What’s my go-to meal when I don’t know what I want? Anything with Thai Basil!
Thai basil has quickly become my favorite herb to cook with. Its flavor is so distinct and really shines, making this Cauliflower + Broccoli Fried “Rice” complete.
THAI BASIL VS SWEET (AKA NORMAL) BASIL. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Appearance- Unlike, sweet basil, Thai basil features seductive purple stems and slight purple coloring on their slimmer, pointier leaves.
Smell- When you smell sweet basil you are instantly taken to a pesto covered dream world, but when you smell Thai Basil you are hit with an intensely, intriguing anise note.
Flavor- Thai basil really tastes nothing like sweet basil except for a slight underlying basil essence. Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but when you try it, you’ll understand what I mean. Haha! Thai basil has a more licorice, pepper, herbal taste that is SO addicting! I can’t get enough of the flavor… like I literally could eat it every day (actually I pretty much do haha)
Usage- Sweet basil is classic in more Italian style dishes, whereas Thai basil is popular in Asian cuisines, specifically Thai (hence the name). It gives Green Curry that very distinct, basil-ish flavor and gives this Cauliflower + Broccoli Fried Veggie Rice an addictive quality. Haha.
USING VEGETABLES IN PLACE OF RICE
I’m sure you’ve seen the trend going around of using minced cauliflower instead of rice, yeah? Well even though I love rice, I like to follow the “vegetable rice” trend sometimes for a lighter, veggie-packed meal.
Cauliflower is a very neutral flavored veggie even though it smells like a bag of farts when you cook it. Haha! This is why it is loved by low-carb goers… because of the neutral flavor, not the smell 😉
Cauliflower rice takes on the flavor of any sauce or herb you cook it with, making it the perfect addition to this stir-fry. I also like to use a more colorful riced vegetable in addition to the cauliflower! In this case, I used broccoli. Broccoli and cauliflower are meant to be together, right? They are like two peas in a cruciferous pod.
HOW TO RICE VEGETABLES
There are a few methods for everyone to use to accomplish the perfect riced vegetable.
Method 1: Food Processor
–Method 1.5: Food Processor with grater blade
Method 2: Blender
Method 3: Hand Grater
Food Processor Method: Add about half of the cauliflower and broccoli florets. Pulse until “rice size”. Empty and repeat 🙂
w/ Grater Blade: Attach grater blade and just feed the veggies through. Even though this method creates a slightly different shape then “rice” it still cooks perfect and has a great texture. It’s also the easiest. Takes about 30 seconds to rice a whole cauliflower this way!
Blender: This method is a bit more time consuming than the food processor method only because you have to blitz the veggies in about 1 cup portions. Too much at once will overcrowd the blender leaving you with have pureed and half whole.
So, all you do is add 1 cup of chopped vegetables. Blitz on low (I have a Vitamix and use speed 2). Dump out the riced veggies. Add more. Repeat. Results in a great texture, but gets quite messy. You and your kitchen will be covered in little bits of rice vegetables. Haha!
Hand Grater: Probably the longest and messiest method but it’s great because you don’t need any fancy equipment… just your hands, and a grater 🙂
Take your vegetable and grate away. The cauliflower and broccoli will crumb everywhere, but you should be able to get most of it grated.
COOKING EGG SO IT DOESN’T DISAPPEAR IN YOUR STIR FRY
This is a common problem when making fried rice or stir-fry at home… Where did the egg go? You added two eggs in there, you know you did.. But in a mix of scrambling and stirring, the egg has managed to disappear!
Through trial and error, I have found a solution to this problem. Make an egg “pancake” on half of the pan!
This may sound weird but trust me, it works every time!
What you do is, push the veggies to the side of the pan. Add a little oil to the cleared half of the pan. Add the eggs. Let them cook away until set. Flip the whole egg “pancake” over. Cook for a little bit longer, then slice into strips with your spatula. Viola! As you stir the sliced egg into the veggies, it doesn’t disappear!
FLAVORS, FLAVORS, FLAVORS!
The key to a good stir-fry is the sauce and herbs!
My go-to’s are always tamari (because normal soy sauce has gluten), fresh garlic, fresh ginger and fish sauce. Fish sauce is VERY necessary! It adds a flavor of umami that you can only get from this slightly off-putting smelling sauce.
As for herbs, I only use Thai Basil! Add it in right at the end and your stir fry goes from good to OUTSTANDINGLY DELICIOUS!
Thai Basil Fun Health Fact: Thai basil not only tastes good, but it helps relieve symptoms of the common cold because of it’s anti-bacterial properties. So the next time you are sick, this Thai Basil Fried Veggie Rice or a big warming bowl of green curry is the perfect cure!
Stay tuned for a homemade green curry paste recipe! It happens to be my next favorite thing besides this dish!
Thai Basil Cauliflower Fried "Rice"
This Thai Basil Cauliflower Fried "Rice" is a lighter take on normal fried rice because it uses riced vegetables rather than white rice. It's bursting with flavor, thanks to fresh Thai Basil, and is the perfect main or side dish!
For the Rice:
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1.5 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 large cloves fresh garlic
- 2 scallions whites+ greens thinly sliced
- 2 cups cauliflower rice
- 2 cups broccoli rice
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 2 eggs whisked
- 1/2 cup fresh Thai Basil packed and coursely chopped
For the Sauce:
- 2.5 tbsp tamari sub Coconut Aminos if Paleo or Whole 30
- 2.5 tsp fish Sauce use sugar free if Paleo or Whole30
Make the vegetable “rice” by either quickly blending, food processing, or grating the cauliflower and broccoli. Read in post above about the different methods
Over high heat, heat 1.5 tbsp of coconut oil in a large saute pan
Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook until they become fragrant but not browned
Add the cauliflower + broccoli rice. Add all the sauce EXCEPT 1 teaspoon. This will be added to flavor the eggs.
Saute the rice for a few minutes until softened and coated in the sauce.
Push the rice to the side of the pan and add the remaining ½ tbsp of coconut oil to the opening that you made in the pan.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sauce mix to the whisked eggs. Stir until well combined
Pour the whisked eggs into the coconut oil and cook the eggs as if you were making an omelet. *Read the post above for more in-depth tips.
Once the eggs are cooked through, cut the “omelet” into thin strips or pieces using your spatula as a "knife"
Add the bean sprouts. Combine the egg with the "rice" and bean sprouts.
Saute for a few more minutes until bean sprouts soften.
Turn off your stovetop and add the Thai Basil. Mix until the basil is combined into the rice and slightly wilted.
Plate up with your favorite protein, or eat it alone in a big bowl 🙂