Cauliflower lemon rice with farro is a south Indian style dish that is spicy, tangy and so tasty. The light and fluffy cauliflower “rice” is paired with the chewy bite of farro, all wrapped in a lemony taste and aromatic spices.
WHAT IS INDIAN LEMON RICE?
Lemon rice is a south Indian dish. It is bright yellow in color, spicy and super tangy. The rice dish is seasoned with a variety of aromatic ingredients – mustard seeds, dried chilies, curry leaves, turmeric, ginger etc. The traditional lemon rice is served at special occasions but it is also routinely prepared at home, sometimes to use up leftover plain cooked rice.
INDIAN STYLE LEMON CAULIFLOWER RICE
However, the traditional Indian lemon rice is high in carbs and low in fiber. And these days cauliflower rice is all the rage. Actually cauliflower in a variety of forms, and this fascination has found its way into the blog here too – Creamy cauliflower stuffed meatballs, Healthy cauliflower upma, Cauliflower couscous with Moroccan lamb stew and Low carb French onion pizza.
So I created my lemon rice version using cauliflower “rice”. But this vegetable rice is light and fluffy, so to give an occasional chewy bite I added some cooked farro to the recipe. I also added a few other ingredients in the recipe that are not typically included in the traditional version.
HEALTH BENEFITS – LOWER CARB LEMON RICE WITH FARRO
All the additions and substitutions of ingredients resulted in a dish that was heavily reminiscent of the traditional lemon rice in taste and flavor. But changed the nutrition profile of the resulting recipe. So this lemon cauliflower rice is about 25 percent lower in calories and 50 percent lower in carbohydrates when compared to the traditional version.
It is higher in potassium and has six times more dietary fiber. I enjoyed the chewy bite of farro in this recipe. But if you prefer to lower the carbs further and to make it grain free, then you can skip the farro and increase the amount of cauliflower.
Cauliflower is a pretty nutrient dense vegetable. It is low in calories, but is a good source of antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, folate and potassium.
Farro is a type of ancient wheat grain with a chewy texture and mild taste. It is popularly used in several Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes. It is an excellent source of fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and iron. Compared to other grains, farro provides an exceptionally high amount of protein.
COOKING TIPS FOR INDIAN STYLE CAULIFLOWER RICE
For this recipe, make sure to not process the cauliflower too fine. Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces before running it through the food processor. This will ensure that you have a better control over the size of your cauliflower “rice”. If you use larger pieces of cauliflower, you may need to process it longer, which will result in part of the cauliflower processing finer than the rice grain size.
I used the rice cooker for farro and it needed about 45 minutes to be fully cooked. Make sure to check the package instructions if there are any. Also, the cooking times and instructions may vary depending on the type of farro used – whole, semi pearled or pearled. Pre-soaking the farro will help reduce the cooking time.
Photography above: bijansviewfinder.com
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Have you tried Indian rice recipes? How do you use cauliflower “rice”?
Did you try this spicy Indian style cauliflower lemon rice?
Do you have any questions about it? Or any suggestions?
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- 1/2 cup farro dry
- 1/4 cup carrots (organic, shredded)
- 3½ cups cauliflower (riced)
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 10 to 12 curry leaves
- 2 to 3 red chilies dry
- 3 teaspoons ginger (fresh, grated)
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 2 tablespoons chana dal (soaked, split chickpeas - Bengal gram variety)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric ground
- 1 pinch Asafoetida optional
- 1 tablespoon green chilies chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest grated
- 2 tablespoons coconut flakes (dry, toasted - optional)
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- Salt to taste
- Soak the chana dal in water and set aside.
- Cook the farro in rice cooker with two to three times the volume in water. I used 1½ cups of water with salt as per taste. If using whole farro make sure to pre-soak it for 8 hours.
- Shred the peeled carrots and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 ºF.
- Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces and process it to a rice grain size. Spread it out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake it for about 10 to 12 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked but still firm.
- Heat the peanut oil in a cooking pot. Add mustard seeds.
- When the seeds start popping add the curry leaves and red chilies. Stir a few minutes. When the edges of the leaves start turning tan, add the ginger and stir 2 to 3 minutes.
- Next add the peanuts and stir. When the peanuts are partially toasted, add the drained chana dal and stir further until the chana dal turn a slight tan at the edges. (You may also roast the peanuts separately).
- Then stir the turmeric and asafoetida (if using it).
- Add carrots and green chilies. Stir and allow the carrots to cook few minutes .
- Next add lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Add the baked cauliflower rice, farro, cilantro, toasted coconut flakes, salt and combine all the ingredients well.
- Adjust the salt, lemon juice and other seasonings as per taste.
- Serve the Indian style cauliflower lemon rice with hemp seed chutney for more plant protein. Or with yogurt.
1. Instead of baking the grated/riced cauliflower, it may also be sautéed with 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil for about 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Make sure to check out the cooking tips for cauliflower lemon rice in the post section above.
3. Turmeric, mustard seeds, asafoetida, dry red chilies, coconut flakes and chana dal (a type of split chickpea, known as Bengal gram) are available at Indian grocery stores or online. Curry leaves are available at Indian grocery stores and can also be frozen. Farro and coconut flakes are available at health food stores and sometimes at regular grocery stores too.
4. Readymade riced cauliflower is available at certain grocery stores, that can be searched online for your specific area.
Serving Size: 1 cup "rice"
Calories 159, Total Fat 5 g (Saturated Fat 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g, Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g), Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium* 35 mg, Potassium 368 mg, Total Carbohydrate 21 g, Dietary Fiber 6 g, Sugars 3 g, Protein 6 g
* Not including any added salt. Check for any added salt in other ingredients and adjust.