I had never heard of kedgeree until I went to boarding school, where a particularly disgusting version would occasionally be served for breakfast. (All food at my boarding school was disgusting, which probably explains why I was so skinny then, and why I’m obsessed with cooking good, tasty food now).
The original Indian version, khichri, is a rice and lentil dish, colonised by the Brits who replaced the lentils with fish and eggs and changed the spelling.
When I arrived at Steve Hatt fishmonger this morning (5th May 2020 – day thirteen thousand six bazillion of Covid lockdown) I was early enough to catch some hilarious banter about a bay tree (check their Facebook page), and to spot the lovely smoked haddock fillets in the window. Proper smoked haddock is pale yellow and not too salty, not like the bright yellow stuff you might find sweating in a sealed plastic bag in a supermarket.
For some reason, I thought of kedgeree, a dish I haven’t cooked or eaten in years. While it’s traditionally a breakfast dish, I had it for dinner this evening because who knows what day it is, much less cares what time of day……
Here’s how I made it. This is enough for 2. (Well, probably enough for 4, but I’m greedy these days).
2 smoked haddock fillets (there will probably be a few tiny bones in there, so watch out for those)
120 g basmati rice
1 tbsp oil and a knob of butter
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 small onion, finely chopped
500 ml mild vegetable stock or water
2 eggs, hard boiled (about 7 minutes).
1/2 cup chopped parsley or coriander leaf (US friends – cilantro to you.)
What to do, roughly speaking:
Boil the eggs. Let them cool. Remove shells and chop very finely
Place the haddock fillets in a frying pan with enough water to just cover them, bring to the boil, cover the pan and cook for 4 – 5 minutes. Drain, allow to cool, remove the skin and chop the flesh into small pieces.
Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan. When it’s hot but not smoking, add the finely chopped onion, fry for a minute then turn down the heat, cover the pan and keep cooking the onion until it’s soft (3 or 4 minutes)
Add the powdered spices. Mix well and keep frying for a couple of minutes.
Add the rice and mix it around until it’s coated with the oil/spice/onion mix.
Add stock or water, bring to the boil.
Cover the pan, turn down the heat and simmer for about 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally. If the rice is drying out, just add a little more water. Taste the rice to see if it’s cooked.
Gently stir in the fish pieces and then the egg, mix it all up well and keep cooking on a very low heat for about 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste along with the chopped green herb (parsley or coriander/cilantro).