Category Archives: Asian Recipes

Break Tradition With This Sushi Roll


Photo: California Roll made with cauliflower rice

I love California roll sushi. Not so crazy about raw fish, but put cooked crab or shrimp on it and I’m in. The only problem is that pesky rice exterior that holds the whole roll together! So as I was chomping down on a forbidden rice encrusted treat, I wondered if riced cauliflower would work with it. Just like that, this experiment blossomed in my mind.

I took fresh cauliflower, pulled apart the flowerets and tossed them in the food processor, pulsing until I had rice sized pieces. Then I cooked them in a pan with about 1/4 cup of water until the bits were tender and most of the water had evaporated. I put them in a bowl and placed it in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

When I was ready to make the sushi, I took out an ounce of cream cheese and softened it, then mixed it into the cauli-rice. From this point, I followed the recipe to make the roll. It came out great! Okay, not as pretty as a restaurant-bought one, but this was my first try at making it at home. I did buy a sushi kit that provided the bamboo rolling mat, other tools like a paddle and an avocado slicer, and a sushi knife.

Photo: Trio of sushi rolls made with cauliflower rice

Curious about options, I also tried this using riced turnips. This works well also, although the turnip retains more moisture than the cauliflower, so it’s best to drain after cooking and squeeze the excess water out in a paper or clean kitchen towel. The turnip has a tiny bite to it that actually works with the oriental flavors.

So, if you’re adventurous, try this California Roll recipe with either cauliflower or rice and let me know what you think.

California Rolls made with riced turnips

Low Carb California Roll

1 cup Cauliflower rice or riced turnips
1 ounce Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
4 half-sheets Nori roasted seaweed
1/2 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
4 pieces Crab Meat or 4 tablespoons of Cracked Crab.
4 thin slices Cucumber, cut in sticks
4 – 8 pieces of Avocado, cut into sticks
4-8 pieces Zucchini, cut into sticks
4 Carrot sticks, about 3-1/2 inches long, cooked and chilled

Sliced Ginger
Sodium-reduced Soy Sauce

Cook cauliflower rice in a small pan or skillet with 1/4 cup water, bringing to a boil, then reducing to a simmer. Stir frequently and add additional water if it evaporates too quickly. Cook about 15 minutes until done. It sound be firm, but tender to chew. Drain any excess water off. Let rice chill for 1 to 2 hours. Mix cream cheese, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds into the rice. This will help to bind the riced vegetables together.

You will need a bamboo sushi mat for rolling. Place it on a counter or cutting board and cover with plastic wrap.

Cut the vegetables for the filling and ready the crab.

Riced cauliflower with sesame seeds, cream cheese, and rice vinegar mixed in plus sliced avocado and zucchini.

Place 1/2 sheet of nori, rough side up, on the plastic wrapped sushi mat. Spread 1/4 cup riced cauliflower over the nori evenly, leaving a 1/4 inch edge free at each end. Across the narrow side, lay down the vegetables and crab next to each other.

Begin to roll the nori across the length of it, using the mat to press it firmer in the roll as you go. Rolling the mat over the top keeps it clear of the actual roll as you work.

When complete, place the sushi roll on a plate and repeat with the remaining vegetable rice, vegetables, and crab.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and set. This also softens the nori. Cut each roll into five pieces with a sharp knife.

Place on small plates with about 1/4 teaspoon wasabi and several pieces of ginger to serve.

Makes 4 servings (1 roll each).

Get a quick flatbread to the table in 15 minutes

Photo: Naan flatbread

If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, then you’re familiar with naan bread, that lovely flat bread that is served with sauce dishes. While it can be made with yeast so it rises more, I was delighted to find this simple recipe, which is made without yeast. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could make a low carb version using low carb flour in it and still get a very tasty bread to sop up my curry sauce.

I added the garlic and herb seasoning — I used Mrs. Dash, but any brand will work– and curry powder. Not everyone is as thrilled with curry as I am, so feel free to omit it. This recipe is flexible, so if you want to add onion powder or even chopped green onions to it, you can. Look for the lowest carb plain yogurt you can find. These vary quite a bit in the carb count, so try to get one around 7.5 g or less per serving.

Simple Naan Bread

1 cup Carb Counters All Purpose LC Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Sugar Substitute
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1 teaspoon Curry powder (optional)
3 tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash (R) Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and sugar substitute together. Add olive oil, yogurt, garlic and her seasoning, and curry powder, if using. Mix together until the dough pulls together and is elastic.

Separate the dough into 4 balls. Lightly powder a bread board with a little low carb flour, then pat one of the balls into an oval shape. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out in an oblong shape until it is about 1/4″ thick.

Heat a heavy skillet, such as a cast iron or copper skillet, over medium high heat. Spray the pan with baking spray (like PAM), then cook the flatbread for about 2 minutes or until the bottom begins to show a mottled brown pattern. Turn and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and spread melted butter over the cooked bread.

Repeat with the other three balls. Makes 4 servings.

Easy and tasty Korean Beef Bowl

When you’re looking for something quick and easy to make, especially when it’s warm out and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen too much, try cooking a simple skillet dish.

For a taste of Korean-style food, this easy to make Korean Beef Bowl fits the bill. If you want to make it a little lower in carbohydrates, reduce the soy sauce to 1/4 cup. This reduces it 1 net carb per serving.

Korean Beef Bowl

1 pound lean ground beef
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup Low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Swerve Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 Green Onions, chopped, divided
2 stalks Celery, chopped
4 cups riced Cauliflower, cooked
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Using a large skillet, heat it over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on it. Add ground beef and use the spatula to cut and crumble it into small pieces. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Drain any excess grease from the pan.

