Easy AIP Cauliflower Fried Rice with Basil (Khao Pad Krapow)
If you’re needing a good AIP cauliflower fried rice recipe, Khao Pad Krapow fried rice, aka Thai Basil Fried Rice, is a great way to go. Frozen riced cauliflower recipes like this one are so easy and delicious. This recipe only takes about 25 minutes to make and the flavors are refreshingly outside the norm. It works well for a simple, weeknight meal, and it’s Paleo/AIP compliant, nightshade-free, and gluten-free.
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A Little About Thai Basil Fried Rice (Khao Pad Krapow)
Khao Pad Krapow, also spelled phat Kraphrao or Kao Pad Krapao means “stir-fried holy basil. ” It’s quite a tongue twister, right? More simply put, it's often referred to as Thai Basil Fried Rice.
What is Khao Pad Krapow?
There are a lot of different ways to make this dish but it usually involves beef, chicken, or seafood, mixed with rice, Thai holy basil, and garlic. To tie it all together, the sauce is generally a mixture of fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and chilis.
What is Holy Basil?
Holy Basil is what's typically used in Khao Pad Krapow and is widely used throughout Southeast Asia. It is different than regular basil and has a slightly spicier flavor. Although this dish would be awesome if you're able to get Holy Basil, it's very good with regular basil too. Basically, use what you can find.
Where Can I Find Holy Basil?
As far as fresh Holy Basil goes, I'm not sure where to get it aside from buying the seeds and growing your own. You can get fresh Thai Sweet Basil on Amazon (believe it or not) but it's still a little different than Holy Basil. That said, you CAN buy dried holy basil leaves on Amazon. So, if you're wanting to go for a more authentic flavor, these may be worth a try!
How do You Add Spice to AIP Foods Without Nightshades?
Since nightshades are a no-go on AIP, a little creativity is needed for adding spice to meals like this one. Instead of using red chili peppers, you can add things like:
Fresh Grated Horseradish Root or Horseradish Powder
Fresh Wasabi Root or Wasabi Powder
Turmeric Root or Turmeric Powder
Exploring Spice Options on AIP
With this particular dish, I wanted to try it with fresh horseradish or wasabi to add spice. The best I could do in searching for this was to find a giant 5-pound horseradish root at my local grocery store- I just did not need that much! Who needs that much horseradish?? So, unfortunately, after running around town to several stores trying to find either of these items in a reasonable amount, I returned home empty-handed.
Thus, I had to get crafty. In order to add a little bit of warmth to this dish in the absence of peppers, I went with a combination of turmeric, ginger, and cloves. All three spices are quite potent, so you only need a tiny bit of each. In particular, the cloves are exceptionally strong. As such, this recipe only calls for a little pinch (less than 1/16th of a teaspoon).
I listed these three spices as optional because the dish is delicious without them as well. It just depends on what kind of flavor you’re going for (mild vs. a little spice).
Powdered Wasabi and Horseradish
Going back to the topic(s) of wasabi and horseradish, I got to looking online for alternatives to wasabi root and horseradish root. I didn't expect to find much but I was excited to find that you can buy these in powdered form without all the additives that typically come with them. I plan to order some and try them in future recipes! Woohoo!
Ingredients For This AIP Cauliflower Fried Rice:
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts- These will be cut into little bite-sized pieces so they cook relatively quickly.
- Cauliflower Rice- You can use frozen riced cauliflower for sake of ease and to save time or make your own if you prefer (see below).
- Avocado Oil- Avocado oil is preferred for this recipe because it has a very mild flavor and won’t interfere with the flavor of the dish. However, in a pinch, olive oil or coconut oil works fine as well.
- Garlic- Try to use fresh for the best flavor. If you don't have fresh garlic, you can substitute 1/4 tsp garlic powder in place of the 2-3 cloves.
- Fish Sauce- Be sure to choose one that’s just anchovies, salt, and water. Many fish sauces have added sugar and coloring. Red Boat is a good brand.
- Coconut Aminos- This is essentially an AIP soy sauce alternative, though it’s much sweeter than soy sauce. It is my favorite AIP condiment and I put it on everything.
