Kedgeree is a British breakfast dish consisting of smoked fish, boiled eggs and curried rice. Though it doesn’t initially sound like a British dish, smoked kippers have long been a part of British breakfasts and as I have mentioned before, curry is truly the national dish of the UK. During the time of the British Raj in India, kedgeree was a staple of the British breakfast and it was probably developed by adding fish and eggs to Khichri, which is an Indian dish made from rice, lentils (dalh) and spices. However historians have also traced kedgeree’s origins back to recipe books from Scotland in 1790, which would suggest that kedgeree was taken to India by Scottish troops before returning back to Britain. Another clue might be that it came from the port town of Kedgeree (now Raichak) during the Raj, south of Calcutta (Kolkata) on the mouth of the river Hooghly, were they used kedgeree pots as floats for their fishing nets.
There is no agreed recipe for kedgeree other that it contains smoked fish, rice, eggs and curry spices, but there are many variations including adding sultanas, using ghee instead of butter, or using some other fish instead of smoked haddock. Smoked mackerel or smoked salmon can be used if haddock isn’t available, but I prefer it with smoked mackerel, which I smoke myself and keep in the freezer until I need it. Because it is a hearty meal, kedgeree is probably best as a late breakfast or brunch on lazy Sunday mornings with lashings of tea and toast.
- 0.5 cup (100g) of basmati or long grain rice
- 2 fillets of smoked haddock or mackerel, flaked into pieces
- 0.5 cup (100g) of frozen peas, thawed
- 2 eggs, boiled and quartered
- 2 oz (60g) of butter
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp of curry powder (mild or hot depending on taste)
- 1 tsp of chilli powder
- 1 tsp of ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp of chopped parsley as a garnish
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the rice and allow to cool. Gently sauté the onions in the butter until they start to soften. Add the spices and allow them to cook for a minute or so to release the aromatics. Add the rice and mix with the spices and onion. Allow the rice to gently heat. Add the peas, eggs and fish, mix and allow to heat for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve and garnish with a little parsley.
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