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Cook the Book

Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice" From 'Nom Nom Paleo'

Asian Cauliflower Fried \

[Photograph: Henry Fong]

What did a rice-lover like Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo do to satisfy the craving once she switched to a Paleo (a.k.a. rice-free) diet? Started making rice from cauliflower, of course. Okay, perhaps cauliflower "rice" is not an obvious choice to anyone unfamiliar with the Paleo diet, but the bright white vegetable makes for a texturally similar dish to rice once spun around in a food processor for a few minutes. The flavor won't fool anyone, but cauliflower "rice" does indeed work as a substitute in many rice-based dishes.

Take, for example, Tam's fried "rice" in her new cookbook. Steamed and tossed with vegetables, bacon, eggs, and a Paleo-friendly blend of fish sauce, coconut aminos, and vinegar, the cauliflower soaks up the salty sauce and meshes with the vegetables in a way that rice rarely does.

Why I picked this recipe: I had never considered making cauliflower "rice" before opening this book. Adding the flavors of fried rice seemed like a good way to introduce this Paleo staple.

What worked: I was surprised to find out that I actually really liked this dish. While the final dish had a texture more like couscous than fried rice, the flavors were totally balanced and ultimately very satisfying.

What didn't: Be sure to stop processing the cauliflower before it reaches couscous size. Think long-grain rice. You may also need to process in it in batches if you don't have a mammoth food processor.

Suggested tweaks: I cooked the eggs in a separate nonstick skillet, knowing that my large stainless skillet would be no match for the sticking power of scrambled eggs (no matter how much bacon grease I used). If you're not following a strict Paleo diet, you could use soy sauce and rice vinegar in place of the coconut aminos and coconut vinegar. Paleo-friendly fish sauce is any brand that contains only anchovies and salt (Red Boat is Tam's choice).

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice" From 'Nom Nom Paleo'

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 6
Active time:45 minutes
Total time:45 minutes
This recipe appears in: Asian Cauliflower Fried "Rice" From 'Nom Nom Paleo'
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, cross-cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, cut into uniform pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or fat of choice
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon coconut vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Paleo-friendly fish sauce
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Procedures

  1. 1

    Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it crisps up, about 15 minutes, transfer the crunchy bacon to a paper towel–lined plate with a slotted spoon.

  2. 2

    While you’re crisping the bacon, toss the cauliflower into a food processor, and pulse until it’s the size of rice grains. Pro tip: don’t overdo it. We don’t want liquid cauliflower.

  3. 3

    In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the eggs into the hot bacon drippings, and fry up a thin egg omelet. Remove the omelet from the pan, slice it into ribbons, and set aside.

  4. 4

    Melt the ghee in the skillet over medium-high heat, and add the onions along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, throw in the sliced mushrooms. When the mushrooms are browned, add the grated ginger and stir for 30 seconds to incorporate.

  5. 5

    Add the cauliflower “rice,” season with a bit more salt and pepper, and mix the ingredients together. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat down to low, and cook for about 5 minutes with the skillet covered. The “rice” is ready when it’s tender but not mushy.

  6. 6

    Season with the coconut aminos, coconut vinegar, and fish sauce. Before serving, mix in the scallions, cilantro, omelet slices, and the reserved crispy bacon.

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