• Lychee, cucumber and chilli salad (Benito Martin)Source: Benito Martin

This is a very refreshing salad, crunchy with texture, hot with chilli and laden with herbs. The lychee gives small hints of sweetness that seems to bring everything together. It is a perfect dish for lunch on a hot summer day.




Skill level

Average: 3.1 (39 votes)


  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 4 small green chillies, chopped
  • 4 small red eschalots, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • salt flakes and white pepper
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) delicate extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 g peeled and seeded lychees
  • 1 medium Lebanese cucumber, sliced into a small roll cut
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • ½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make your dressing, place the garlic and chilli along with a pinch of salt and white pepper into a mortar and pestle and pound until fine. Add in the eschalot and palm sugar and continue pounding until the eschalot just starts to break up. 

Add in the fish sauce and lime juice and give your dressing a stir. At this stage have a taste -  you want the flavours to be powerful and quite hot and strong. Once you are happy with the combination, add in the olive oil and mix to combine. 

Place your lychees, bean sprouts and cucumber into a mixing bowl, add in the dressing and combine well. Have a taste to make sure you are happy with the balance of flavours. Add in the herbs, give another gentle mix and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter to serve.


Cook’s tips

• This dressing is best made at the time you want to use it, as it will lose its pungency over time.


Photography by Benito Martin. Food styling by O Tama Carey. Prop styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.


This recipe is part of The seasonal cook: Lychee column. View previous The seasonal cook columns and recipes.


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