Rice is a staple in most African countries and in my native country, Nigeria, no party is complete without our national food, Jollof Rice.
My grandma used to have a restaurant when I was young and I distinctly remember the aroma of her jollof rice cooked on firewood and how my stomach always rumbled with joy. So you can imagine my angst when I decided to go low carb and realized I had to give up rice. Yes it was pure agony! I was sure nothing would come close to replacing my precious jollof rice and I would live the rest of my life in misery! Ok, I exaggerate. But while it is true nothing can replicate the taste and texture of Jollof Rice, this cauliflower rice recipe is close enough to fool your taste buds and trick your brain into believing you’re having the real thing.
The smoked Catfish is optional and can be found in many African stores. I have also used palm oil and though you can substitute with other oils like olive oil, palm oil has its own distinct taste and gives an ethnic flavor to your food.
First blend the tomatoes, habanero and bell pepper together using a blender. Pour the mixture in a pot and put on the stove on medium high heat for about 10 minutes, till it becomes less watery and almost like the texture of gravy. Alternatively, you can use canned tomato sauce or paste though the taste and texture might be slightly different. If using tomato sauce/paste, add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.
In another pot, add the palm oil on medium heat. After a few minutes, the oil will get hot. Be careful not to allow it reach a very high smoke point or you just might set off your smoke alarm :-). Add your blended tomatoes/habanero/bell pepper mixture or tomato sauce and stir. After 5 minutes, add the smoked catfish chunks. Add salt, pepper and crayfish and any other spices of your choosing. You can always add more pepper if you like it spicy! Leave on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
Add the cauliflower rice and stir fry for about 10 minutes. The cauliflower rice will shrink in size and become more tender.
You can leave it longer if you desire but the texture will become a bit softer, and that’s okay if that’s what you’re going for. Leave for only a few minutes if you want a tougher, more chewy, texture.
If you love rice as much as I do, don’t forget to check out my cauliflower fried rice and cauliflower palm oil rice (local jollof) recipes. Or if you’re in the mood for a noodle dish, I’ve got the perfect low carb noodle stir fry for you!
Cauliflower Jollof Rice
- If using a whole head of cauliflower, use a food processor on pulse to chop into pieces. If you already have packaged cauliflower rice, go to the next step.
- Blend your tomatoes, bell pepper and habanero peppers and put on the stove on high heat for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, use canned tomato paste or sauce.
- If you’re using smoked catfish, soak in hot water for 5 minutes, remove the large pieces of bone and break into chunks.
- Put palm oil on the stove on medium heat till it gets hot. Then add the blended tomato/bell pepper/habanero mixture or tomato sauce. If using tomato sauce, add some dry cayenne pepper to reduce the acidity.
- After 5 minutes, add the smoked catfish chunks. Add salt, pepper and crayfish and any other spices of your choosing. Leave on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower rice and stir fry for about 10 minutes.
- Serve & enjoy!