Kedgeree is a hearty and comforting mix of smoked fish and rice with curry flavors. It's a tasty dish that you could enjoy any time of day.
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I appreciate the name might not mean that much to a lot of people, but kedgeree is something that is worth getting to know as it's packed with flavor, and this is a yummy version (if I do say so myself).
While I'm happy enough have breakfast for lunch or dinner sometimes, it can often feel a bit like the wrong meal for the time of day. This dish, on the other hand, could fit in any time.
Where is kedgeree from?
Kedgeree is a dish where the origins are not totally clear, but it is believed to have evolved from traditional rice and dhal dishes in India during British colonial times. It's said that the Indian cooks added smoked fish and hard-boiled egg for their British masters.
It was a handy way to use up the day before's leftovers for breakfast and gave the Brits a taste of Indian food without the hot spice. Kedgeree was then brought back to Victorian Britain and happily embraced by a wider audience.
These days, kedgeree isn't eaten quite as much, and is probably more common for lunch or dinner than breakfast. But it makes a nice change up to your menu, whenever you have it.
What fish should you use?
You would most typically make this with smoked haddock, but you can use other smoked fish. Smoked is definitely better than fresh here to add a nice different flavor that stands up to the spices.
Other things vary as well - more traditionally, it has parsley in it, but sometimes there is cilantro. Some add peas, other raisins. I guess it's like many old recipes, especially ones that have travelled early on - it's full of variation. But maybe that's a sign of a good dish, don't you think?
Most kedgeree recipes these days use only rice but I really like the flavor and texture with lentils in so have included them here. It can be common to re-use the milk or water you poach the fish in for the rice, but I decided not to to save the fish flavor being too overpowering rather than the more delicate spice.
Some also cook the onions before adding the rice to the same pan, adding water and cooking it. However, I prefer to get a bit more color and crispness in the onions, even if it does mean an extra pan.
Steps to make kedgeree
While there are a few things going on here, this isn't a dish that takes too long to make. The only real challenge is a few things need cooked separately, at the same time, then put together.
- Rinse then cook the rice ad lentils together with some turmeric in the water.
- Poach the smoked haddock in milk, then remove and flake.
- Saute the onions until lightly browned, then add spices.
- Hard boil some eggs, cool then peel.
- Mix the onions through the cooked rice, fold in the fish then serve, topped with quartered eggs and some chopped parsley or cilantro.
It's worth reading through all the steps ahead of time and being ready for the different things you are doing. (And probably get a dish-washer lined up for afterwards.)
Any extra effort it might seem is worth it, as the smoked fish, gentle spice, onions, fresh herbs and smooth, comforting rice and lentils mingle together.
With warm curry flavors, easy to eat rice and lentils, as well as flavorful smoked fish, kedgeree is a tasty dish to add to your menu. There are a few things going on, both as you cook then on your plate, but it all comes together deliciously.
Try these other dishes with curry flavors:
- Goan fish curry
- Delicata squash soup with curried chickpeas and onions
- Chana masala (curried chickpeas)
- Paneer Makhani
- Plus get more seafood recipes in the archives.
Kedgeree (smoked haddock, rice and lentils)
- 2 eggs (or more, see note below)
- ⅔ cup basmati rice 130g
- ⅓ cup red lentils 60g
- ½ tsp tumeric
- 2 cup water 50ml
- 7 oz smoked haddock 200g, or a little more eg 8-9oz/250g
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup milk 240ml
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter 15g
- ½ onion large, or 1 small
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 6 green cardamon pods crushed, outside case removed and seeds crushed (around ¼tsp)
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground allspice or cloves
- 1 handful cilantro /coriander leaves, and/or parsley, roughly chopped
- Put the eggs in a small pan of cold water. Bring the pan to the boil, boil 8-10min (depending on how hard-boiled you prefer your eggs), then drain and cover with cold water.
- Put the rice and lentils in a pan. Rinse them and drain then add the turmeric and water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer around 10mins, until all the water is absorbed and rice and lentils are cooked. Put to one side with the pan covered so they can steam slightly.
- Meanwhile, put the haddock, bay leaf and milk in another pan and bring to the boil. Boil for around 10mins until the fish is cooked and will flake. Drain, remove any skin and bones and set aside, covered.
- Heat the butter in a skillet/frying pan. Add the onions and cook a few minutes. Once they soften, add the garlic.
- Continue to cook until the onions start to brown then add the spices (curry powder, cardamon, coriander, allspice). Cook for a couple more minutes.
- Mix together the rice/lentils, flaked-up fish, spiced onions and chopped cilantro/coriander.
- Peel the eggs and quarter, and serve them on top of the fish-rice mixture.
- Can be made in advance and re-heated, and can also be eaten cold.
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