Year of the Horse

Symbolic Yu Sheng
Symbolic Yu Sheng


Toren and I were graciously invited to attend the Chinese New Year Festivities, hosted by our own Royal Singapore Air Force and their families!

We were impressed, as always, by the generosity and spirit shown by this amazing group.

Of course the main event was the food ~ isn’t it always? We started the meal with Yu Sheng, a traditional salad made up of specific components full of symbolism.

Each ingredient in the salad represents a certain auspicious symbol:

  • Fish – abundance
  • Mandarine orange – luck
  • Pepper – money
  • Oil – excess of profits
  • Carrots – blessings of good luck
  • Radish – prosperity in business and promotion at work
  • Peanut crumbs – gold and silver or eternal youth
  • Sesame seeds – flourishing business
  • Deep fried flour crisps – gold
  • Noodles – Long life

A surprising element to this salad ~ it is literally a “tossed salad”:

When you add each ingredient to the plate, you are supposed to recite greetings of good luck and prosperity. When every ingredient is added to the plate, everyone will yell “lo hei” seven times, while tossing all the ingredients together (as high as possible) and eventually toward the center of the plate, to spread the luck around.

tossing for luck!
tossing for luck!

One of the dishes was a sticky barbecues pork, Char Siu.

We made our own version! enjoy ~ v





Sweet-Spice Rub

  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t chipotle powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon

Place all ingredients in bowl ~ stir well; set aside.


yummm ~
yummm ~

Val’s BBQ Sauce

  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 c onion, finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 c water
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 t Worcester sauce
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add crushed red pepper, minced onion and garlic; stir in brown sugar, salt and tomato paste; while stirring, slowly pour in water, stir until well mixed. Bring to a low boil, cook for about 4 minutes; remove from heat and stir in Worcester and lemon juice; season with pepper.

no sauce needed
no sauce needed

I used baby back ribs this time, but the rub and the sauce goes well with pork, beef and chicken.

Pat rack dry ~ my trick is to sprinkle about 1 T apple cider vinegar over meat before I apply rub. Massage dry rub into meat (you’ll do this for all meats used). Either place meat in shallow pan or wrap in foil sprayed with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 and cook ribs for about 40 minutes. Turn heat to 225 and cook an additional 4-5 hours. Just before ribs are finished cooking, make your sides (roasted rosemary potatoes and broccoli-kale slaw for us) and sauce.  The ribs were so tasty! No sauce needed, but since I made it, we served it on the side ~ one bite with, one bite without! Enjoy ~ v

Note: I cubed my red potatoes, drizzled with a touch of olive oil, sprinkled kosher salt and fresh rosemary, finished off with a pinch of crushed red pepper. I roasted them in the oven during the first 40 minutes of cooking time for the meat, and heated them up the last 10 minutes of cooking time for the meat!




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