Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Prosperity Toss

The Prosperity Toss, or lo hei (捞起) / lousang (捞生) is a must have during Chinese New Year. Traditionally served on the 7th day of Chinese New Year (Renri 人日) to celebrate the day humans were created (which is why it is everyone's birthday on this day), it is now also consumed during any other day throughout the 15 days of Chinese New Year.

It is normally served with white radish, green radish, carrot, capsicum, turnip, red pickled ginger, pomelo or lime, sun-dried oranges, key lime leaves, Chinese parsley, chilli, jellyfish, peanut crumbs, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese shrimp crackers (or fried dried shrimp), five spice powder and is accompanied by plum sauce, rice vinegar, kumquat paste and sesame oil. And of course, lousang would not be lousang without raw salmon.

Well, we all know that us Chinese love attaching meaning to everything, including our food. The ingredients that go into this dish are no exception.

Raw salmon: Nian nian you yu (年年有余) is for abundance through the year, as the word 'fish' in Chinese sounds like 'abundance'.

Pomelo or lime: Da ji da li (大吉大利) is for good luck and smooth sailing experiences.

Five spice powder: Zhao cai jin bao (招财进宝) is to attract weath and treasures.

Sesame oil: Yi ben wan li (一本万利) is to make 10,000 times of profit with your capital and Cai yuan guang jin (财源广进) is for numerous sources of wealth. 

Carrots: Hong yun dang tou (鸿运当头) is for good luck approaching.

Green radish: Qing chun chang zhu (青春常驻) is for forever young.

White radish: Feng sheng shui qi (风生水起) is for progress at fast pace and  Bu bu gao sheng (步步高升) is for reaching a higher level with each step, both for prosperity in business and promotion at work.

Peanut crumbs: Jin yin man wu (金银满屋) is for a household filled with gold and silver.

Sesame seeds: Sheng yi xing long (生意兴隆)  is for prosperity for the business.

Shrimp crackers: Man di huang jin (满地黄金)  is for a floor full of gold.

Plum sauce and kumquat paste: Tian tian mi mi (甜甜蜜蜜) is for a sweet and pleasant relationship.

The fun part is the tossing part, where we mix all the ingredients together using chopsticks, tossing them as high as possible while saying auspicious wishes.

Always a messy but super fun affair.

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