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Fast Day #12: Cracking the Calories: Heathy-ed Up Khao Man Gai with Cauliflower Rice- 226 calories


Healthy-ed Up Khao Man Gai

Poached Ginger Chicken with Cauliflower Rice


I've been super productive this week - started doing yoga at home, researched and started a cold shower therapy regime, had awesome work outs, went to the pet store and stocked up on kitty stuff, and did a bunch of food prep - phew!

My morning was so busy that I didn't have time or energy to be hungry. So I thought I'd re-purpose last night's dinner of Khao Man Gai (Thai Ginger Chicken and Chicken Fat Rice) to something a bit more Fast Day friendly.

What makes Khao Man Gai, an iconic Thai dish, so wonderful is the simplicity and the richness. Whole chickens are slow poached in a super flavorful broth. Rice is cooked in the same (though reduced) flavorful broth. After cooking the rice is "fluffed" with reserved chicken fat to add decadence to a simple looking dish. But the secret to a great Khao Man Gai dish is the sauce. I use a sauce based on fermented soy beans, soy sauce, chilies, and sugar - so delicious and really great on meat centric sandwiches too.

To make this dish lower in calories, I swapped out the chicken rice for this experimental Cauliflower Rice. I was skeptical that this faux rice was going to make the cut. Surprisingly, it was really good. I wouldn't trade my white rice for this all the time but it's definitely good.

Many recipes for the Cauliflower Rice on the internet call for grating the cauliflower on a box grater. I tried that and it was a mess. I rough chopped mine up and pulsed it into small rice sized bits in my mini chopper. It would have gone much faster if I had a food processor. In retrospect, I should have used my blender. If you don't have any of these appliances, then just finely mince the cauliflower with a knife. It'll be messy but a lot better than that damn box grater!

In retrospect, I wish I had taken a little bit of regular rice and mixed it in with the Cauliflower Rice to get a little carb hit. Also I minced up some mushrooms and threw them in because I had it in the fridge and they needed to be used. You can easily omit the mushrooms without affecting the taste. I bet adding in broccoli would be fun.

You could also swap out the chicken fat for any other oil - I just wanted to stay with my chicken theme. Also I think I should have reduced the oil to 1/2 of a tablespoon instead of a whole tablespoon. It wasn't greasy or anything.I just felt that the extra fat didn't add anything so I'd rather save the 50 calories.

The recipe for the chicken will be a little loosey goosey, since it's just really poached chicken. The ingredients are flexible and since you are just using the broth to flavor the chicken you are going to eat, no calories to count other than the chicken itself. The key to the broth is lots of ginger, you can't have too much ginger. I put in measurements for what I used but, again, feel free to adjust depending on how much chicken you want to make. The chicken can be made a few days ahead of time - it reheats very nicely. I usually make a lot and have it over several days with rice, in soups, with noodles, etc. If you don't have enough time to let the broth simmer for 3 hours, I'd recommend doctoring up store bought chicken broth will all the spices and simmer that for as long as you can. The longer you can simmer, the more flavorful the broth and the chicken will end up being.

Healthy-ed Up Khao Man Gai - 226 calories
aka Poached Ginger Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

This Khao Man Gai recipe is based on a cooking demonstration I attended at Macy's with Hawker's Fare's James Syhabout, who based his recipe off of his mom's recipe.


  • 2.5 lbs of chicken (whole, breast or thighs - skin on)

For  the poaching liquid:

  • 3 lbs Chicken bones and water to cover or you can short cut this and use about 4 cans of store bought chicken broth
  • 2 large Onions, medium dice
  • 4 inches Ginger, crushed
  • 2 T Coriander seeds
  • 2 large Celery stalks, medium dice
  • 2 T White peppercorns
  • 1 bunch Green onions
For sauce: 0.911 calories per gram
  • 1/2 cup Fermented Yellow Bean Paste (240 calories)
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce (34 calories)
  • 1/2 c Sweet Soy Sauce (68 calories)
  • 1/4 cup ginger, peeled, finely diced (75 calories)
  • 3 T Sugar (146 calories)
  • 3 pieces Thai chili pepper (30 calories)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (9 calories)
  • 1/2 T Canola Oil (62 calories)
  • 1 T Distilled Vinegar (3 calories)

For Cauliflower Rice: 0.498 calories per gram

  • 70 g Onion, finely chopped (28 calories)
  • 340 g (12 oz) Cauliflower  (85 calories)
  • 61 g Mushrooms (13 calories)
  • 1 T Chicken Fat or any other oil you would like (115 calories)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For Poaching Liquid:

  • Put all ingredients for poaching liquid in a large pot
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 hours.
  • Strain out all solid ingredients.
  • Return broth to the pot

For Chicken: 

  • Bring poaching liquid back to a boil
  • Put in chicken , making sure that the chicken is fully sumberged
  • Bring pot back to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot.
  • After 40 minutes, turn off heat and remove chicken.
  • Cover and set aside to cool.
  • Once chicken is at room temperature, remove any bones and slice meat.
  • At this point you can refrigerate for future use.

For Cauliflower Rice: 0.498 calories per gram

mis-en-place for Cauliflower Rice

  • Process mushrooms in a food processor or blender into small pieces - the size of a piece or rice. Set aside.
  • Process cauliflower in the same way.
  • Heat chicken fat, in a large non stick pan. Once fat is hot, add onions and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Once onions and mushrooms have reduced at least by half their volume or when you can see some browning on the onions, add cauliflower.
  • Stir to combine. 
  • Cover and let steam for 5 minutes.

To serve:

  • Portion out  ingredients
    • 160 g Cauliflower Rice (79.7 calories)
    • 133 Chicken Thighs (133 calories)
    • 15 g Sauce (13.7 calories)



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