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I'll Take the Cauliflower Fried Rice, Hold the Rice

Did I miss the memo that cauliflower is the new black or something?

I saw this cauliflower fried rice on The Kitchn the other day and was very intrigued by the idea of being able to eat big bowls of fried rice without actually worrying about the whole eating a big bowl of fried rice part. I already use cauliflower to make "wings"   which was part of a food blogging trend this past year and  although I haven't tried the cauliflower pizza crust, that was happening all over the damned internet as well so I guess I was somewhat aware that cauliflower was a bit of a thing. Curious, I started to google around and found a zillion recipes for dishes using this pulsed cauliflower as a stand in for a myriad of grains like rice and bulgur, for potatoes and I am pretty sure that you can use it to fuel your car, to power your laptop and as a coffee substitute in a pinch. I think I just saw a dog wearing a cauliflower rain coat just today at the park.

Thank god we love cauliflower.

Fast forward to today and I had a hankering for a big old bowl of fried rice and I also had a cauliflower in my fridge. If that is not a sign from the food gods ordering me into the kitchen, I don't know what is. I usually use leftover ham but there was a big chunk of peameal bacon in there. You don't have to hit me over the head with a brick to get me to make it. When you make it, you can leave out what you don't like, add in something else,  like zucchini or onions, throw in a handful of leftover, diced chicken or shrimp. This is a loose master recipe, measurements aren't not exact and the veggies can change to suit your taste.

This is a very simple fried rice, exactly like I  have made a thousand times. I took the Kitchn's advice and covered the pan and let it steam for almost 10 minutes, which is something I wouldn't bother doing if I were using leftover rice. As I was cooking it, The Kid was in the other room on his computer, conquering feudal Japan or something and he started making excited noises, anticipating something yummy to eat.

I plopped a bowl down in front of him and walked away. He started eating and humming and making mmmmm sounds. I asked if it was okay. He said, through a mouthful of food,  and I quote "OMG THIS IS DELICIOUS!"

I asked if it seemed like I had done anything different and he said no so I told him that there wasn't any rice in the bowl because I had used ground up cauliflower instead.

He just kept inhaling it and said, again, through a mouthful of food "OMG THIS IS DELICIOUS" as he continued to eat.

I rest my case.

Cauliflower Fried "Rice"

adapted from The Kitchn

if you are feeling a bit cautious about whether this is going to fly, try replacing half the rice with cauliflower to start and work your way to all cauliflower. Even at half and half, you will still be cutting the carbs, upping the veggie content and ensuring that you can eat twice as much!

5 cups of finely shredded, raw, cauliflower (from 1 small head)
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup finely chopped ham or peameal bacon
 2 or 3 button mushrooms, sliced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
about 1" slice of ginger, grated
1 carrot shredded, grated or finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced orange and/or yellow pepper (or red or green too)
1/2 cup frozen baby peas
about 2 tbls vegetable oil
about 2 tsp sesame oil
3 or 4 tbls soy sauce
1 scallion, finely sliced
optional: handful of chopped cilantro, chili oil or hot sauce of your choice, sesame seeds

pulse your cauliflower until it looks like this
*When you make a dish like this, it goes very quickly so it's even more important to make sure that you have all of your ingredients prepped and lined up in little bowls before you start cooking it.

Discarding the core and outer leaves, chop the cauliflower into florets and then put them in the food processor. I had to do this in two batches as my food processor is small. Pulse until it resemble coarse meal or "rice" and remove to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a saute pan over med high heat and add about a tbls of vegetable oil and 1 tsp sesame oil. Throw in the egg and scramble it until it's just done, remove and set aside.

Add another tbls of veg oil and 1 tsp of sesame oil and cook mushrooms and peameal for a couple of minutes, until they start to colour a bit. Push that aside and add in the garlic and ginger and stir it around in the middle of the pan for about 30 seconds, until really fragrant. Add in the carrot, peppers and peas and stir fry one more minute before adding in the cauliflower. Stir to mix it really well, turn the heat down to med low, cover the pan and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is done. Add the egg back in along with cilantro, if you are using it, and pour in 3 tbls of soy sauce. Now, mix really well and taste. If you want more soy sauce, you can add another tbls. This is also when you can stir in some chili oil or a bit of hot sauce if you like.
Put the rice into a bowls or a platter or big shallow bowl to serve, sprinkle the top with the scallions and sesame seeds if you are using.

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