Ok, it’s time to elevate the humble cauliflower rice with not 1, not 2, but – 4 levels of flavor. Are you ready for this? – I have modified my mom’s amazing authentic South Indian “Thengai Ellu Sadam” recipe with tons of flavor, normally made with white rice into a delicious low-carb alternative.
Here are the layers of flavor:
- Roasted sesame powder
- Roasted grated coconut
- Curry powder (no, not the store bought – this is a home made version)
- Fried Hing + Fenugreek powder – the ‘magic’ finishing spice!!
Step by Step Pics
Ok, first step, y’all know by now – Roast the cauliflower rice in a dry pan.
I have been doing this in all my cauliflower rice recipes, with great results – It avoids the gassy taste of cauliflower and gives it a light brown roasted color and flavor.
There are 4 layers of flavor – I call it the KA-POW effect!!
Layer 1: Home-made curry powder. Roast the ingredients (chana dal, coriander seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and red chilis) and grind them. The roasting of the lentils and the seeds creates the browning (Maillard reaction) – you get a lovely smell, it improves flavor.
When you grind them, they become little flavor particles that get in between the cauliflower rice particles elevating the taste. Plus, they add a grittiness factor that prevents stickiness between the ‘rice’ particles.
Layer 2: Coconut – Once you have the basic tadka (seasoning) done in hot oil with mustard seeds, split urad dal, curry leaves and cashew nuts, add the shredded coconut.
I thawed frozen coconut, it works great. Roast the coconut well. My mom always a big fan of toasting coconut for a few minutes, correctly states it elevates the flavor.
Layer 3: Sesame – After adding cauliflower rice to the pan, add the powdered, roasted sesame powder. This is layer 3 of Kapow-flavor.
Sesame powder bring with it – a tasty fat and a slight bitterness that goes really well with the coconut flavor.
Layer 4: Or as I call it the magic flavor. My mom uses this as a finishing spice for most of rice dishes – and this gives it that authentic temple prasad feeling.
If you are able to get crystal hing, use it they are potent and full of flavor. When you add it to hot oil, it puffs up beautifully. A little bit goes a long way….Roast fenugreek seeds and add it to the fried hing. Grind this – and you get this bitter, delicious finishing spice that smells heavenly and adds a ton of taste.
Sesame + Coconut Cauliflower RiceCourse: RecipesCuisine: South IndianDifficulty: Medium-Hard
This vegan sesame coconut cauliflower rice has 4 layers of flavor. Made in an authentic South Indian style, this dish uses low carb cauliflower rice as a base, but with flavors that remind you of home.
3 cups Cauliflower Rice
1 cup Shredded Coconut
2-3 tbsp Roasted Sesame Seed powder
- Homemade Curry Powder
2 Tbsp Chana Dal
1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tsp Poppy Seeds
2 tsp Sesame seeds
2-3 Red Chilies
- Magic Spice
1/2 inch Crystalline Hing (aesofatida)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp oil
- Tadka (Seasoning for crunch)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
Split Urad Dal
2 Tbsp Oil
- In a flat pan, roast riced cauliflower on low-medium heat for a few minutes until some moisture is gone and the edges turn slightly brown. Set aside.
- To make homemade curry powder, roast and grind all ingredients listed under curry powder on low-medium heat – chana dal, coriander seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and red chili – until you get a lovely aroma and browning. Be careful with the red chili, they burn easily. Keep powder aside
- For finishing magic spice, fry the solid hing pieces in oil. They puff up. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds in a pan (My mom advises not to fry the fenugreek seeds in oil – it makes the seeds harder). Powder the 2 together. Keep it aside.
- Bringing it all together
- In a large bottomed pan, add 2 tbsp of oil. Once it gets hot, add mustard seeds, split urad dal, cashew nuts and curry leaves. Roast well.
- Add shredded coconut to the pan and roast it for a few minutes.
- Now add the home made curry powder and roast for a few minutes.
- Top off with roasted riced cauliflower. Mix well.
- Add roasted, powdered sesame seed powder and salt to taste and stir well on medium heat.
- Switch off the heat.
- Finally, add a few pinches of the magic spice the ‘hing-fenugreek powder’, mix and serve.
Ok, I admit, this recipe is not my usual 10-20 minutes roast this, add this, Done! – kinda recipe. You know, I honestly hate spending too much time in the kitchen doing too many steps. But, then, when your mom visits you and you eat her food, it all makes sense – Why do you love it so much? She has so many tips up her sleeve – yes, but most of all …tons of patience!!
Patience to roast that coconut to the right level…patience to buy the katti perangayam (hard hing), break it up, fry it and grind it. Patience to grab 101 things from the pantry and put them all back. And of course – Mom love!! And the prize for it – yummy, delicious food!!
I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think. For my mom’s original recipe, do it with white rice. For my modified, low-carb version – do it with cauliflower rice. What is your favorite dish that your mom makes? Chime in with your thoughts and comments below. You know, I love to hear from you all!!