I think my long-standing readers know my Indian food obsession by now, so don’t worry—I won’t be blathering on about how much I love it, how important it is to toast and grind your own spices, and how delicious it is.
But a main component of Indian food is rice, especially if you can’t have naan bread to soak up all the delectable saucy goodness of a good curry. And saddest of all, I recently found out my stomach is not happy with poppadums, made from chickpea flour, and I have had a hard time coming to terms with this. It’s certain that The Husband had nothing to do with it, because if he could control my digestion, he could. But I did think it for a minute, since he’s never been a fan of chickpeas!
So, back to rice. Luckily, one of my newly acquired paleo cookbooks contained a recipe for cauliflower “rice”. What the what? I’d done cauliflower mash a million times (and loved it), but cauliflower RICE? My mind=blown. With happiness! And a second boon—The Husband has never really been a rice fan either, so it’s all worked out for the best. We both loved the cauli rice when I made a pilaf out of it about a month ago, and when What Have We Got Here? posted a Chicken Biryani recipe, I knew I had to make it, paleo style.
I had to pull out the big guns though, and see if Pushpesh Pant had a recipe in his ginormous Indian cookbook, and he did. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the time I wanted with the recipe, since we’d gone over to my parents’ house earlier in the evening for a little wine and catch-up, but luckily I had leftover Tandoori Chicken, which made it fairly simple to prepare. That recipe is below too, but you could use a rotisserie chicken from the store instead, but the flavors won’t quite be there.
It turned out great! Even leftovers were delicious! Can’t wait to make this again and finesse the recipe a little bit. I hope you enjoy it too!
Note: This really needs to be done on the grill to get the right flavor
1 small container of plain goat’s, sheep’s or coconut yogurt
1 Tbs ground garam masala
2 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you aren’t a big spicy fan)
1 Tbs salt
1 Tbs fresh ginger paste
1 Tbs fresh garlic paste
The juice of 1.5 lemons
1 fresh, organic, free range awesome chicken, butterflied
If you can’t make paste out of your ginger and garlic, just throw everything in a blender or Vitamix until its all smoothly mixed. If you don’t know how to butterfly a chicken, do a Google search—there’s a million videos and that’s how I learned. It’s fairly easy. Save the backbone for stock.
Marinate the chicken in the tandoori mixture for at least a half hour, or up to 24 hours. Grill it until the outside’s crispy and the inside is at least 165° F.
You don’t need the whole chicken for the biryani recipe, so feel free to eat some of it first!
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 Tbs coconut milk, heated
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 white onion, sliced
1 Tbs ginger, minced or grated
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 green chili, cut in half (seeded if you don’t like spice)
1/4 cup toasted cashew nuts, chopped roughly
1/4 cup raisins (if you like them, I omitted them)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. ground cumin seed
1 head of cauliflower, leaves and all stems removed
1 cup of cooked chicken, chopped or shredded in big pieces
Put the saffron threads into a small bowl, add hot coconut milk. Let steep while you prepare the rest. Put the chicken in the oven on a low heat to get warmed through.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a heavy bottom; a Le Creuset would work, but I just used a steel, straight-sided, deep frying pan. Add the sliced onions and salt and cook until the onions have caramelized. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies and stir. Add the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and lemon juice, and sauté for about 5 minutes, testing the “rice” until it seems cooked, but still toothsome, like rice.
Add the saffron milk, cashews, cilantro, raisins (if using) and chicken and stir well. You can keep this warm in the oven for a little while, but not too hot, as the cauliflower may overcook and get soggy. I recommend serving right away with a big green salad!