Back in January my coworkers and I went on this “Paleo” diet and it lasted about three days … but during those three days I found this delicious fried “rice” recipe from Nom Nom Paleo that I thought was absolutely genius. You won’t believe what the “faux” rice (shown above) is made of!
For the rice I used one head of cauliflower. Cauliflower rice has been all over my instagram and twitter feed as of late so I took this as a sign to finally try it!
- 1 cauliflower
- 1 chinese sausage link
- 2 eggs
- soy sauce to taste (2-3 tablespoons)
- fish sauce to taste (1-2 tablespoons)
- seasame oil to taste
- black pepper
- 1 cup of frozen vegetables
- 1/4 chopped onion
- chopped cilantro
- scallions for garnish
- bbq pork (optional)
No need for salt because there is enough sodium in the soy & fish sauce! Fresh garlic and ginger would have also been really great in this recipe but I didn’t have any at the time so c’est la vie!
Step 1: Chop up the cauliflower head into bite sized florets and blanch for one minute ( thanks to some advice from the girls from twitter – @ccampb85 suggested boiling the cauliflower first and @mariaaguilarsaid chopping it by hand is a huge mess so this was the easiest and fastest way to get “rice”)
Step 2 (optional): Take the florets out and dunk them into a cold bath. This helps them retain their colour and stops them from over cooking – feel free to skip this if you’re feeling like a lazy butt, just run them through some cold water.
Step 3: Put the florets in a chopper and pulse into little kernels.
I bought this mini chopper from Fortinos for $9.99 and it’s quickly become by go-to kitchen tool. I use it to mince garlic and ginger, peppers, nuts, everything! It’s a great bargain. But if you are without a chopper – feel free to do this part by hand sucka!
You are not looking to turn it into a mash so make sure it’s still chunky, it should resemble the texture and shape of jasmine rice.
Step 5: Assemble all of your “mise en place” which pretty much means; get your shit together! Have all your ingredients chopped and ready to! I pretty much used up all the odds and ends I had in the fridge but I mainly stuck to the “usual” ingredients.
I did not deviate from my regular fried rice recipe because I wanted to see how close I could come to the taste and texture of a real fried rice dish and not a “healthier” alternative or something “paleo”
I ended up going with a handful of mushrooms, 1 cup frozen veggies, onions, one Chinese sausage link, eggs and a few strips of bbq pork I had in the fridge. To make it even more like a traditional fried rice, I cut strips of an omelette to add at the end. Make sure everything is cut as uniform as possible because you’ll want all the ingredients to have the same cooking time.
Feel free to make substitutions for any and everything in your fridge that you need to make disappear.
Step 6: On medium high heat, start to sauté off the Chinese sausage and onions. I used about a few drops of extra virgin olive oil (coconut oil would be great too) but relied mainly on the fatty bits of the Chinese sausage.
Step 7: Once the onion is translucent, add the remainder of the veggies, bbq pork, eggs and continue to cook on medium high heat. * my bbq pork and eggs were pre cooked so I added them at the end to reheat them. If your proteins are raw add them in with the onions and cook them through 3/4 of the way then add the veggies so they can continue to cook with the rest of the dish
Step 8: Add the cauliflower to the mix and stir the veggies into the cauliflower. Now add a few table spoons of soy sauce to taste – I usually do about 2-3 table spoons. My secret ingredient is the fish sauce – so add a table spoon or two of that if you have it. And because I absolutely hate the smell of cauliflower, I added a tablespoon of sesame oil as well just to absorb the odour and it did the trick beautifully!
Step 9: Throw in scallions, and cilantro to finish.
Season with black pepper to taste and a few squirts of siracha if you like and you’re all done!
The cauliflower does get a little moist so keep cooking it out and stirring it to evaporate the liquid a little. I prefer mine a little on the crispy side so the last minute or so I turned the heat up on high and “stir fried” the entire dish. This helped remove the excess moisture from the cauliflower as well.
Because we blanched the cauliflower, it didn’t have to cook as long but if you choose to skip this step make sure you keep cooking to ensure the cauliflower is cooked through or throw a lid on to allow the cauliflower to steam.
Make sure not to overcrowd the pan – if you are doing large batches, use a large pan or wok. This dish can easily go south if there isn’t enough room in the pan – you’ll be left with a mushy mess from all the excess moisture! So use a big pan or wok and keep things moving! Only allow the dish to rest the last minute so the cauliflower kernels can build a bit of a crust – if you’re into that sort of thing.
I was really happy with the look and taste of this dish! In fact my parents who didn’t see me cooking the cauliflower had a bowl and assumed it was rice.
This recipe can be easily adapted into a full vegetarian or vegan dish. Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it!