Shredded aubergine, carrot and cauliflower florets are lightly fried in a fragrant spice mix, and then garnished with spring onions and toasted cashew nuts.
Rice is the perfect accompaniment to spicy dishes, managing to taste of nothing and yet something at the same time. Without being completely bland of flavour and devoid of interest in its own right, rice can stand up to punchy flavours. The fluffy grains excel at soaking up flavour during the cooking process, such as in a rich, creamy risotto or in a fragrant paella.
Rice is also incredibly simple and quick to cook, which is another key consideration when trying to find a grain-free replacement. A lot of Paleo recipes recommend making ‘rice’ out of cauliflower. This involves blitzing a head of cauliflower in a food processor to grain-size pieces, then pan frying in oil for five minutes. Whilst the results are not unpleasant, I find the culinary experience akin to that of gluten-free bread; it reminds me too much of the real thing, and of what I’m missing out on with my ersatz substitute. Better to accept the loss, move on, and find a totally different partner.
Personally, I prefer to cook cauliflower florets whole, as a complementary side (like in this excellent Jamie Oliver recipe for Roasted cauliflower with cumin, coriander & almonds). When it comes to making vegetable ‘rice’, I include whole spices to make the flavour more interesting, aubergine for soaking up the flavour, and cashew nuts for adding texture and creaminess.
|This recipe also works well as a super-quick main meal if you have left-over cooked chicken: after dry frying the spices and adding the cooking oil, simply add the chicken to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes to warm and rehydrate, before following the rest of the recipe. I often make this with the odds and ends from a roast chicken, after I have eaten the more ‘usable’ bits like breast and thighs in other meals.|
|Grain-free Vegetable ‘rice’ with Indian Spices|