Cauliflower Rice

I seem to have been majoring on sweet recipes recently so here are some nice savoury ones: just the thing for this time of year. Christmas seems a long time ago now and many of us are craving warm and filling lunches and suppers that aren’t too heavy on the calories.

Recently the humble cauliflower has had a bit of a surprising makeover. It’s been taking centre stage as an integral part of the well-publicised Paleo diet*. Originally intended as a rice substitute for those following the diet, cauliflower rice is so delicious it has a much wider appeal.

It’s simple to prepare, tasty, nutritious, light on calories and inexpensive.

Preparation

Grate raw cauliflower on the coarse side of a box grater, including some of the tender inner stalk.

Half a medium cauliflower serves 1-2.

Alternatively, use a food processor with the grater blade attached or pulse with the main mixer blade. The latter will result in a ‘bobblier’ but equally good texture.

Cooking Times

Steam for 5-7 minutes: a microwave steamer works well.

Alternatively, stir fry for 5-7 minutes using approximately 1 tablespoon oil per half medium cauliflower.

*The Paleo diet is based on the types of foods hunted and gathered by our distant Palaeolithic ancestors. It’s quite extreme in that only meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, fruit and seeds are eaten with no grains, pulses, legumes or dairy. Everything is as fresh and natural as possible with no processed foods.

Lovely Healthy and Easy Lunch for One

Fish Fingers, Cauliflower Rice, Baby Leaves and Pomegranate Seeds

There are some ‘proper’ cauliflower rice recipes coming up, this is just a serving suggestion but so delicious! It’s one of my favourite lunches when I’m at home on my own so I thought I’d share it with you: here's a photo I took the other day. I'm using one of my favourite plates:a reproduction from a set of cat plates once used in the servants hall at Kingston Lacey House in Dorset.

Grill yourself 2 or 3 fish fingers (or fry in a tiny amount of oil). Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Serve with cauliflower rice, a handful of baby salad leaves – or just rocket – with honey mustard dressing and a scattering of pomegranate seeds. Just gorgeous!

Honey Mustard Dressing

Shake together 3 parts of rapeseed oil to 2 of cider vinegar with 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and a generous squeeze of runny honey.

Egg Fried Cauliflower Rice

Funnily enough, I’ve always been a bit ‘take it or leave it’ when it comes to egg fried rice. Yes, it’s pleasant, and I don’t mind it, but I wouldn’t go overboard. Honestly, this version with cauliflower is a completely different story and so tasty!

The cauliflower brings an extra nutty sweetness to the dish: It’s only slightly dissimilar to rice but distinct enough to make a difference.

For 1-2 servings: fry ¼ diced red and ¼ diced yellow pepper, 1 small sliced onion and a diced stick of green celery for 2-3 minutes in 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add ½ grated head of cauliflower and fry for a further 5-6 minutes.

Make a central well. Pour in 2 beaten eggs. Cook until almost set before stirring through the cauliflower mixture.

Serve immediately.

Note

You can add spices such as Chinese 5 spice powder, chilli powder, grated fresh or ground ginger but honestly, the flavour is already so good you hardly need anything more.

Cauliflower Rice Kedgeree

This traditional old country house breakfast staple works brilliantly with cauliflower rice. Don’t skimp on the long slow cooking for the onions at the beginning as this is absolutely key to the flavour.

Serves 2

  • 110g smoked cod or haddock fillet
  • Cold water to cover
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 stick of celery (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 level dessert spoon of Madras curry paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 250g cauliflower, riced
  • 50g sweet corn kernels
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled for 7-8 minutes

Plus: wedges of lemon and mango chutney to serve

Lay fish skin side down in a pan with bay leaf and water to cover. Cook gently for 5-7 minutes until the flesh becomes opaque.

Slice onion and celery, if using. Fry slowly in oil until soft and melting. Stir in curry paste and turmeric. Add cauliflower and sweet corn and stir until completely coated.

Stir in 80-100ml of the poaching liquid. Remove skin from fish and flake into the kedgeree.

Cook for 5-7 minutes until cauliflower is soft and everything is piping hot. Add a drop more poaching liquid if it seems dry.

Serve with quartered hard boiled eggs, lemon wedges and mango chutney.

Freezing Cauliflower Kedgeree

This freezes beautifully: cool quickly and once completely cold pack into freezer bags or plastic freezer boxes filled to the brim. Exclude all air. Defrost in the microwave for best results. Microwave or stir-fry until piping hot.

Keema Lamb and Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower always goes beautifully with lamb and this lightly spiced dish is no exception. Keema literally means ‘minced meat’. The spices used here are based on traditional keema curry spices.

Serves 2-3

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 stick of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 small red chillies, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 400g lean minced lamb
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 4 tablespoons hot water
  • Freshly grated ginger, to taste
  • 75g frozen peas

Plus:

  • 1 medium cauliflower (250-300g) riced & steamed for 5-7 minutes as before
  • Coriander leaves

Fry onion, celery and chilli slowly in the oil until soft and the onion is beginning to colour. Add garlic and spices, stir thoroughly and cook for a few minutes more over a low heat. Add lamb, stir to coat and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes or until browned.

Add tomato puree, water and ginger. Continue to cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes then add peas. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with the cauliflower rice, mango chutney and yoghurt. Hard boiled eggs also work well.

If you prefer, you can stir the cauliflower rice through the keema as a kind of biryani: both ways are delicious.