Zodiac animal added to the toss

Inspiring start to the new year: Koo (third from right) and her guests getting ready to toss their pig-shaped yee sang. (Inset) Koo’s dog-shaped one for last year’s celebrations.

KUALA LUMPUR: Amusing her family with her inventive zodiac animal-inspired yee sang brightens Chin Yern Yen’s festive celebrations.

The 35-year-old manager started offering her creative yee sang two years ago after seeing a photo of a friend’s rooster-shaped one.

Chinese animal zodiac-shaped yee sang has become increasingly trendy in the last few years.

The dish, a must-have during Chinese New Year as it has auspicious connotations, is typically made with fresh and pickled vegetables and fruits, raw fish, seasoning, crackers, oil and plum sauce.

Chin said she used a photo as a reference to help her create her yee sang and improvised the designs along the way.

“I only got one chance to get it right as there are no prior practice sessions.

“It is cute and worth the effort to see everyone cracking up with laughter,” she said.

Ex-school teacher Koo Chin Chin, 71, joined the creative yee sang craze last year.

“I noticed it was a trend, so I incorporated a dog design in my yee sang,” she said.

For the coming Lunar New Year, she has created a pig-shaped yee sang, using her imagination and Google as guides.

“I do the background first and then make the face of the pig using radish, turnip and pomelo. For the eyes and snout, I use prunes and bunga kantan (torch ginger flower),” she added.

Koo’s yee sang comprised six kinds of preserved vegetables, six fresh vegetables and herbs, four types of nuts, a homemade apricot jam and sour plum sauce.

Even though the preparation was tedious, Koo said forming the shape of the animal was the easiest as it only took her 15 minutes.

“It is not that difficult. Once you create the nose, eyes and ears, it will look like the animal,” she added.

Koo said she would continue making healthy animal-shaped yee sang as it makes for a great conversation piece while savouring the dish with family and friends.

More in StarMetro on Saturday.

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