Having been on a low carb diet for the past 12 months (and feeling better for it), I am always on the lookout for ways to vary veggies that will be filling and tasty. So when I happened upon blitzed cauliflower as an alternative to rice, it was a recipe that had to happen. And it did. With great success.
We ate it for dinner as a meat free meal. It was light and satisfying and I discovered that the flavour can be built very easily. I made it as a stir fry with generic Asian flavours, but in future I’ll experiment with others – perhaps Spanish flavours, adding prawns and / or cubed chicken thighs for texture and bulk. I also like a good chilli hit, so next time I’ll add a fresh birdseye chilli or two. I didn’t have any in the fridge to use for this one.
I think this would work beautifully accompanied by yellow pumpkin curry, which would be filling and the flavour and textures would complement this faux rice. In fact, it’s such a versatile dish if you really start to think about it and in it I’ve found the answer for alternatives to my love of risotto and paella without all the grainy carbs.
So let’s get to it. As cooked with loads of fresh, wonderful veggies and some south-east Asian flavours.
You will need
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 golden shallot, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed or very finely chopped
4 medium mushrooms, finely sliced and chopped
1 large zucchini, cut into julienne
1 carrot, cut into julienne
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
1 small head broccoli, shaved on a mandolin or pulsed in the food processor
1″ piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch bok choy, stems chopped and leaves torn
Now, this is the tricky bit as I didn’t really measure anything. The key is to use this as a basic guide and add extra flavours to suit your own taste.
All measurements are approximate:
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
good pinch dried chilli flakes
black pepper and sea salt to taste
2 spring onions, white parts only, finely sliced
a few fresh mint leaves, torn
Right now. Let’s get to it.
Start by washing your cauliflower and breaking into large florets, plonking into a food processor in batches and pulsing until it looks like grains of rice. It’s magic to watch the transformation.
Then prepare the rest of the veggies as noted in the ingredients list. Or chop, slice and dice however you like.
Grab your wok or a large, deep frying pan. Heat cooking oil, such as grapeseed oil or coconut oil until hot but not smoking. These oils can be heated to high temperature without smoking or burning, which is when they become unhealthy. There are other oils, but I choose to buy oil in glass bottles or jars or metal tins. There’s something about oil stored in plastic I simply don’t trust.
Add the onion and garlic and stir fry until starting to soften – about two or three minutes. Keep stirring or they will burn and adjust the heat under your wok accordingly.
Next add the mushrooms and stir fry a minute or so. Then the capsicum. Stir fry that for a minute or so. Add the dried spices and a grinding of ground pepper. Stir fry to coat the veg in spices for a minute or so.
Bung in the carrot, zucchini and ginger and stir fry to coat in the spices. At this stage the aromas are starting to release. Add the liquids and cover with a saucepan lid for a few minutes to let the veggies steam cook.
Finally add the bok choy stir through.
Bung the lid on again for just long enough to warm the veg through quickly, then remove the lid and let cook, stirring, until the cauliflower grains soften. Taste and add more sauces / spices / salt and pepper or a touch of sugar if it’s too salty. All to taste.
Quickly transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced spring onions and torn mint leaves. Spoon into bowls, top with extra condiments, such as chilli sauce, then tuck in.