Cauliflower is not my favorite vegetable. I find this member of the cabbage family bland and unappealing, and its odor quite unpleasant.
However, there are times cauliflower can be delicious, as when it’s baked with cheese, smothered in butter or sprinkled with bacon.
This cruciferous vegetable was once immortalized by Mark Twain when he said, “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
Recently this college-educated vegetable has been useful in other ways. Because it’s very low in carbohydrates and contains zero fat, cauliflower makes the ideal substitute for rice.
Grated, it even looks like rice.
And precisely because of its blandness and neutral flavor, it goes well with richly flavored viands such as beef stew, adobo and barbecues, the way rice would.
This is a boon to dieters who are trying to keep their carbohydrate consumption to a minimum. Cauliflower rice has become so popular that the term is now part of modern-day gastronomic lexicon.
In the United States you can buy cauliflower rice packaged and ready to cook in the microwave. Thanks to my daughter Pia, who recently brought home a package of Kroger’s Cauliflower Pearls, I was able to taste this latest food trend.
Not only did it look very much like rice grains, it was also light and fluffy, the way properly cooked rice should be. The cauliflower rice complemented well the stewed lengua I had cooked earlier in the day.
Try looking for cauliflower rice in health food stores. In the US, it’s available in most US supermarkets.
Or, you can try making your own cauliflower rice by following this recipe. Once you’ve become adept at making your own cauliflower rice, you can make various recipes that call for real rice. You can make fried cauliflower rice, for instance, by sauteing it in little oil, with garlic and onions.
1 whole head of cauliflower
If cauliflower has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before using. Remove the hard stems on the bottom of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into large florets. Wipe the florets with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Position a box grater over a large plate and grate the florets into fine grains.
Transfer the cauliflower grains into a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for three to four minutes, or until grains are tender. Transfer to a serving dish and fluff with a fork before serving.
Local cauliflower tends to be more pungent than the imported variety. Be prepared, therefore, for your kitchen to smell like cauliflower when making this dish.
You can also use a food processor instead of a box grater.