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Saturday, July 11, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dorothy Dean presents: Healthier, low-carb version of fried rice substitutes cauliflower for grain

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Growing up in a Filipino household, rice was a staple. It was served with every meal of the day. Fried eggs over rice for breakfast was my favorite (I’ve even got my daughter hooked). When you break into the egg, the runny yolk seeps into the rice. The coated grains make each bite luscious and rich. It was a deliciously delicious way to start the day.

With a surplus of rice in the house, fried rice was made often. I loved watching my dad concoct new versions with whatever leftover meat and veggies were in the fridge. Every time, no matter the ingredients, it would turn out phenomenal.

Having a craving for the stir-fried dish, but still reeling from my carb-happy holidays, I wanted a healthier and low-carb version, so I decided to give the cauliflower “rice” thing a try. And I am so glad that I did.

While the texture is a bit different (but not in a bad way), the flavor is spot on. Perfectly kissed with the flavors of soy sauce, garlic and toasted sesame oil, cauliflower rice is light with a slight bite, and it is like a cross between rice and couscous.

If you’re wondering how to turn cauliflower into rice, it’s easy. You place cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until they resemble grains of rice. You also can use a box grater and grate it, or stores also sell ready-made “riced” cauliflower in the frozen section.

Once all your ingredients are prepped, it comes together quite quickly. Ginger, garlic, onions and carrots are stir fried until softened, then the cauliflower rice, frozen peas and seasonings are added. Scrambled eggs are folded in, then it’s ready to be served.

Cauliflower fried rice goes great alongside Mongolian beef, orange chicken or lettuce wraps. To hearty it up as a main course, add in a protein such as shrimp, chicken, ham, beef or tofu. For some spice, red pepper flakes or Sriracha can be added.

Cauliflower fried rice

1 large-sized head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into chunks

Vegetable oil

3 eggs

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

5 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 green onions, greens only, thinly sliced, for garnish

Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles small grains of rice. Alternatively, grate on the large holes of a handheld or box grater.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat. Add the eggs and scramble until cooked, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Place the eggs on a small plate and set aside. Wipe the pan clean.

Place the pan back on the burner, on medium heat, and add in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add in the ginger, garlic and onions and cook until fragrant and softened, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the carrots and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, then raise the heat to medium-high and stir in the cauliflower, peas, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic powder and pepper.

Continue cooking until the cauliflower rice is tender-crisp and the peas are warmed through, about 4-5 minutes. Fold in the scrambled eggs. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve hot sprinkled with sliced green onions.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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