One of the most widely consumed cereal grain is ‘rice,’ which is a staple diet for many across the globe and especially for the people who live in the Asian continent. Though there are plenty of ways of making rice, most people just love to pair up plain white rice or fried rice with a curry or any sort of fried or grilled protein or veggies. The point is, with a staple food like rice, you can always be as inventive and playful with the flavors with no given boundaries.
However, come to think of it, rice is actually a pretty heavy meal on its own. Not to mention, it cuts down the intake of other healthier items like vegetables and proteins from your diet. Hence, if you are looking for a healthier choice, an incredible alternative for rice would be cauliflower rice!
Cauliflower is one versatile item from your pantry that you can use in numerous ways while cooking. It also has a lot of health benefits for your body and has tremendously low calories. For instance, you will find 204 calories in a cup of rice, whereas a cup of cauliflower contains only 27 calories. Apart from the low-calorie intake, other nutritious benefits of cauliflower would be fiber and folic acid, vitamin C and potassium.
This healthy alternative for white grain rice can be made into a low-carb and paleo dish for your meals. Not to mention, it is actually a pretty great way of including more veggies in your diet. The best thing about cooking cauliflower as rice is that it becomes soft and its shape remains as it is even after it has been cooked to perfection. Also when chopped accurately, it is as if looking into a mirror image of your everyday white grain rice.
You can freeze it for future use, steam, simmer or sauté it. Eating it raw can also be an option, only if you are up for it! Another advantage of making this gluten-free cauliflower rice would be that it requires less time to cook if compared to your usual rice made out of cereal grains.
So, how to make cauliflower rice? Let’s find out!
Before we begin, it is crucial for you to have an average idea of how to get started with the cauliflower. For starters, you will need to get rid of any brown or dark patches on the cauliflower using a knife. The last step is to pull off the leaves and cut out the core of the cauliflower so that you are only left with the white portion of it.
Now there are four different techniques that you can follow for the first part which comprises of the following:
If you are not so great with knives, this is probably the best option for you.
So, for the first step, you need to make 1-2 inches florets of the cauliflower using a sharp knife (Cauliflowers are usually hard before cooked, so make sure to play it safe with the knife. Ask assistance from someone else if you are not comfortable using the knife). The next step is to pour about 4 cups of these florets into your blender with the highest speed setting.
Keep on blending it until you see finely cut pieces of the cauliflower. The blending may take about a minute or so. Using a spatula or any other utensils, scrape down the surfaces and transfer them into a bowl to complete the rest of the cooking.
If larger chunks still remain, give them another blend to finish it off into fine tiny pieces.
Chopping is easy for people who are used to chopping items on a daily basis. If you happen to be one of those people, this should be very easy for you to follow.
At first, as mentioned before, you need to use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the cauliflower into a couple of florets. Now, you need to use that same knife to mince down the florets into minute pieces making sure that all of them are similar, keeping the size and shape of rice grains in mind.
However, do note that chopping takes a lot more time than blending. But if you don’t have a blender at home, chopping it will surely work for you!
- Using a Food Processor
Using a food processor can also be a very good option since it requires less time and works best if you don’t have a perfectly working blender.
So, all you need to do is take the cauliflower and cut it into separate florets, small enough to fit inside the processor. Now, the quantity of florets that you will put inside the processor will depend on its size. Hence, if it is a small one, you can pulse them in separate lots. This may take a while, but it is still easier than using a knife to mince it.
Pause the processor from time to time to scrape down the surfaces. Make sure that there are no remaining large chunks of the cauliflower. However, if they still exist after you have transferred them into a separate dish, put the large pieces back inside the processor and give it another spin.
There are mainly two kinds of graters available in the market: the box grater and the microplane grater. No matter which you choose, the end result will be the same. Hence, you can choose whichever you feel comfortable using.
Now, if you don’t have an experience of grating ingredients, this might require you to break a sweat. Go slowly if you are new to this since there is a chance that your hand might just slip off while grating at a faster pace. However, make sure that you are using the medium-sized holes while grating the florets.
A clever tip would be to keep the size of the florets larger in size because it will make the grating way easier for you!
Now that you know how to chop, blend, grate or pulse your cauliflower, you are ready to get started with the cooking. You can make cauliflower rice using four separate methods. Take a quick look at the methods and choose whichever seems easier to you!
Fried Cauliflower Rice
Take a non-stick pan and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in it. Fixate the heat to its medium-high setting and wait for the oil to heat up. Now for making your regular fried rice, you can add as many ingredients and spices that you want. You can start by adding minced onions and garlic once the oil heats up.
The next step is to pour the chopped cauliflower rice into the pan. Use a spatula to dry-fry it. This will remove the original smell of the cauliflower and replace it with a nutty aroma. The moisture will also be long-gone leaving the rice smooth and soft. You will be able to see the pieces turning into light brown color.
For seasoning, you can use common spices from your kitchen like salt and pepper. Once you start to see a golden brown color, pour the rice into a bowl and serve it while it’s hot.
If you want to add proteins or any other flavors to this rice, you surely can! However, if not, you can just serve it up as a side dish alongside your meat or fish.
If you want to even lower the calorie intake, this is the best method for you since it requires no use of oil whatsoever. Take a pan and fill it up with two tablespoons of broth or water. Set the heat to its medium-high setting and heat up the liquid. However, make sure that it does not start boiling.
For the next step, add the cauliflower rice into whichever liquid you have chosen to cook with and put on the lid. Wait for about two minutes. Afterward, remove the lid and allow the rice to cook a little. You can also stir it up if you want to. Just make sure that all the liquid is gone before you put off the heat and serve it in a bowl.
You can also add fresh lime, herbs or vegetables to enhance the flavor of your rice.
Before you start cooking, make sure to preheat the oven at 425F. Take out a baking sheet and pour the cauliflower rice in it. Make sure to spread it out evenly. If you have a lot of rice at hand, you will definitely need to add more baking sheets for this.
Once you are done with the prepping, put it inside the oven and wait for about 15 minutes. Make sure to pause in between to flip it. This will ensure that the rice has been baked perfectly.
Take it out of the oven and use it any dish you feel like!
Pour 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a pan and heat it (use medium-high setting). The next step is to sauté the rice in it and wait until it becomes soft and tender.
So these were the four easy ways of making cauliflower rice. However, you can also make couscous, grits and even a risotto with the rice if you want to. Feel free to experiment with the flavors because it goes well with any method of cooking that you may prefer. Be it making rice filled with protein strips or just simply steaming it, cauliflower rice tastes amazing. Since it is so easy to make, you can always store them in zip-lock bags and refrigerate it for later use.