Indian Spiced Pilau “Rice”

Ah…beautiful India.


I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to India a few years ago, and let me tell you, it was an experience! I had a love/hate relationship the entire time. For example, the above picture? LOVE.


This picture? Which was taken outside my HOTEL, might I add? HATE.


Camels in the street? Love. Mostly.


The crowds and the questionable looking electrical wires everywhere? HATE.

But my favorite thing about India (yes, even more than the Taj Mahal), is the food.

Oh, how I adore Indian food. And for some reason it’s been on my mind a lot lately. So when I bought a whole head of cauliflower during my last shopping trip, I decided I would substitute cauliflower for rice and make fragrant pilau rice!


I didn’t use a recipe for this…I just looked at a lot of recipes online and then threw together what I could remember and seasoned it to taste. But let’s be serious – can you really go wrong with cinnamon, cumin, cloves and saffron?

I think not.


The thing I love about pilau rice is the sweet and savory taste it has. The savory, obviously, comes from the rice (or cauliflower), the cashew nuts, and the saffron and turmeric. The sweet comes from the cinnamon and raisins, and there is just a hint of spice added with the cumin and cloves.

Definite LOVE.


The hardest part about this meal was grating the cauliflower – which you may remember from my paleo paella.  This time I got smart – I used my food processor! Brilliant.


Dude – if you ever need to grate cauliflower, use a food processor. It’s WAY less work.

Anyway, once you get that done, it’s a matter of throwing everything else into the skillet at the appropriate time and just letting it heat through. That’s the beauty of using cauliflower instead of rice – it takes barely any time to cook.


Easy and delicious! This would be fantastic as a side for a spicy curry with garlic naan. A spicy main course would complement the sweet in the rice perfectly. Yum.

Unfortunately, I had neither spicy curry nor naan, so I made a steak. It was good, but not as something spicy would have been.


Let’s go to India!

What you’ll need: (serves a lot)

3 cups grated cauliflower “rice”

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup raisins

1 tsp turmeric power

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon + 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

5 whole cloves

1 large shallot, diced

1 pinch saffron threads

olive oil

What to do:

Grate your cauliflower and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium high heat. Add cashews, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon stick and fry for 2 minutes or until cashews start to toast.

Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add raisins, turmeric, and if your cashews were unsalted like mine were, toss in a pinch or two of salt to taste. Fry another 2 minutes until everything starts to smell really good – but make sure you don’t burn the raisins!

Add your cauliflower to the pan and stir everything up to combine. Add the saffron threads (crumble them between your fingers first) and the cinnamon, and add about 1/4 cup hot water to the pan. Mix it up again, and heat on medium to low heat for a few minutes until everything is mixed well and heated through. Garnish with raw cashews and cinnamon stick.

Be careful to remove the cinnamon stick and cloves before you eat!

Have a great Monday, everyone!



3 thoughts on “Indian Spiced Pilau “Rice”

  1. I don’t have some of those spices, so why don’t you just make this for me the next time I visit? Or bring it over once I move, it’s always crazy and hard to cook at first…. a nice healthy meal would be very appreciated! 😉 This looks amazingly delicious by the way! Yum!!

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