鱼生 or Yú Shēng is traditionally a spring salad eaten by the Chinese community in Singapore and Malaysia to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It is considered a symbol of prosperity. You may have taken part in the shouting of well wishes as the salad is tossed by everyone at the table! Fun for the adults – and fun for children as well. In this Montessori at Home Activity, we have created a simple and healthy recipe to plan and prepare with your child.
Our Mount Sophia Parent Liaison Yng Sze and her family kindly tried our recipe out for us.
After making their shopping list, they trooped off to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients!
Here they are selecting their cucumbers and radishes.
Healthy Yu Sheng Recipe for Children
- 100g fresh smoked salmon, thinly sliced *please note that this is to replace the raw fish component
- 2 cups white radish, thinly shredded
- 2 cups carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cucumber, thinly shredded
- 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp pickled ginger, thinly shredded
- 4 sprigs of fresh Chinese parsley
- ¼ cup of chopped peanuts, roasted and unsalted
- Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- 1 tbsp five spice powder
- ¼ cup whole-wheat crackers, crushed
- ½ cup of plum sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 tsp peanut/ corn oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/8 tsp five spice powder
(Serves 6 to 8)
- To make the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Arrange the fish slices in the centre of a large platter.
- Place each type of vegetable in sections around the platter.
- Sprinkle the pickled ginger, peanut, sesame seeds, parsley and whole-wheat crackers over the vegetables.
- Pour the dressing evenly.
- You are ready to toss for good health!
Recipe adapted from the Singapore Health Promotion Board
Here is a helpful guide video about the ‘lucky phrases’ to say while you’re tossing the salad.
Tip: Play the video while they’re adding the ingredients to the salad! It’s OK to get as messy and playful with the tossing as possible. P.S. Don’t forget to get everybody a set of chopsticks!
Food and cooking are some of the best and most fun ways to include Montessori learning at home. Children love being involved in cooking for the family and being able to contribute in some way. They are also more receptive to eating (or trying something new) the food they have prepared.
Engage your child by giving them a part in picking the ingredients to purchase: write the shopping list together and ask them to help you find items at the shop. What would they like in the dish and why? This is a great, fun way to have discussions about healthy food and how it nourishes them. There are lots of variations but yu sheng typically consists of raw fish strips (replaced with smoked salmon in our child-friendly recipe), crackers, shredded vegetables, five spice powder and a sweet plum sauce. When you are planning this activity, feel free to substitute with your child’s favourite fruit and vegetables – they may even prefer their favourite savoury cookie instead of crackers!
Once you get home, the little sous chefs can help out in the kitchen. Let them wash, prep the vegetables and lay them out in bowls. Prepare a small knife to cut the vegetables (supervised). Make sure there are bowls and spoons ready to measure out the ingredients for the dressing. Older children can help you to measure out the ingredients for the dressing together too. While you’re working on this together, have discussions about colours, smells, tastes and textures.
Check out our Free Montessori at Home Activity Booklets!
This is a collection of Montessori at Home activities that you can do with your child. All are engaging and fun, but they also have developmental intentions. They are easy to do and require minimal preparation. Most materials can already be found in the home!