This crunchy, colourful salad really ticks all the flavour boxes – hot, sweet and sour. It looks impressive served in the little lettuce cups. It would make a great little canape, when served on halved little gem lettuce leaves.
Prep: 15 mins plus standing Cooking: 6-8 mins Serves 4-6
1 stalk of lemon grass
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
30ml/2tbsp vegetable oil
half a cucumber
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
175g/6oz small cherry tomatoes, halved
45ml/3tbsp chopped fresh mint
45ml/3tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 little gem lettuce hearts, trimmed
juice 1 lime
5ml/1tsp Nam Pla fish sauce
15/1/2oz salted peanuts, chopped (optional)
1. Trim the ends from the lemon grass and place it on a chopping board. Bash it with the end of your knife, to flatten slightly, then finely slice the lemongrass. This makes it less fibrous.
2. Slice the chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, add the chicken and lemon grass and fry for 6-8 mins or until the chicken is golden brown. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
3. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Thinly slice the cucumber on the diagonal and place in a bowl. Add the onion, chilli, tomatoes, mint and coriander.
4. Break the little gem into leaves and reserve 8-12 small ones for serving the salad. Finely shred the remaining leaves and add to the bowl. Finally add the chicken, lemon grass, lime juice, fish sauce and peanuts. Toss together and leave the flavours to mix for at least 5 mins.
5. To serve, divide the lettuce leaves between four serving plates and scoop a little salad into each. If liked serve with a little more chilli dipping sauce spooned over.