All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
I love cauliflower. It is so versatile & an unsung hero in the vegetable world.
I also love sushi. I have a tendency to gorge in sushi restaurants – likely to the horror and chagrin of the elegant staff, chefs & proprietors. I can’t help it. I want all of it. In me. NOW. ALL OF IT! Except, of course, for eel & mackerel & sea urchin (though I did try it & it wasn’t bad – but it took a lot of emotional prep. I have no time for such indulgences if I want to eat my six adult servings of more immediately palatable “regular” sushi in a reasonable period of time).
The real culprit in keeping me from winning an imaginary Coney Island-style sushi-glutton eating contest is the rice. Damned rice. Fattening, too, when you eat five pounds of it. “So,” I thought, “how can I make a sushi that I can overeat without repercussions?” Shame – sure – but I’m used to that. I will never get used to ratcheting up the size pants I wear every few years. That shit’s really shameful.
So – I did some research. Turns out, not only can cauliflower be whipped into delightful fake mashed potatoes but it can also be grated into rice. As an unapologetic carb queen – these cauliflower, guiltless versions of my favorite white foods seem like a gift from God. I decided to attempt a cauliflower-rice-based sushi & see what happened.
I looked at a lot of other people’s ideas & recipes & reviewed their results. The result I got here was absolutely adequate but not perfected. I added 3 egg whites to aid in binding a crumbly cauliflower rice into a tackier thing closer to the sticky rice used in sushi. I don’t think the eggs added anything at all except for guilt-laden animal product – so – next time I try it I think I will saute the “rice” in a little oil & maybe overcook it into a sticker substance. It is definitely a work in progress. However – this DID work – and it worked well enough for me to share the results. This makes a lot of “rice,” maybe 5 cups or so – depending on the size of the cauliflower you use.
Cauliflower Sushi Rice
2 heads cauliflower – stalks & leaves discarded
3 egg whites
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Heat the rice vinegar in a small pan. Dissolve the sugar & salt in it & set aside.
Using a cheese grater or the grating blade in your food processor (FAR less messy) – grate the cauliflower. It will immediately look like rice.
I added the egg whites & rice vinegar mix & put the cauliflower in the microwave for five minutes. I took it out – stirred it around & zapped it again in five minute increments until I felt the cauliflower was soften & cooked through. Microwaves vary wildly in their effectiveness. Mine is 20 years old. This process might take you far fewer zapping episodes.
Many versions I saw of this added no rice vinegar/salt/sugar & instead – sauteed the cauliflower in coconut oil. I might try that next. I might saute AND add the vinegar mix. You should experiment, too!
Once you feel you have a cooked rice texture – chill it in the fridge.
And there you have it. Cauliflower rice!
And here is a peek at how nicely it mimics rice in your sushi rolls! Yeah. That’s CAULIFLOWER!!!