new. To make things more challenging, Yu Sheng is supposed to contain pieces of raw fish. The dish has the word "fish" in its name, for goodness sakes! On the other hand, I'm a vegetarian so that makes things a bit tricky.
(I acknowledge that I made it harder than it's supposed to be, because other than the raw fish, the rest of the ingredients for Yu Sheng aren't meat. Unfortunately, I'm a vegetarian that doesn't like to eat her veggies much, so I'd rather chow down on a hearty meal of tasty stir-fried noodles than a plate full of raw veggies with food coloring and condiments.)
Coming up with this impromptu surprise for the Hubbs this afternoon was also not very helpful. In the midst of it all, I realized I didn't have a lot of the ingredients needed, but I was going to make this dish tonight, dammit! So with a quick bit of reading up online, and a ton of "creative" thinking, here is what I had to make up the dish:
Yu Sheng has the following ingredients, added in particular orders with each ingredient symbolizing a good wish (usually because it's a homophone of some auspicious word):
- Raw fish (usually salmon) - for abundance
- Lime or pomelo - for smooth sailing/good luck
- Pepper - to attract money
- Oil - poured all over in a circular motion to symbolize money flowing in from all directions
- Shredded carrots - for good luck
- Shredded radish dyed green - for eternal youth
- Shredded white radish - for prosperity and luck at work
- Peanut crumbs - symbolizes gold dust and therefore wealth
- Sesame seeds - for a prospering business
- Deep-fried flour dough pillows - for oodles of gold
Well, raw fish is out so I chucked in vegetarian bacon strips. We didn't have a fresh lime, so lime juice from a bottle would do. I completely forgot about the pepper.. oh dear. We had oil, so that got poured all over. I couldn't be bothered shredding carrots and had seen some interesting noodles in red and green. Well guess what was substituted for our shredded carrots and radishes? And of course, we didn't have peanuts so I pounded up some cashews. Breadcrumbs would have to do for the deep-fried dough pillow thingies.. they're both made from dough to some degree, so that'll do!
Instead of tossing it on the table and eating everything as is (like we're supposed to), I chucked everything in the wok and we tossed it there. We weren't too keen on eating bland, cold noodles..
A bit of teriyaki marinade went in and we had a scrumptious little stir fry dinner. We figured we hit everything symbolic there was to hit - all the good luck and wealth from the Yu Sheng, plus noodles to signify longevity. We also have an awesome apple I found at the local Asian supermarket with words of blessings on it. Apples apparently signify peace and that's always a good thing. So there you have it, my friends! A new twist on a traditional dish and plenty of good wishes to usher in the Year of the Horse!