2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, pale inner core only, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, butterflied
2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into balls of various sizes (3 cups)
1/4 cup each of chopped cilantro and mint
In a bowl, combine the lemongrass, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Light a grill and oil the grates. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into 1/2-inch dice.
In a mini food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and water and pulse until the chiles and garlic are finely chopped. Pour the dressing over the chicken. Stir in the watermelon, cilantro and mint.
Spoon the salad into Chinese soup spoons and serve.
NOTES Variation Slice the chicken. Slice the watermelon and stamp out rounds. Arrange the watermelon in shallow bowls and top with the chicken, dressing, cilantro and mint.