This Kedgeree dish is a British classic that can be eaten hot or cold. Its flavours are reminiscent of Indian cuisine while taking a more traditional British approach.
What is Kedgeree?
Kedgeree is a British rice dish cooked with curry powder mixed with cooked smoked haddock. It’s a dish believed to have been corrupted by British colonists upon their return from India as they returned home looking to enjoy the foods of their previous home.
The name kedgeree is also a corruption of the Indian word “Kitchari.” Kitchari isn’t a dish but a wide variety of rice and lentil dishes on the Indian subcontinent. Depending on the recipe, they’re made by frying spices before adding rice and lentils. It’s from this dish that modern kedgeree was born, but it has no resemblance to its Indian parents.
Kedgeree is a British classic but appears to have fallen out of favour in modern times. However, kedgeree was popular in the Victorian era and was usually served at breakfast. The dish can be eaten hot or cold and served at any time.
Ingredients for Kedgeree
The key component of kedgeree is smoked haddock. Smoked haddock is traditionally filleted when fresh, then cured with a salt cure or brine. This is then washed off and smoked over wood chips. However, the exact method of preparation varies depending on the manufacturer.
Smoked haddock in supermarkets is often bright yellow; smoked fish should look much lighter. However, commercial smoking often leaves the fish still looking white, so supermarket producer tends to add dyes to the fish to replicate the authentic wood-smoked fish. These dyes usually include curcumin, the colourant found in turmeric. When choosing smoked haddock, undyed smoked haddock is always preferred, but go with what you can afford or source.
To cook smoked haddock, place it in a pan with a few bay leaves and add enough milk to cover. Cook for 10 minutes on a gentle simmer until the fish flakes.
Curry powder is a controversial ingredient. It’s marketed as Indian curry powder. However, they don’t use curry powder in their foods. The closest thing they have to curry powder is garam masala, which is more of a seasoning. However, curry powder and garam masala have something in common: variety. Finding two curry powders with the same ingredients may prove tricky, which is problematic for a recipe heavily relying on curry powder.
However, this complication hasn’t changed my mind about its inclusion in my kedgeree recipe. I’ve chosen to include it here, as it’s traditional to use curry powder for all its sins. I prefer to make my own curry powder.
Some recipes call for long-grain rice, but either basmati or long-grain rice can be used. I’ve opted for basmati as it has a nuttier taste and adds more of an Indian feel to the recipe. Basmati rice needs to be soaked in cold water to rinse off any excess starch that may make the rice sticky. To do this, cover with cold water and leave to stand for at least twenty minutes. However, some Indian chefs may repeatedly call for the rice to be rinsed under cold water for up to two hours.
- 400 g Smoked Haddock
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 300 ml Milk
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Onion Diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves Chopped
- 1 Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger Grated
- 2 Tbsp Curry Powder
- 300 g Basmati Rice
- 600 ml Veg Stock
- 4 Eggs
- 10 g Fresh Parsley to serve.
- To cook the haddock, place it in a large frying pan and cover with the milk. Add the bay leaf and bring the pan to a gentle simmer. Cook the fish for 10 minutes until it begins to flake.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the eggs when boiling. Cook for 8 minutes for a medium-hard egg. Once done, drain the eggs and run them under a cold tap to chill them down. Peel and set aside to cool.
- For the rice, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Add a pinch of salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes until the onions soften. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
- Stir in the spices, then add 600ml of stock to the rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the moisture has been absorbed.
- When the rice is cooked, stir in the parsley and season to taste. Flake the haddock and mix through the rice.
- Cut the eggs into quarters, lay them on the rice, cover the pan, and leave over low heat to warm through.