I have come to be very suspicious of the phrase “even better than the real thing” when used in the context of food.Take for instance Cheez Whiz, Cool Whip, or that “I Can’t Believe It’s Not” thing.
When I hear people claiming that those products are just as good – or even better – than real cheese, whipped cream or butter, I’m like “Have you ever made a side by side comparison? No? Do it, then we can talk.”
My 9-year nephew used to say that instant mashed potatoes were “Awesome!”
That was until I made him the real mashed potatoes: with Yukon gold, milk, butter and cheese.
The moment he tasted it, he gave me the biggest smile ever and adieu instant stuff, there’s only place for real mashed potatoes in his life now.
When it comes to cauliflower fried rice (or faux-rice as some like to call it) well…I dunno, I dunno.
Is it better than the fried rice?
On some days yes - others a definite no. It really depends on the mood I’m in.
Let’s just say that I love fried rice, and sometimes make my own fried rice at home, which is delicious. But when I want to cut down on my carbs, I opt for cauliflower fried rice.
I don’t think I can't decide if I like one better than the other, they’re both super good…so who cares in the end?
I adapted this recipe from James Oseland’s ‘Cradle of Flavor’ – my to go cookbook for Indonesian/Malaysian/Singapore recipes.
Nasi goreng is the Javanese version of fried rice, and it’s so so delish.
Since I wasn’t sure I could actually call this recipe nasi goreng - as it doesn’t actually contain the key ingredient rice, or nasi in Indo and Malay – I decide to go with “Nasi Goreng-style”.
The flavors are all there, I just used cauli rice instead of rice.
In Oseland’s cookbook, he indicates that a truly authentic Indonesian nasi goreng is plain and simple, consisting of leftover rice, stir-fried with a flavoring spicy paste. Other stuff, such as chicken, fish or veggies are rarely served with it.
Although it’s often topped with a fried egg – that’s how they roll in Indonesia.
This nasi goreng-style cauliflower fried rice turned out to be an amazing meal. The portions are generous and you get a serving or two of veggies with your meal.
Better than nasi goreng made with rice? I don’t think it really matters.
Adapted from Cradle of Flavor
A word of warning: Though many have described shrimp paste as pungent, I'd go so far as to describe its smell as plain stinky. Its malodorous quality only intensifies when toasted.
In fact, while browning, the shrimp paste will emit an alarmingly smoky, burning smell, which is an indication that it is toasting up nicely.
Your kitchen will stink as an old sneaker, or a gym bag (or whatever other foot-related image comes to mind). It’ll all be worth it in the end though, as the toasted shrimp paste provides a unique savory depth to this dish.
1 large cauliflower head, cut into florets
4 garlic cloves
2 to 3 red chiles, seeded
2 teaspoons raw coconut palm sugar (I used Madhava)
2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)*
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried shrimp paste (belacan)
4 pastured eggs
* if you can’t find it, use 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos (or wheat free soy sauce) mixed with one teaspoon of honey.
Heat a wok (or a large skillet) over low heat, add shrimp paste and toast until it becomes dry and aromatic (as mentioned above, your kitchen will smell badly, don’t worry though!)
Toasted shrimp paste should be powdery and look like tiny granules.
Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Combine shallots, garlic cloves, red chiles and toasted shrimp paste in a food processor (or a blender) and blend until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.
Wash the food processor and rice the cauliflower in batches (it should be evenly chopped but not completely pulverized).
Lightly grease the wok and over medium-high heat. Fry the eggs in batches, until well done. Set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the wok over high heat. Add paste and stir-fry until aromatic (or when the oil separates).
Add cauliflower rice and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. The cauliflower rice should be soft but still retain a bit of crunch.
Add kecap manis and coconut sugar into the cauliflower rice and stir-fry until fragrant.
Transfer to serving plates, top with fried egg and serve immediately.
One serving yields 290 calories, 21 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs and 11 grams of protein.