Hello friends, I’ve missed you! It’s been a month since we’ve been together in this space. What have you all been up to? I hope everyone is in a reasonably good place, staying safe and well.
So far, our household has remained intact. We’ve had a few close calls with Covid but thankfully that’s all they amounted to so we are grateful. Since the grocery shopping largely falls to me, I am trying to be much more efficient with this task and have also gone back to some online ordering to reduce my time at the market. I used to shop on a just in time basis and loved being able to pop into the market to secure exactly what I wanted to make for dinner that evening. Now, I am trying to once again stock up my freezer so rather than popping into the market, I’m digging through piles of frozen vegetables, meats and English Muffins to figure out what will appear later on the table. When we are craving fish, that doesn’t work out so well, although I’ve had some luck freezing salmon if it’s wrapped securely, and purchased some delicious flash frozen scallops through my new share with Walden Meats so that has been really helpful. Have you adopted any new practices since cases starting surging again?
Towards the end of December, when my mood was trending downward and I was not really that excited for a Covid winter, I made two decisions. First, I needed to make a better effort to get outdoors and walk with my friends, masks on and bundled up. I’m not sure why I let that go by the wayside for the last quarter or so of 2020 but I did and I was really missing in-person interaction. That combined with playing paddle tennis has really lifted me up. Seeing the shining faces of my beautiful friends in person has been a salvation and I also think a reasonable risk since we are all living relatively quiet lives and we walk and play with our masks on. Second, I decided to once again do the Whole 30 program for the month of January and a few friends joined me which was awesome as you need a support system! I think the distraction of the protocol has pulled me through this long month of January nicely and I’ve tried a lot of new recipes and created a few of my own that I hope to share with you.
Let’s start with this recipe for Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice! I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites for Whole 30 recipes, Paleo Running Momma. Michele creates a lot of recipes that are riffs on dishes that are familiar to all of us. She turns them on their heels with ingredients that are compatible with her paleo lifestyle which essentially means eliminating grains and dairy. For anyone on the Whole 30, these recipes are helpful as those are two of the food groups eliminated during the program. I’ve tried a few of her recipes this month and while I always tweak them for our preferences, they work well.
This recipe starts with some medium sized shrimp. I prefer wild-caught, domestic shrimp so this bag from Whole Foods comes in handy (freezer to the rescue again)! The trick to a successful stir-fry of any kind is to have all of your ingredients ready to go, along with a hot pan. Michele suggests a non-stick pan here but I used my seasaoned cast iron pan and it worked just fine.
To make stir-frys compatible for Whole 30, there are just a few substitutions to your typical recipe. Don’t worry though – I have provided swap outs for you that I am sure you have on hand.
To start, your protein is usually coated in cornstarch to create a barrier with the fat and heat of the pan and form a little crust while also contributing to the thickening of your sauce. In its place, arrowroot flour is used here since corn is a no-no. Also, soy is not allowed on Whole 30 so in its place is a product called coconut aminos which mimics the flavor of soy, but doesn’t have quite the punch so a little extra salt is needed to boost the flavor. And lastly, since grains are not permitted on the Whole 30, cauliflower rice is substituted, but swapping out riced vegetables for long grain rice is not a new thing (see my post for a yummy Scallops au Poivre with Broccoli and Cauliflower Rice).
I made just a few changes to Michele’s recipe. First, since I like color and had a ton of those mini peppers in my fridge, I added some of those to the stir-fry, along with a can of one of my husband’s absolute favorite things, water chestnuts! I also added a bright splash of unseasoned rice vinegar to the stir-fry sauce and suggest you could also add a teensy bit of fish sauce if you wanted for that umami flavor (I did not). I couldn’t resist adding some sesame seeds for garnish. And I did drizzle just a teensy bit of chile oil on the rice after plating because I like the heat. It wasn’t compliant but I’m not going to fuss about that! You could put a spicy pepper in the stir-fry if you wanted. So many possibilities.
