Here’s a Recipe for Persian Cauliflower Rice with NYC Chicken so You Can Cut Down on Your Carbs

I love me some rice, and I’m that kind of girl who eats like a guy. Whether it’s fried rice, Hainanese rice, biryani, stuffed in nori or a tortilla, or even your run-of-the-mill cup of rice paired with a saucy viand—I’d eat every single grain.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice5

One of my favorite comfort foods growing up (and until this day) is shawarma rice. Our university cafeteria once had a stall called Mama Shawarma, which served the best damn shawarma rice I’ve ever had. It was my go-to place after a headache-inducing midterm or a strenuous set of oral exams. Okay, fine. I really didn’t need an excuse to head there. I had it almost everyday of my freshman year, thus gaining the horrific freshman fifteen (pounds), which I carried around with me all the way until senior year.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice1

Texture-wise, cauliflower rice is very similar to our favorite carb, in terms of taste, though, it will obviously lack the starchy, sticky component—but that’s completely fine, as it makes as a great (and healthier) substitute. Take this Persian Cauliflower Rice, for example, that’s bursting with turmeric and cumin flavors. It pairs so well with New York Chicken and Garlic Yogurt sauce; the comfort it brings to the table is addicting.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice2

After cleaning the cauliflower and cutting it into large florets, pat them dry first with paper towels before taking them for a spin inside the food processor (you don’t want them to turn into cauliflower mush). Gently pulse the cauliflower florets, making sure that they don’t end up sandy or like couscous. You want a them to look like tiny grains of rice, so keep an eye on them.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice3

No food processor? No problem! You can use a box grater in its place. Once you get the desired texture, you’re good. Now toss it in with some unsalted butter and spices until it turns yellow in hue. After that, you’re pretty much set.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice4

As mentioned, we used New York Chicken with Garlic Yogurt Sauce for this recipe, but you can go ahead and use other Mediterranean or Middle Eastern dishes that’ll also go well with this Persian Cauliflower Rice such as lamb curry or kebab.

Chicken Cauliflower Rice8

Chicken Cauliflower Rice6

New York Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

Total Time: 2 hours, more or less
Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients: New York Chicken

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1/2 kilo chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients: Persian Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower “rice” (2-3 small cauliflower heads)
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients: Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper


  • iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • pita bread strips, toasted
  • harissa-style hot sauce (optional)

Procedure: Sauce

  1. Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk to combine.
  3. Refrigerate.

Procedure: New York Chicken

  1. Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. Blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Place the chicken in a zipper lock bag and add the marinade. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1-4 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. You may use a grill or pan-grill the chicken thigh fillet for about 4 minutes on each side.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  7. Roughly chop the chicken into strips

Procedure: Persian Cauliflower Rice

  1. Remove the leaves and cut cauliflower into large florets.
  2. Wash and drain in a colander or pat dry with a paper towel.
  3. You can use a box grater or a food processor at this point. Pulse the cauliflower florets in the food processor until it looks like rice morsels.
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and combine the spices: turmeric and cumin to release the oils. About 1 minute.
  5. Mix in the cauliflower “rice” to the saucepan and watch it turn into a vibrant yellow hue.
  6. Cook until the morsels have softened but still al dente, about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. Lay the cauliflower rice on a large serving platter, top with chicken on the center, lay on the shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges and pita chips.
  2. Smother with the yogurt sauce and if you like it spicy, top with harissa-style hot sauce as well.


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