Stir in the garlic, ginger, and sesame oil and cook for about 2 minutes until you can smell the seasonings. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and crushed peppers to the pan and cook about another 7 to 8 minutes until some of the beef absorbs some of the sauce. Add 1/2 of the chopped green onions and stir.

Spoon the beef mixture over the cooked cauliflower rice in 4 dinner bowls. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped onions and sesame seeds over the beef and serve. A crisp cucumber salad – sliced cucumbers, sliced red onions, and a little shredded daikon radish in rice wine vinegar – makes a refreshing side dish.

Makes 4 delicious servings.

Tip: For variety, use a cauliflower-zucchini rice or a cauliflower-broccoli rice instead of plain cauliflower. Also, add a little beef bullion to the rice combination as it cooks. I’ve also used riced turnips as a rice substitute.

A quick stir fry made easier

Image: Shrimp Pad Thai

Happy Saint David’s Day! I should have included a leek in today’s recipe in honor of the patron saint of Wales. But I didn’t.  I’ll post a Welsh recipe later in the week, then it will be on to the Irish recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.  But for today, I was thinking Asian when I made this for dinner last night.

I like to experiment with the products I find in the produce department. A couple of days ago, I found Taylor Farms Pad Thai Kit. While it is not too high in carbohydrates, it is a little higher when made with the included sauce than I can use in my daily intake. So, I tossed the enclosed pack of sauce and made my own. This was about 6 or 7 carbs lower a serving than using theirs. If you can enjoy around 30 or more net carbs in the day, then this might work well for you.

I turned to making my own Pad Thai sauce with what I had on hand in the house. You can use fish sauce in it if you wish. I found the vegetables were pretty well chopped or sliced, but not as evenly as I’d like and some pieces required cutting. The carrots are thin slices where I would prefer thin rounds or sticks that cook faster, but they worked out okay. I made mine with 2/3 pounds of medium-sized shrimp, about 27 of them. You can also add in tofu or mushrooms as an alternate protein in the dish. This makes it a good candidate for meatless Monday.

If you can’t find the Taylor Farms mix, you can make your own. The vegetable selection for this includes about 1/3 cup each of Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, green cabbage, snap peas, bok choy, and carrots. Most are chopped or sliced thinly.

Shrimp Pad Thai with Spaghetti Squash 

6 ounces Shrimp, cleaned
1 package Taylor Farms Pad Thai Kit (vegetables only)
1-1/2 cups Spaghetti Squash (about 1-1/2-pound squash)
1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Chicken Broth or Bullion
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Thai Chili Sauce
1/8 teaspoon Ground White Pepper
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar Substitute (Swerve or LC Brown)
1 tablespoon Canola Oil

Cook the spaghetti squash by roasting it or cooking it in the microwave until tender. It’s easier to remove the seeds if you cut the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop them out before cooking it. Use a fork to shred the squash into strings.

Clean shrimp, removing shells and veins. Cool until ready to use.

Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, add the rice vinegar, chicken broth, soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar substitute, and pepper. Stir together to combine completely. Set aside.

Heat a bowl-sided skillet or wok on medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to distribute. Add the shrimp and cook until pink on both sides, about a minute and a half on each side for medium-sized shrimp. Larger shrimp will take a little longer. Remove the shrimp to a platter and cover to keep warm.

Add the vegetables from the Pad Thai kit into the pan and stir them around. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, continuing to stir frequently. Lower the temperature to medium and add the prepared sauce. Stir it in and cook the vegetables a few more minutes, then add the shrimp back to the pan. Heat for two more minutes.

Put 1/2 cup of spaghetti squash in each serving bowl, then spoon the vegetables and shrimp on top. Sprinkle with chili flakes if you’d like a little more spice.

Makes 3 servings.

Nutrition Information

Shrimp and Chicken Fried Cauli-rice

Photo: Shrimp fried Cauli-rice

Chinese New Year is coming up tomorrow, January 25th to start the Year of the Rat. But there’s nothing ratty about this quick-to-make and tasty cauliflower fried rice. You can get an easy start by using Green Giant’s Fried Rice Blend with carrots and broccoli all chopped up into crumbles to cook quickly. Or you can use one of the frozen rice blends with peas and carrots.

If you want the meat version, get pre-grilled chicken from the grocery store and shred or chop it into bite-sized pieces. Add in shrimp and you have a great celebration fried cauliflower rice that is low carb and delicious. To make this meatless for Meatless Monday, use just the shrimp or add tofu cubes. To make it vegetarian, use tofu only.

I did use a little too much soy sauce in mine, so I cut back on it in the recipe, but adjust to your own taste.

Shrimp and Chicken Fried Cauli-rice

12 oz. package Green Giant “Cauliflower Crumbles” Fried Rice Blend
1/3 cup sliced Snow Peas, fresh
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Ginger Root, minced or grated
1/3 cup Chicken Breast, cooked and chopped or Tofu, cubed
1/4 pound small Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Eggs
2 stalks Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Red Chile Flakes (optional)

Slice snow peas into small pieces and set aside. Slice green onions into thin slices using both the white and green parts.

In a deep skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the fried rice blend vegetables and stir and cook for about 7 minutes until they are softened. Add the snow peas and chicken (if using) and cook two more minutes.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside for now.

Add the sesame oil, then add the shrimp and chile flakes to the mix. Cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, then add the beaten eggs and stir into the rice. Cook until the egg is done, then add the green onions and stir in. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Info for Fried Cauli-rice.