Kedgeree has always been a stalwart dish in our house. For as long as I remember my father made it after Christmas, its combination of smoked haddock, egg, curried rice and the sharp acidic flavours of lemon, capers and anchovies the perfect foil for the meaty excesses of the yuletide holiday season.
This dish is a wonderful example of colonial cuisine, a strange marriage of the English Victorian breakfast and an Indian dish called khichri. It’s widely believed that it was brought back to the UK by returning British colonialists who had enjoyed it so much in India that they introduced to the breakfast table in Victorian times, part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine.
The dish was listed as early as 1790 in the recipe book of Stephan Malcolm of Burnfoot, Dumfriesshire in Scotland which led some to believe that Kedgeree was devised by Scottish regiments hankering for the tastes of India. Either way, this culinary relic of Empire is utterly delicious. Just be sure to be generous with the butter.
Ingredients (serves 2)
350 g smoked haddock
1 small onion
110 g white basmati rice
50 g butter
1 1/2 tsp hot curry powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp capers
2 sweet tomatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
First place the haddock fillet in the frying pan and cover it with approximately 275 ml cold water.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, put on a lid, and simmer gently for about 8 minutes. Then drain off the water into a measuring jug and reserve. Transfer the haddock to a dish, cover with foil, keep it warm and clean your pan.
Right. Using the same pan, melt half the butter and soften the onion for about 5 minutes. Next stir in the curry powder and turmeric and cook it out. Stir in your rice and then add 225 ml of the haddock cooking water.
Stir once, then when it comes up to simmering point, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook, very gently, for 15 minutes or until the rice grains are tender.
When your rice is nearly cooked, roughly 10 minutes or so, discard the skins from the fish and flake the flesh. When the rice is ready, remove the lid and take the pan off the heat.
Fork in the flaked fish, hard-boiled eggs, parsley, lemon juice and the remaining butter, cover the pan with a folded tea towel and replace it on a very gentle heat for 5 minutes.
Season to taste and tip the kedgeree quickly into a hot serving dish and serve immediately.
Simple and delicious. A real treat.