Low Carb Nasi Kuning

How many varieties of cauliflower rice are there? Truth is…the varieties are endless. Given that rice is the staple food of more than half the world, it’s no wonder that most people can’t imagine eating a meal without rice. In fact one of the biggest obstacles for newly diagnosed diabetics is getting used to cutting carbs like rice and noodles. But the hard truth is that rice is truly a rich source of carbohydrates, which is something that diabetics are not able to deal with metabolically. 100g of jasmine rice has 28 carbs. So a typical bowl of rice (Chinese style) has 56 g of carbs. There are also those that recommend switching to basmati rice for the lower carb content, but it is 25 g carbs per 100g, just 3 g below jasmine rice. And then there are others who recommend brown rice, which is again slightly better, but not quite good enough at 23 g carbs per 100g. No wonder so many diabetics can’t manage their sugars and end up with end organ damage.

For those serious about living a low carb lifestyle for better sugar control, one of the best substitutes is cauliflower rice. 100g of cauliflower contains only 4-5g of carbs. Of course it doesn’t have the starchy flavour of white rice but it’s a decent carrier for dishes like curry and is also great on its own (think about Chinese fried cauliflower rice)! I do hear about people who hate cauliflower rice or are intimidated about making it. It’s true that getting the exact right texture takes some experience because everyone knows that overcooked cauliflower exudes liquid and has a nasty soggy taste. So it takes a bit of experience to know when to stop frying the cauliflower so that it’s still al dente but doesn’t have a raw flavour. The only suggestion I would have for those new to cauliflower rice would be to taste the rice as you cook so that you can tell when it’s done.

The other tricky thing about cauliflower is that unlike rice, it doesn’t absorb liquids like rice, so it is obviously not cooked like rice with lots of liquid. Cauliflower rice should be fried with limited amounts of liquid; I don’t even add soy sauce to cauliflower rice because I think it makes the rice soggy. So for this recipe I used coconut cream instead of coconut milk to give the rice the “lemak” coconutty flavour typical of Nasi Kuning.

Nasi Kuning is literally “yellow rice”. The turmeric gives the rice a lovely yellow colour and the rice has a beautiful coconut flavour that pairs well with Malay or Indonesian curries. It is extremely fragrant and there are many variants that have different spices to complement the other dishes that go with it. For my version I kept it really simple, because we happened to be ordering in some Indonesian food from one of kid#1’s contacts whose part time hobby seems to be catering Indonesian food.

Such a pretty plate! The other dishes were pretty awesome too!

So here’s my low carb cauliflower rice version of Nasi Kuning. The great thing is that it takes much less time to cook than rice and is a brilliant staple to go with Beef Rendang and Sayur Lodeh. It even tasted good the next day with left over curry! This recipe is a definite keeper!

Low Carb Nasi Kuning

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1 lemongrass stem, outer leaves peeled and base crushed
  • 2 keffir lime leaves (daun limau purut) finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • fried shallots and coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1-2 tbsp peanut oil


  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets and use a food processor to chop the cauliflower into grain sized pieces.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
  3. Fry the lemongrass for 2-3 minutes, then add the chopped onions and keffir lime leaf shreds and fry for another 2-3 more minutes till the onions are translucent and fragrant.
  4. Add the cauliflower rice to the pan and stir fry. Add salt, turmeric powder and coriander powder and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the coconut cream and stir through. Taste the cauliflower rice to make sure it is cooked.
  6. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves and fried shallots.


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