Nom Nom Paleo

Whole30 Day 13: Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice

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In Chinese homes, rice is almost always eaten in its steamed form. Shoveled from bowl to mouth, fluffy white rice is a staple food for billions — a fragrant, starchy accompaniment to flavorful dishes of meat and vegetables. But with the quantities of rice that’s steamed in every Chinese house, there’s bound to be leftovers. And what’s the best way to repurpose rice into a quick and satisfying one-wok meal?

That’s right: Fried rice.

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With a red-hot wok and ten minutes, a resourceful cook can whip up a rich, well-seasoned platter of Chinese fried rice tossed with spring onions and ribbons of egg. This humble dish is anything but unassuming in flavor.

But what if you’ve gone grain-free?

Make some Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice!

Of all my recipes, this one’s among the three most popular, and you can follow my step-by-step instructions by clicking here.

It’s a perennial favorite ‘cause you can mod it with whatever you have on hand — and it makes a feast of leftover meat and vegetables. The possibilities are endless. The most time-consuming step is ”ricing” the cauliflower, but even that step is easy if you’ve got a food processor. I like to wash, chop up, and “rice” the head of cauliflower as soon as I get home from the market…

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…so I can store it in a sealed container in the fridge and have it ready to fry up whenever I’m craving a bowl of fried rice.

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One tip about pulsing the florets: Don’t get distracted. You don’t want your “rice” to turn to powder in an instant. If you’re a space cadet, drop the florets through the feed tube and shred the cauliflower with the slicing attachment. Your “rice” will end up long and thin, but you can tell everyone it’s basmati.

In terms of the add-ins, I like tossing in minced ginger and scallions (the dynamic duo of Asian cooking)…

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…sliced mushrooms (umami!)…

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…and bacon bits (more umami!) — though for the Whole30®, you’ll need to get your hands on the Holy Grail of Paleo: Sugar-free, fully-pastured bacon. (U.S. Wellness Meats sells it, as does one of my favorite meat sellers in Northern California, Prather Ranch Meat Company — but PRMC doesn’t currently offer it for sale online.)

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No Whole30-compliant bacon? Then just throw in your favorite proteins. My favorites include shrimp, leftover kalua pig, lump crab meat, rotisserie chicken, or diced flank steak. And when your Whole30’s over, make Russ Crandall’s Char Siu just so you can have some leftovers to incorporate into your bacon-flecked fried rice.

Scrambled eggs is also non-negotiable, but there’s some debate as to how and when you add it.

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I prefer to toss in thinly-sliced egg crepe ribbons at the end, but my aunt pours the whisked eggs directly into the rice. She deftly tosses the pan ingredients throroughly so the egg coats the rice as it coagulates. Sadly, I’ve found that if I do it her way, I end up with a frittata ‘cause I ain’t a nimble wok-ninja like my aunt.

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Seasoning with Red Boat fish sauce (even more umami!), coconut aminos, and a splash of rice or coconut vinegar round out the dish. You can also top it with julienned kimchi — and post-Whole30, some Paleo Sriracha.

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Oh, and you simmered a pot of bò kho yesterday, right? Fried rice is the perfect accompaniment to the spicy Vietnamese stew.

What are your favorite additions to Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice? I want to know (so I can steal your ideas)!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013)!