Hoisin fried cauliflower “rice”

For me there is something incredibly comforting about Chinese takeaway food because when I was young it was a big treat for my sister and I when we were allowed to get a Chinese takeaway and rent a film for a sister night in. Even now we are both grown up, sister nights have lost none of their fun and are still some of my favourite times, maybe even more so now I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like with my lovely sister, and anything that reminds me of them makes me feel immediately happy.  Here I have worked on recreating the lovely treat of fried rice, but in a much healthier reincarnation, using grated cauliflower instead of rice and a strong hoisin sauce to keep the flavour but without the fat content.  I’ve included two versions here: a meat version with egg and pork, or a vegan version with tofu and tempeh.  Tempeh can be a bit difficult to get hold of (I found it in my local health food shop) but  it is certainly worth looking around for as I think it is delicious, versatile and very satisfying, but you can also use marinated firm tofu as a substitute.

beth-and-katy

A recipe dedicated to all the lovely sister time we’ve had and hopefully much more to come 🙂

Tempeh and tofu fried cauliflower “rice”

Dietary info: vegan, gluten-free (see “tasty little twists” for a meat version) – check the label of the hosin sauce to make sure that is is vegan and gluten free as some brands may not be

Cooking time: 10-30 minutes preparation, 10-15 minutes on the night

Serves: 3-4

  • 1 packet tempeh (about 200-250g), or firm tofu
  • 1 small cauliflower (or 1/2 a large one), grated
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted (or fresh peas, shelled)
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 packet firm tofu (350-400g)
  • 150ml soy or almond milk
  • 2 tsp arrowroot
  • 1/2 a tsp salt

Hoisin dressing

  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (I love Urfa chilli flakes best, which I get from the Spicery, as they have a warm, sweet and mild flavour so are interesting but without breaking the limit of my husband’s chilli tolerance)
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing until you have a smooth liquid.  It is easier if you put the hoisin sauce in the bowl first then gradually add some of the soy or vinegar a spoonful at a time, stirring until fully incorporated otherwise it can be harder to get the hosin sauce to fully mix in.
  2. Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into bite sized pieces and marinade in 2 tbsp of the hoisin dressing for at least 10 minutes, preferably overnight or a few days.
  3. Crumble the tofu and mix it with the soy or almond milk, arrowroot and salt.  To make sure that there aren’t lumps in the arrowroot, it is easiest to add the soy or almond milk gradually to the arrowroot powder, stirring constantly until it is incorporated, then mix together with the tofu and salt.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan and put the tempeh (or tofu) on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until it is crispy on the outside but not dried out.  If you are using tofu it might benefit from a bit longer (20-30 minutes).
  5. Put the cauliflower and peas in a large non-stick frying pan with the stock and cook on a medium heat, covered, for 3-5 minutes, until softening, then uncover and turn up the heat, stirring until the water evaporates.
  6. Push the “rice” to one side of the pan and make sure that the free side of the pan is over the heat.  Pour the tofu mixture into the free side of the pan and stir until it thickens. Then mix it into the “rice”.
  7. Season the rice with soy sauce and 1-2 tbsp of the hoisin dressing.
  8. Stir the tempeh (or tofu) into the rice and serve with the rest of the hoisin sauce on the side to drizzle over.

A few tips to prep ahead:

  • The hoisin sauce can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. n It is a very nice dressing or dipping sauce so you can easily make extra quantities.
  • Cut up and marinade the tempeh (or pork – see below) a day or two before you want to use it.  You can even bake it ahead of time and just put it in the oven to heat through and crisp up for 5 minutes on the night.
  • Prepare the tofu/soy or almond milk/arrowroot/salt mixture (or eggs – see below) and keep in a sealable box in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Grate the cauliflower ahead of time and keep for a few days in a box or bag in the fridge.
  • Defrost the peas the night before.
  • Then all you have to do on the night is bake or heat up the tempeh (or pork), cook the cauliflower and tofu (or eggs), season and mix it all together.

A few tasty little twists…

Hoisin sauce has a particularly good relationship with pork in my mind, and this recipe works very well with diced pork instead of tempeh, and the more traditional eggs instead of tofu:

Hoisin pork egg fried cauliflower rice

  • 1 packet diced pork (~300-400g) or pork tenderloin cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small cauliflower (or 1/2 a large one), grated
  • 200g frozen peas, defrosted (or fresh peas, shelled)
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-3 eggs (or 3 egg whites + 1 egg for a lighter version, or a great way to use up leftover egg whites if you’re cooking anything like custard or cheesecake)
  • 1/2 a tsp salt
  • 1 quantity hoisin dressing (see above)
  1. Marinade the pork in 2 tbsp of the hoisin dressing for at least 10 minutes, preferably overnight or a few days.
  2. Beat the eggs (or egg and egg whites) and salt in a bowl.
  3. Put the pork, with its marinade, in a non-stick frying pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until browned on the outside and cooked through (about 6-10 minutes), so that it isn’t pink in the centre if you cut it in half.  Set the pork aside on a plate or in a bowl.
  4. Put the cauliflower and peas into the same large non-stick frying pan (no need to clean it out after the pork) with the stock and cook on a medium heat, covered, for 3-5 minutes, until softening, then uncover and turn up the heat, stirring until the water evaporates.
  5. Push the “rice” to one side of the pan and make sure that the free side of the pan is over the heat.  Pour the egg mixture into the free side of the pan and stir until it is lightly scrambled. Then mix it into the “rice”.
  6. Season the rice with soy sauce and 1-2 tbsp of the hoisin dressing.
  7. Stir the pork into the rice and serve with the rest of the hoisin sauce on the side to drizzle over.

You can experiment with your favourite fried rice combinations, for example:

  • Swap  (or supplement) the peas with sweetcorn, diced carrot or beansprouts.
  • Swap the tempeh or pork for diced or shredded chicken,  bits of bacon or gammon, prawns, mixed seafood, diced and baked aubergine, mushrooms, beans, or your favourite meat or vegetable mix.
  • Swap the hoisin sauce in the dressing for sweet chilli sauce.

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The hoisin dressing can also be used in other dishes, for example:

  • To marinade tenderloin of pork or pork skewers prior to baking, grilling or BBQing them.
  • As a stir fry sauce for strips of pork or bacon, prawns, mushrooms or aubergine and mixed stirfry vegetables (e.g. beansprouts, baby corn, peppers, sugar snaps, grated carrot)
  • As a dressing for an oriental inspired salad e.g. crunchy shredded cabbage, sliced peppers, grated carrot, shredded lettuce, lightly cooked beansprouts and topped with chicken, pork, duck, baked tofu or griddled slices of aubergine.
  • As a dipping sauce for spring rolls.
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