Kedgeree, a favourite festive brunch recipe in my family, dates back to Victorian England, when it would have been part of the often elaborate breakfast spreads of the upper classes. A dish of rice with smoked fish and boiled eggs, it also has a discernible curry flavour.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Cooking Kedgeree at Home
Kedgeree is based on the Indian rice and lentil dish called khichdi or khichri. The word khichdi means mishmash or hodgepodge, and is itself a recipe with a long history, going back to the 14th century, and maybe even earlier.It was brought back to the UK by the Brits. So, kedgeree, with its Indian spices and British additions, is a bona fide Anglo-Indian mishmash.
It’s a very, very easy recipe to make, and there isn’t a whole lot of wise words going into today’s post!
Every family who has been cooking this smoky rice dish for a long time, like mine, will have its own little twist to it. So, feel free to experiment a little with the ingredients and flavours, but be mindful of the identifying flavour: smoky (from the fish), curry and a touch creamy from the eggs and milk.
The Rice for Cooking Kedgeree
Basmati rice is perfect, jasmine rice will work too. In other words, any long grain rice will work in kedgeree, no short grain, sticky rice.
The Smoked Fish in Kedgeree
The traditional smoked fish used in Kedgeree is smoked haddock, and preferably undyed (why consume dye?). I personally, love adding another smoked fish to the mix too; more often than not, it’s smoked mackerel, and sometimes, smoked salmon.
Stock in Kedgeree
We use chicken or vegetable stock when cooking kedgeree. Although there is fish in the recipe, fish or seafood stock would just overpower the subtleties of the dish.
If you make your own stock, great, if not, use a good shop bought stockpot or cube, no artificial anything. We tend to have frozen homemade stock at home, but there are always some stockpots handy for when we run out, and because they are also very convenient. These are the ones I use.
One stockpot or stock cube is usually for 500ml (2 cups) of water. So for the amount of liquid here, 1 stock cube or pot plus 1 tsp of salt is perfect.
How to Serve Kedgeree
Kedgeree is a one pot dish; you don’t need any other side dishes to go with it. You have everything you need, right there on one plate: carbs, protein and vegetables. Individual servings of lemon wedges for more juice, a sprinkling of parsley and some freshly ground black pepper is all you need.
Having said that, some raita and/or mango chutney and a green salad can only enhance the experience.
And on that note, shall we get our aprons on?
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How to Make Kedgeree – an Anglo-Indian favourite
For Poaching the Haddock
- 500 g smoked haddock, preferably undyed
- enough whole milk to cover the fish about 500ml/2 cups
- 4 cardamoms
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 2 Tbsp mild curry powder or hot, if you prefer
- 1 large onion
- 1 green chilli left whole
- 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried
- 500 g basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- 400 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 4 boiled eggs
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 handfuls of peas petit pois, fresh or frozen
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small handful fresh parsley
- lemon wedges to serve
Poach the Haddock First
- Place the haddock in a shallow pan, cover with milk and bring it to a gentle boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain, set aside to cool, and reserve the poaching liquid for the rice. Flake the haddock when cool (while the rice is cooking).
Prep work (while the haddock is poaching)
- Rinse the rice. Drain, and set aside.
- Dice the onions (chop up fairly small).
Let's get cooking
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan or casserole dish on medium heat and fry the dry spices and bay leaf (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf) for a minute.
- Add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes until the onions are soft. Lower the heat slightly if your onions are browning too quickly.
- Add the green chilli and curry powder and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly for about 60 seconds.
- Add the stock and 300ml (1 1/5 cup) of the poaching liquid (milk), making a total of 700ml (2 2/5 cups) liquid. Add the salt, stir and bring to a boil.
- Cover with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat right down and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, take 2 of the eggs, and mash them up with the back of a fork. Or you could use an egg slicer, and slice it in different positions. These mashed up eggs are going to be mixed in with the rice. Set aside. Technically, you could even boil the eggs now, and have them ready when the rice is done.
- When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork, then add the haddock, chopped eggs, lemon juice and peas. Stir everything up gently, cover and cook on very low heat for another 2 minutes, essentially to cook the peas and heat the haddock and eggs.
- When done, check the seasoning, add some salt if needed.
- Top with some freshly ground black pepper and the chopped parsley and serve immediately with the wedges of lemon and the other 2 boiled eggs. Depending on how many are eating, you can halve or quarter these eggs.