My mom has a long, glass dish that she pulls out when it's time to make her famous fried rice. If we're hosting a family get together or joining someone else's, it's always a top request. Seeing that dish on the counter means happy faces at the dinner table. I've been making her recipe for my own kids from the time they could first gnash rice with their gummy smiles. Rice is a staple in our home, and if I had to take one food to a deserted island, I'd pack my rice cooker and a 10lb bag.
You can understand my skepticism when my sister-in-law texted me to say she'd fed her kids the most incredible version of fried rice, and that it had nothing to do with actual rice. I should say here that my husband isn't as big a fan of this wonder grain as the rest of us. And one of our four kids is in her dad's camp. Last week, I was feeling adventurous and decided to give the recipe a try, to see if we might be able to sub it in for rice now and then.
I used a version from this wonderful food blogger and added some of my own tricks (outlined below). Even as I was making it, I was cautious in my enthusiasm. But the outcome was well worth the gamble.
- 8 ounces of shrimp (I used a bag of frozen salad-sized shrimp and thawed it under cold, running water in a colander while I prepped the veggies)
- 1/2 tsp salt (the recipe calls for 1/4 tsp pepper, but I don't use pepper in my rice dishes)
- 2 tbsps of oil
- 2 cloves of minced garlic (I always have a tube of pre-minced to minimize time)
- 3 eggs beaten (I add a pinch of salt)
- 3/4 cup of diced carrots (I think I'd try the bag of mixed carrots and peas from the freezer next time)
- 3/4 cup of peas (frozen is great!)
- 1 head/4 cups of cauliflower shredded with largest holes on a cheese grater (I've since learned you can buy pre-riced cauliflower at Costco, because oh my goodness my wrist was tired!)
- 2 tbsps of soy sauce (I don't add sesame oil as called for in the original recipe)
I added these two ingredients
- 2 tsps of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp of rice vinegar
Add a tbsp of the oil to your large skillet and cook the shrimp with salt for seasoning until pink and cooked through. Move to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and cook the eggs like you're making them scrambled. Add them to the plate of shrimp.
Give the skillet a wipe down and add the other tbsp of oil. Add garlic, carrots (if raw, cook for a few minutes) and peas. Cook for approximately a minute.
Add cauliflower and stir to combine at medium heat (on a gas stove). Let the cauliflower cook for about 2 mins without stirring. I added a lid to my skillet to help steam it. Mix the cauliflower and veggies and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes with lid (I lifted it every a couple of times to stir again).
Add soy sauce, fish sauce and rice vinegar and stir to combine. Finally, add the eggs and shrimp.
We were all eating at different times when I first made this, so I left it out for my daughter and husband to eat later. When I came home, I found him standing at the counter gobbling down a bowl with enthusiasm. Is this quinoa? he asked. He couldn't believe he was eating ground-up cauliflower and is now a huge fan of this new version. There may have been some good-natured bickering about the leftovers, too (yes, it was just as delicious the next day).
I'll always be a rice gal. I'll still make it at least twice a week for my kids. But this is a great new twist on a well-used meal. I'm glad we tried it.
I hope you like it just as much.