To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Derika and I headed to Chinatown in NYC to check out the festivities and to snack on some Chinese food. We made it to Chinatown, but ended up just missing the huge Chinese New Year parade. FAIL! NYC is loaded with dumpling shops, and it has been on my list to check out some of the more popular dumpling places in the city. So we headed over to a super popular dumpling shop called Prosperity Dumpling. We were not that surprised to find a line in front of the teeny shop, Chinese New Years is probably one of the most popular dumpling days of the year. The weather was not super chilly, so we decided to hang out and wait for these epic dumplings.
The line moved fast and we were only in line for about 20 minutes, which was perfect, because it gave us time to strategize our order. I say strategize, because the little Chinese man behind the counter reminded me of the soup nazi in Seinfeld. He reminded me of the soup nazi, because we had to know exactly what we wanted to order when we got to the counter. Then we awkwardly waited around in the cramped shop bumping into people and getting our toes stepped on. All the while we waited for the little man to tell us when it was time to pay and pick up our order. Derika got yelled at for trying to pay at the wrong time, even though it was not clear when the right time to pay was. Thank you dear sweet baby Jesus that she did not anger the Chinese dumpling nazi and we still got our dumplings!
Take a look at how small the kitchen was! The guy in the blue on the right is the one that was taking the orders.
Since this was our first NYC Chinese dumpling experience and since we waited in line, we decided to go BIG! We made a game time decision and ordered some dumplings to snack on immediately, and some frozen dumplings to take home. They sold frozen sacks of 50 dumplings for only $10 so of course we had to get a sack of veggie and a sack of meat dumplings.
Yes, you read that right. We ended up going home with 100 frozen dumplings! I just want to let you know that I am not sad about this one bit.
In addition to the 100 frozen dumplings, we got a sesame pancake like sandwich thingy stuffed with veggies, and 10 dumplings to sample immediately. All of this only cost $25. I think that we just found the cheapest food in the city! Our order was done in a flash. We grabbed some hot sauce, and stood out on the street corner devouring our little pockets of happiness.
Derika does not look sad about the 100 dumplings that we took home either…
Ok, so back the fried cauliflower ‘rice’.
After our dumpling adventure, we now had 100 dumplings hanging out at our house burning a hole in my freezer. I wanted to eat some of them, and I knew that we would need help, so I invited our friend Tori over for a little Asian night. My plan was to whip up some dumplings and to off set all of the dough from the dumplings; I would make a light veggie fried ‘rice’. I put ‘rice’ in quotes, because to lighten things up I used cauliflower in place of rice to go with the dumplings. This way we could eat more dumplings and fried rice without so much guilt.
You can find cauliflower fried ‘rice’ recipes all over Pinterest. I’ve made it once before, but it did not turn out very well. So this time I winged it and just put in all of my favorite things that I love in a good fried rice…A bucket of veggies, a little heat, lots of basil, egg, and some crispy tofu and BOOM! I just created my dream healthy fried rice!
Once I chopped everything up this ‘rice’ came together quickly, and it turned out to be a cross between a spicy basil Thai fried rice and a Chinese fried rice. It would be an easy healthy meal to whip up on a Sunday to enjoy the rest of the week.
Continue reading to learn how to make a magical fried ‘rice’ that will change your life!
- 1 Medium Head Cauliflower (about 4-5 cups)
- 1TBS Ghee or Olive Oil
- 3 Eggs
- 1 TBS Ginger, minced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Carrot, diced
- 1/2 C Yellow Onion, diced
- 1/2 C Red Pepper, diced
- 1/2 C Broccoli, diced
- 3/4 C Peas, fresh or frozen
- 4 Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 2 C Protein of Choice (I used one brick of tofu)
- 1 Tsp. Granulated Garlic
- 1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper, more or less depending on your heat tolerance
- 1 C Chopped Fresh Basil
- 3-4 TBS Tamari sauce
- Fresh Ground Pepper
*Note – Omit the egg to make this vegan.*
- Cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the tough inner core. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or VitaMix until it breaks down into rice-sized pieces.
- Cook protein of choice and set aside.
- Whisk the eggs and pour them into a skillet. Quickly scramble the eggs. Set aside.
- Warm 1 tablespoon of ghee or olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Careful not to burn.
- Stir in the yellow onion, red pepper, broccoli, and carrots and sauté about 2 minutes to take a little of the crispness out.
- Stir in the peas, protein of choice, the cauliflower ‘rice’, granulated garlic and crushed red pepper into the pan, mixing the ingredients thoroughly.
- Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Uncover and stir in eggs, basil, green onions, and 3-4 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- Taste and add more soy sauce and fresh ground pepper if necessary.
- Serve immediately and eat the heck out of it.
Serve this ‘rice’ with lettuce cups and your favorite hot sauce to really wow your guests, it also adds a really nice crunchy-ness to the meal.
Happy Chinese New Year!