Salad cups are one of my favourite ways to serve as an appetizer. You can take pretty much any salad recipe and instead of serving it on a plate, shrink the portion to fit onto lettuce, endive spears, Tostitos scoops, mini fillo shells, wonton cups and so on; you get the picture. December is a party month and that usually means at some point you’ll be entertaining in your home. It’s a time when entertaining can be a drain on one’s pocketbook and free time or both. But it doesn’t have to be if one makes a plan and eliminates any last minute running around (wasting time and money). Make a list. It’s an easy task to do and from there you can decide when and what you’ll serve your guests.
Start light and go from there. When serving hors d’oeuvres, it’s recommended 2 to 4 pieces per person an hour before dinner. I serve 3 to 4 pieces depending on size and how filling it will be for each guest; you want to whet their appetite.
80g (2.5oz) rice vermicelli noodle, soaked in hot water until soft (5 minutes), drain and chop
3/4 cup chicken breast, steamed and shredded
10 shrimp, peeled, steamed and sliced in half
2 to 3 spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 red chilli, seeds removed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 cup warm water
Place all salad ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. For the sauce, combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Chill in the refrigerator 30 minutes before filling lettuce cups. To make gluten-free salad cups, use bean thread noodle (cellophane noodle) as they’re made from mung bean flour (make sure to read the ingredient list as cheaper varieties can be made from wheat).
The Culinary Chase’s Note: I use a microwave (saves time and less to clean up) to cook the shrimp and chicken. Cooked separately. You can make the salad ingredients early in the day allowing the flavors to develop. Enjoy!