- Honey- Maple syrup works too. This adds just the tiniest bit of sweetness to the dish and just adds balance. However, if you’d prefer not to have the extra sugar and/or you’re on Whole30, just omit it.
- Shallots- Shallots lend a lot of flavor to the dish. Not surprisingly, they are closely related to onions, so in a pinch, you could use regular onions instead of the shallots.
- Fresh Basil- This (and the cilantro) should be added at the very end of the cooking process. Don't let it cook for more than about 1 minute or it will get overly wilted.
- Fresh Cilantro- As with the basil, just cook this very briefly at the end of the cooking process.
- Ground Ginger- The ginger along with the cloves and turmeric are meant to add a little warmth to the dish. It only takes a little bit of each to add a lot of flavor.
- Ground Cloves- Add only the tiniest pinch of this because a little goes a long way.
- Ground Turmeric- Aside from its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric adds warmth and a little bit of color to foods.
How to Make AIP Cauliflower Fried Rice (Khoa Pad Krapow Style)
- To make this dish, you’ll just heat oil in a pan, brown a little garlic, and cook the chicken pieces.
- Once the chicken is cooked, you’ll add the cauliflower rice, fish sauce, honey, and coconut aminos. Stir.
- Add the shallots, ginger, cloves, turmeric, basil, and cilantro. You’ll only cook the mixture for about a minute after adding these last few ingredients- this is to make sure the delicate herbs don't get turned into complete mush.
Can You Have Rice on the AIP Diet?
Unfortunately, no. Rice is not allowed on the elimination phase of the AIP diet but is reintroduced during stage 4. Cauliflower rice is of course, compliant and good rice substitute.
Fresh Riced Cauliflower Vs. Frozen Riced Cauliflower
I love frozen riced cauliflower recipes because I don’t always have the time or forethought to make fresh cauliflower rice every time I want to use it. Being able to utilize the convenience frozen cauliflower rice in recipes is a huge time saver.
That being said, fresh cauliflower rice tastes wonderful if you have time for it. I’ll explain how to make it below.
How Do You Make Frozen Cauliflower Rice Not Soggy?
While frozen riced cauliflower recipes are great, you may wonder how the texture will turn out or if it'll be soggy. Cooking frozen riced cauliflower on the stove at a relatively high temperature helps to minimize sogginess. Luckily, that's exactly what we do in this recipe anyway!
How to Cook Frozen Cauliflower Rice on the Stove
Essentially you'll just add the frozen cauliflower rice to the pan and cook it according to the recipe.
If you're wanting to prepare frozen cauliflower rice on its own (separate from this recipe). This is how you do it:
Put the frozen cauliflower rice in a pan with some olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently and cook for just a minute or two to heat it and allow some of the moisture to evaporate. Don’t overcook it; it will get chewy.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
Although this AIP cauliflower fried rice uses frozen cauliflower, you can make your own if you want. See the notes above for the frozen kind. If you would like to make your own, there are a couple of ways to go about it.
Start by washing and drying the cauliflower head and removing the greens. Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized chunks.
Method 1: Box Grater
Use a box grater/cheese grater with medium holes to shred the cauliflower into small pieces, then squeeze the cauliflower with a cheesecloth, thin dish towel, or paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Cook the cauliflower rice in a pan with a little oil for about 5 minutes, then set aside (now it’s ready to use in our cauliflower fried rice recipe).
Method 2: Food Processor
If you have a food processor, use the grater attachment to shred the cauliflower into rice pieces. The rest is the same as above: squeeze the cauliflower with a cheesecloth, thin dish towel, or paper towels to remove the excess moisture. Cook the cauliflower rice in a pan with a little oil for about 5 minutes, then set aside.
*Note: Cauliflower rice doesn’t keep very long in the fridge and develops a foul smell within a couple of days so it’s best to use it pretty quickly.
IS CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE VEGETARIAN?
It depends on how you make it. For this dish, just omit the chicken to make it vegetarian.
IS THIS AIP CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE WHOLE30 COMPLIANT?
