We eat a lot of rice around here. As is true of most Asian cuisines, rice is a staple of Indian food, and for the most part, I can’t imagine curries without it. However, I have found that I feel much better (and so does my digestion, ahem) when I eat less rice. And there are many people out there who would love to enjoy Indian (or Thai, or Chinese, or even South/Central American) food, but avoid grains or are trying to lower their carbohydrate intake. So what is a half-Indian cook to do? The best substitute I have found is cauliflower “rice.”
Whether you are Paleo/grain-free, are trying to lose weight, or are just looking for ways to get more vegetables into your diet, cauliflower rice is an excellent side dish that can be used as a rice substitute in almost any meal. Be it a personalized medical weight loss program, or the simplest of diet/regimen, this is one dish whose inclusion is considered vital for losing weight.
The mild flavor of cauliflower lends itself to this type of preparation; it will not overwhelm the flavors of a curry, and it can add a bit of texture to a soup or stew. It is also great as a stand-alone side dish.
Is it exactly the same as rice? No. But it is more nutrient-dense and flavorful than rice, and it has the added benefit of getting you to eat more vegetables. Win-win!
- 1 head of cauliflower (preferably organic), “riced”
- 2-3 Tbsp. cooking fat (ghee, grassfed butter, coconut oil, lard, etc.)
- sea salt, to taste
- Optional “extras”**: ½ chopped onion, 2 ribs chopped celery, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, other spices (such as haldi, garam masala, jeera, etc.)
Step 1: Rice your cauliflower.
There are three ways to “rice” your cauliflower. Choose one and rice away!
- Food Processor #1—chop your cauliflower into small-to medium chunks, then put in the bowl of the food processor with the blade inside. Pulse until the cauliflower breaks down to the desired size/consistency. You may need to do this in batches to avoid turning your cauliflower into mush.
- Food Processor #2—chop your cauliflower into large chunks. Remove the blade from the bowl of your food processor and then put in the grating/shredding disc. Feed the cauliflower chunks through the shoot and press through until the cauliflower is grated/shredded well.
- Blender method—chop your cauliflower into small-to medium chunks. Place them into your blender and then fill the blender with filtered water. Make sure you cover the blender tightly. Turn on the blender and allow the cauliflower to break up into small pieces. Drain the water through a fine mesh sieve. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. You can see it done here.
Step 2: Cook! Melt your cooking fat in a large skillet over medium-medium high heat. I find that a nonstick skillet works best here. Add the “riced” cauliflower and a little salt. Cook until to desired consistency, about 10 minutes (I like it still firm, but not crunchy). Enjoy!
**If you are adding onions or celery, cook them in the fat before you add the cauliflower. If you are adding garlic, add just before you add the cauliflower and cook for about a minute. If you are adding additional spices, add them with the salt.
This post is shared with Tasty Traditions.