One of my dad’s favorite meals is his mom’s chicken and rice. Not just any chicken and rice, her special chicken and rice. She would make it for us every Sunday we would visit growing up. We would walk into my grandparents house and smell the chicken roasting and the aroma of all the blend of spices she used in the rice. All of my uncles, aunts and cousins would gather together and enjoy our Tata’s delicious food.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved both of my grandma’s foods so badly. Since I love my Tata’s rice so much, I tried recreating it with a Paleo twist and, I’m proud to say, I think I almost did. I say almost, because, to me, my grandma is the world’s greatest cook and I can never reach her skill level.
With that said, if you’re craving Middle Eastern rice stuffing then you’ll enjoy this recipe. This same rice is used as a stuffing for many Middle Eastern dishes such as, stuffed chicken, stuffed peppers, stuffed grape leaves and zucchini (kousa), stuffed eggplants, stuffed cabbage and the list goes on. Basically anything stuffed, we stuff it with this delicious rice.
My grandmother has recently been grating a small onion right before the meat is fully cooked to add more flavor and to remove any rancid smell from the meat. If you don’t want to cry your eyes out grating onions, you can substitute with onion powder. Because for some strange reason, grated onions are much worse than chopped onions. I used onion powder this time and as soon as I put in the pot, my house instantly smelled like my grandma’s.
Without further ado, I introduce you to one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes, Paleo style.
- 1/2 pound of ground beef
- 1 whole head of cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Arabic spices (bharat) or all-spice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of black pepper
- dash of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon *onion powder or a small grated onion (optional)
- handful of slivered almonds or pine nuts (optional)
- Prepare and start cooking your cauliflower rice.
- While the rice is baking. In a pan, toast your almonds until golden brown. Should take about 4 minutes. (I don’t add any oil since almonds naturally release oils).
- Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, cook your ground beef until most of the redness is gone.
- Drain fat. Add in 1/2 tablespoon of oil and cook until fully cooked.
- Add in all of the seasonings.
- Once your cauliflower rice is cooked, add it to the pot with the cooked meat.
- Stir the rice and meat together with the leftover 1/2 teaspoon of oil.
- Remove from pot.
- Place on serving dish.
- Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top.
*Arabic word for onion: basal
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