Yes- just omit the honey.
What to Serve with AIP Cauliflower Khao Pad Krapow
You can serve cauliflower fried rice in a lot of different ways. For this particular recipe, suggested garnishes include:
- Lime wedges: lime juice really enhances the flavor of this dish. Thus I highly recommend using it!
- Fish sauce- This adds a bit of salty taste and has a very unique flavor.
- Coconut Aminos- Just another great condiment to work with- adds a sweet and salty taste to any dish.
AIP cauliflower fried rice goes well with:
- Veggies: Broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, etc (use on the side or IN the actual dish)
- Soup- Serve with a Thai soup or even just a simple bone broth. This AIP Thai Coconut Soup from Real Plans looks amazing!
- Salad- This Raw Pad Thai Salad is gorgeous and AIP compliant.
- Paleo Egg Rolls, I Heart Umami, (just omit the sesame oil for AIP)
AIP Cauliflower Fried Rice Variations
AIP Kao Pad Krapow is a Thai-inspired dish, however, there are countless other ways to do cauliflower fried rice. Here are some other variations:
Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice
Beef Cauliflower Fried Rice
Pork Cauliflower Fried Rice
Ground Turkey Cauliflower Fried Rice
Salmon Cauliflower Fried Rice
Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Fried Rice
Vegetable Cauliflower Fried Rice
Mushroom Cauliflower Fried Rice
Variations for This Cauliflower Krapow Fried Rice Recipe
Make It Vegetarian/Vegan- Just omit the chicken and use maple syrup rather than honey.
Add Additional Veggies to the mix: broccoli, carrots, or brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms,
Use a Different Meat/Fish: Swap out the chicken for shrimp, salmon, pork beef, or even ground turkey/chicken or even meatballs- yum!
*If not doing AIP- Add a couple of finely diced red Thai chilis, serrano, or other hot peppers since these are typically served with khao pad krapow fried rice.
DOES CAULIFLOWER RICE TASTE LIKE WHITE RICE?
Not really but it’s still a pretty good Paleo AIP rice substitute. Given that it has a very mild flavor, it lends itself to taking on whatever flavors you add to it. This is a huge plus.
Other Vegetables You Can Use to Make into AIP Rice:
- Butternut Squash
- Sweet potatoes
How Long Can You Keep Cauliflower Fried Rice?
This will stay fresh in the fridge for up to about 5 days in an airtight container.
Can You Reheat Cauliflower Fried Rice?
Yes. The easiest way to reheat cauliflower fried rice is in the microwave but you can also reheat it in a skillet on the stove.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Fried Rice?
Cauliflower fried rice can be frozen up to 6 months, however, note that the texture may change slightly once it’s defrosted again.
I hope you found this post useful. What's your favorite variation of AIP cauliflower fried rice? Please leave a comment below!
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If you're you're looking for other frozen riced cauliflower recipes that are AIP/Paleo:
Lemon Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, Up and Alive
Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, All the Nourishing Things (omit black pepper for AIP) , Up and Alive
Cauliflower Spanish Rice, Wholesome Delicious
Herbed Cauli Rice and Garlicy Turmeric Sauce, Rally Pure
AIP Cauliflower Fried Rice w/ Basil Khao Pad Kaprow (Paleo, Whole30 option)
- 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 cups frozen or raw cauliflower rice
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup (omit for Whole30)
- 1/8 tsp dried ginger (optional)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)
- pinch (less than 1/16 tsp) cloves (optional)
- 2 tbsp shallots
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- In a large pan over medium heat, add oil. Heat for 1 minute then add the garlic. Saute the garlic 1-2 minutes until it starts to brown.
- Add the chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes or until nearly cooked through. Add the cauliflower rice and cook for about 2 minutes or until no longer frozen. If using raw cauliflower, cook until tender.
- Add the fish sauce, honey, and coconut aminos. Stir until incorporated.
- Add the shallots, ginger, cloves, turmeric, basil, and cilantro. Cook for about 1 minute then remove from the heat.
- Serve with lime wedges, coconut aminos, and fish sauce on the side.