My dad makes the best Japanese fried rice.
When my parents cook dinner, they usually stick to a theme: my mom makes excellent Korean food, and my dad is the king of Japanese food. I always look forward to my dad being in the kitchen, and even more so when he is making his specialty: Japanese fried rice.
Japanese fried rice is typically mixed with meat from a hibachi grill (flat griddle), ideally a ribeye steak (my favorite), or chicken, tofu, or seafood, but my dad makes his with ground beef. I’ve had many, many bowls of Japanese fried rice – it’s also sometimes referred to as Hibachi Fried Rice or Teppanyaki Fried Rice – from different restaurants here in the US, in Singapore, the Philippines, and even in Japan, but none holds a candle to my dad’s version.
He’s been making it for as long as I can remember, his own version of the rice we used to get at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants in the Philippines, Kimpura. The rice is cooked right on the hibachi grill and it’s ready in minutes, tempting us with the intoxicating smell of beef and aromatics. I always dig in before the rice has had the chance to cool, always burning my mouth, always too impatient to wait to eat.
I’ve been wanting to recreate my dad’s fried rice myself and so I asked him for his recipe during one of our regular FaceTime sessions. I also have been wanting to make cauliflower rice for ages so I figured might as well combine the two.
Did I just say cauliflower rice?? Yes, that’s right. Instead of rice, I used cauliflower chopped up into little teeny bitty rice grain-size pieces. After preparing the cauliflower fried rice-style, I can hardly tell that I’m not eating an actual grain.
Using cauliflower rice instead of white or brown rice means that this is a great low-carb meal. It’s pretty healthy, too. It’s mostly cauliflower, with carrots, garlic, onions, eggs, and a little ground beef. Sure, it’s fried, and I used 80% ground beef (with 20% fat) instead of the leaner types, but let’s live a little!
This turned out so delicious. It tastes exactly like comfort food to me, but it’s not heavy at all (unlike my other comfort food favorite: pasta). Next time I’ll add even more veggies, like mushrooms and bean sprouts, but I wanted to stay true to my dad’s recipe, only swapping cauliflower rice for white rice. And true to form, I almost burned my tongue while eating this immediately after cooking.
Japanese Fried Cauliflower Rice
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 oz ground beef (I used 80% lean)
1/2 small white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking wine
salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the "rice" by cutting the cauliflower into florets, and then chopping into rice grain-sized pieces. You can use a food processor or a blender to pulse it, but I just manually chopped it up.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the ground beef until browned. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and drain off all grease except for a tablespoon left in the skillet.
- Add onion and saute until softened, about two minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in carrots and saute until crisp-tender, about another 2 minutes.
- Break the two eggs in a separate bowl and whisk together. Move aside vegetables in the pan, and add eggs. Let it set for a minute, then stir in the cauliflower. Mix well so that the egg coats the "grains." Add back the ground beef. Cook and stir everything together for five minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
- Stir in green onion (reserving some for garnish). Add soy sauce and cooking wine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with remaining green onions and serve immediately.
If you’re interested in more low-carb recipes, here are a few of my go-to meals and sides:
But this Japanese Fried Cauliflower Rice is definitely my new favorite. Thanks to my awesome dad for his fried rice recipe!