This refreshing dish is one of the easiest but most attractive concoctions to make! It's also extremely low in propoints and calories. (2-4 pp/100-200 kcal per portion, depending on quantity of prawns you use).
Even though it looks so fabulous, I've put it in the 'SMASH & GRAB' section as I have used pre-marinated, pre-cooked prawns from a supermarket. You could cook or marinade your own prawns, but if you are in a hurry (or can't be bothered!) this really is a quick dish to prepare. If you have all the ingredients to hand, it takes less than 5 minutes to assemble.
This is a happy little dish. It lifts the soul. Sometimes I make it for myself for lunch, but it also makes an impressive starter for a dinner party. It really comes into its own in the Summer, for eating 'al fresco', and there are so many variations you can make. I'll suggest a few to you at the end of the post, but go ahead and experiment with your favourite flavours and ingredients. For this version...
You will need:
1 small gem lettuce per person
(Don't buy the tiny ones-they are too small)
Pre-cooked prawns-with lemon/herb
or chilli marinade
(Most supermarkets do these. From experience, these packs usually work out to 3 or 4 propoints for the WHOLE pack, but please check carefully. I can easily eat a whole pack for one portion, but you could share between two if using lots of other ingredients).
A variety of fresh herbs;
coriander, dill, basil, mint, chives.
Thai sweet chilli dipping sauce
Start by cutting the bottom off the gem lettuce. This 'releases' the leaves. Arrange in a circle on your serving plate. Put a couple of leaves in the centre to fill the gap.
Put one or two prawns in each lettuce leaf, depending on your allocated portion size.
It starts to look attractive almost immediately-the pretty hues of pink from the prawns, spiked with flecks of red chilli from the prawn marinade, contrasting with the lime green lettuce leaves is a match made in heaven.
Literally tear and scatter a combination of fresh herbs around the lettuce cups. As well as its distinctive flavour, dill adds a visual delicacy to the plate. Each herb you add contributes an individual flavour of its own.
Squeeze half a lime over the prawns and 'blob' a small amount from 1 measured teaspoon of Thai sweet chilli dipping sauce into each lettuce cup.(Please note that 1 teaspoon chilli sauce is 0pp/16kcal whereas 2 teaspoons are 1pp/32kcal).
Slice spring onion and scatter freely over the plate.
Serve with the other half of lime. The finished dish is a feast in every sense of the word!
Try adding diced mango and/or cucumber to this version. The sweetness of the mango really compliments the fiery kick of the chilli. The cucumber adds another dimension of crunchiness and texture.
The options are pretty limitless using the lettuce cups as a serving device to carry the main theme of flavours...You could do a tandoori chicken with fresh mint, coriander, mango chutney and chopped red onion, spring onion, tomato and cucumber with a yoghurt raita (mmmmm must try that one!)....Or tuna, coriander, rocket and pomegranate.....Left-over roast beef, finely sliced with horseradish sauce, soft and sweet roasted onions, julienned carrot and cucumber shreds.....Feta cheese, mint and watermelon cubes with some red onion and chives.
You can see this could go on for ever!
As I make some of these alternative variations, I will update the post, so check back from time to time-especially during the Summer months when we may want some fresh salad ideas.
Most of all, enjoy the experience of making and eating this with your fingers....'throw' it together in an artistic, but uncontrived way.
Little cups of love!
This is how the Indian version turned out! I used 140g chicken tikka from a supermarket (4pp/180kcal), 30g Weightwatchers creme fraiche mixed with chopped fresh mint (1pp/40kcal) and 1 teaspoon mango chutney (1pp/40kcal). I squeezed half a lime and chopped all the salad vegetables described above really small. I sprinkled the top with some smoked paprika and ground black pepper.