Above photo: Chef Pete Evans says his Cauliflower Fried Rice With Chicken is easy to master. | “The Paleo Chef”
You start following the Paleo Diet and once you get used to meals without all the processed foods, it’s not only very doable, but also appetizing.
But then you want to take it up a notch, and that’s where award-winning chef Pete Evans’ new book, “Paleo Chef” (Ten Speed Press, $24.99), comes in. Anyone embracing the Paleo Diet or even considering it should give Evans’ latest cookbook a look-see. (For those unfamiliar with it, the Paleo Diet encourages eating only those foods — such as meats and plants — that were available during the Stone Age and avoiding those that weren’t, including grains, refined sugar and dairy.)
Evans is a highly regarded chef in Australia. Americans are getting to know him as host of the PBS show “The Moveable Feast.” In “Paleo Chef,” Evans shows that tossing carbs and processed foods to the wayside doesn’t mean you’re eating bland or that it’s difficult. With great creativity, Evans has developed 100-plus recipes that show how scrumptious Paleo eating can be.
Knowing that one of the ways Paleo diners follow the diet successfully is to find good substitutes, Evans provides wonderful ones. Missing the crunch of fried foods? Then give his Zucchini & Fennel Fritters or Fish & Chips (macadamia nuts provide the “breading”) a try. In search of a dessert fix? Apple-Berry Crumble gets its bite from a mix of nuts rather than flour (and its sweetness from honey).
Every meal of the day, plus snacks, drinks and desserts, is featured here. Flavors from all corners of the globe are included. As someone trying to include more fish in my diet, I particularly appreciate Evans’ chapter on seafood.
Some of the recipes are lengthier, but not complicated. Even a fledgling home chef could master these. But even shorter ones, such as the Snapper En Palillote (that includes clams and cherry tomatoes), take presentation up a notch. And the photographs by Mark Roper make everything look oh-so-tempting.
I especially like the section Evans includes on basics that show how to make a variety of sauces, stocks, dressings and spice mixes, which make all the difference in eating well and satisfyingly on the Paleo diet.
Stir-fry seems like something a Paleo diner might have to forgo. After all, there’s no rice. No matter! Evans shows in the recipe below how he subs in cauliflower by pulsing it in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice. Genius! An added bonus: Evans says once you get the hang of this, the dish takes 10 minutes to prepare.
CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE WITH CHICKEN
The more I make this recipe, the more I love it; actually, the more I eat this recipe, the more I love cooking it! Cauliflower fried rice is seriously delicious and it takes less than 10 minutes to get a load of it on the table. I love playing around with ingredients in this recipe by adding different spices and herbs; proteins like shrimp, crab, turkey, ham, or nitrate-free bacon; and an assortment of veggies to create a deliciously balanced meal. If it’s hot outside and you want to make a cool, refreshing dish, just let it cool down or chill it in the fridge and add it to any salad.
1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 slices bacon or ham, finely diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 eggs, whisked with a splash of fish sauce to season
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 cup sliced okra
1¼ cups sliced brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
½ bean sprouts
Fish sauce, to serve
Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until its texture resembles rice.
In a large wok or frying pan, heat a little of the coconut oil over high heat. Add the bacon and fry until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and set aside. Wipe out the wok and add a little more coconut oil. Add the chicken and saute
over high heat until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Wipe the wok clean again, turn down the heat to medium, and add a little more coconut oil. Pour the eggs into the pan and cook, tilting the wok to let the uncooked eggs slide underneath the set eggs. Flip the omelet and cook until slightly golden, about 2 minutes. Remove, slice into thin strips, and set aside.
Heat a little of the coconut oil in the wok over high heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and ginger and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the okra and brussels sprouts and cook for 1 minute, then add the cauliflower and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tamari, scallions, cilantro, parsley, bean sprouts, the reserved bacon, chicken, egg strips, and sea salt and ground white pepper to taste, and stir-fry for 1 minute until well combined. Season with a splash of fish sauce, transfer to a serving bowl, and serve.