Why don’t I called it cauliflower fried rice too? I used to. Not anymore. It’s a misleading name for a delicious side dish. Because that’s what it is. Unless you’re a vegan, it is a side dish.
To be really honest, I cooked this dish when it was all the rage back in 2016. My older daughter was still a vegetarian at the time and she wanted to try it. I haven’t replicated it in years. My daughter ditched vegetarianism a couple of years ago (she still eats no mammals though) so what’s really the point of making a dish that requires so much work? Besides, I much prefer rice. Real rice.
Why would making this dish require a lot of work? Because you have to chop the cauliflower on top of prepping the rest of the vegetables. A food processor reduces the amount of work but, still…
Why not use frozen cauliflower that had already been chopped? Because the cooked dish turns soggy. It has to be fresh cauliflower. The freshest, in fact, because the cauliflower bits has to retain some crispness by the time the dish is done. You can’t achieve that with frozen cauliflower.
Cooking this dish is pretty much like cooking Chinese-style fried rice. Spices are sauteed to create a flavor base and colorful vegetables are added to give the cooked dish visual appeal.
Carrot and peas are the vegetables commonly added to fried rice but since this is a vegetable dish, in this recipe, I added broccoli florets and corn too. Not just for color, mind you, but for more textural contrast and flavor.
The chopped cauliflower joins the rest of the vegetables in the wok and everything is stir fried until the cauliflower bits are cooked through but still a bit crisp.
Off the heat, sesame oil was stirred in for even more flavor and better aroma. For the final touch, I added sesame seeds, nuts and fried garlic.
- chopped cashew nuts
- toasted sesame seeds
- fried garlic bits
- Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and dump into the food processor. Chop until you have pieces about the size of rice grains.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Saute the onion until softened.
- Turn up the heat. Add the carrot cubes and peas. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir fry for about half a minute.
- Add the bell pepper and broccoli florets. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Continue stir frying for a minute.
- Add the corn and chopped cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper again. Stir fry for half a minute then turn the heat down to medium. Continue cooking, stirring often, for another two to three minutes or until the cauliflower bits are cooked through but still lightly crisp.
- Off the heat, drizzle in a little sesame seed oil. Toss to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.
- Ladle the cauliflower into bowls. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, chopped nuts and fried garlic bits.