If you don’t have shrimp, you can absolutely make this dish with some boneless chicken breasts or thighs. You can swap out the carrots and peppers with whatever you have on hand, you might just have to adjust the cooking time. And frozen cauliflower rice is super easy to find now so you don’t have to make your own. This dish is really a weeknight wonder and we really loved it (we ate most of the it between the two of us).
In the recipe, I provide a note about the proper way to prepare your shrimp so that it looks really pretty after cooking and not flat and lifeless!
I hope you make this Shrimp Fried Cauliflower Rice – please report back if you do!
Until next time…
One Year Ago: Sheet Pan Salmon Fajitas
Two Years Ago: Double Stuffed Potato Bites
Three Years Ago: Roasted Broccoli and Parmesan Soup
Four Years Ago: Slow Cooker Beef Ragu with Pappardelle
Five Years Ago: Farro, Citrus and Arugula Salad
Six Years Ago: Turkey and White Bean Chili
Seven Years Ago: Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
This recipe is Whole 30 compliant and adapted just slightly from Paleo Running Momma. I've provided the simple swaps if you do not have coconut aminos or arrowroot flour (soy sauce and cornstarch). You can definitely swap out chicken breasts or thighs for the shrimp, and get creative with your vegetables. If you want a bit more umami, add a teaspoon of good quality fish sauce (Red Boat is what I use) to the sauce. Enjoy!
- 1 1b. medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (see note)
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour (or cornstarch)
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Splash of unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or other neutral oil like grapeseed, vegetable)
- 3/4 cup diced carrots
- 3/4 cup diced red pepper
- 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz. cauliflower rice fresh or if frozen, thawed.
- 1 can water chestnuts, drained (whole or sliced work)
- Sesame Seeds (white or black) for garnish
- Prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking!
- In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the arrowroot or cornstarch and some salt and pepper to coat. In a separare bowl, crack the eggs and season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Whisk until combined and set aside. Whisk together the coconut aminos or soy sauce, sesame oil and the splash of rice vinegar in a measuring cup. If using coconut aminos, add a pinch of salt to the liquids. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet (non-stick or cast iron) over medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tablespoon of avocado oil. Add shrimp in a single layer and cook 1-2 minutes per side until opaque. You don't want to overcook them at this point. Remove to a plate and turn the heat down to medium.
- Add the eggs to the skillet and cook until they are just set, breaking them up with a spatula into small pieces. Set them aside with the shrimp.
- Add the second Tablespoon of avocado oil to the skillet and adjust the heat to medium high. Add the diced carrots and peppers and cook, stirring 3-4 minutes or until fork tender. Add in the white part of the scallions, ginger and garlic, stir and cook another minute until fragrant.
- Add the cauliflower rice and cover the pan for just a minute or so to soften the rice. Uncover and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes to get a little char on the rice. If the pan gets dry you can add another drizzle of the avocado oil. Add the coconut amino mixture, the water chestnuts and the reserved shrimp and eggs. Continue to stir until everything is heated through, just another minute or two. Taste and adjust for seasoning with additional salt, pepper, coconut aminos, vinegar. Garnish with the green part of the scallions and the sesame seeds. Drizzle with some chile oil if you like a little heat!
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
I did a Zoom cooking class through my college last Spring. The teacher was an alum who was sharing his Asian recipes that he has also published in a cookbook. He was terrific. One of the best tips I learned was how to butterfly shrimp to get the look that you see when you have Chinese food - you know how the shrimp almost curls like a flower? Well it's not enough to peel and devein the shrimp. When you are deveining the shrimp, you need to make an incision down the back of the shrimp that almost butterflies it (but of course doesn't cut through the flesh). The deeper cut results in the shrimp both cooking easily/quickly but also taking on a pretty shape after cooking (rather than flat and lifeless). Good to know!
So nice to “see” you, Val — missed you and the blog!! This recipe looks yummy, so will give it a go. Snowing here and days are getting longer. Hope prevails : )
Yay Timm! I’m so glad you will give it a try. Miss you!