Traditions can be complicated. To test this claim, you need look no further than Kedgeree. Originally called kichiri, it is an anglified Indian recipe. A synthesis of rice, lentils, spices, ginger, onion and eggs as a garnish, kichiri is popular through out the subcontinent, especially during monsoon season. Comforting and spicy, It’s no surprise the occupiers took a liking to it as well. It may be tempting to blame the Raj for its appropriation into British households, but as I said, it’s complicated. After all, it has been suggested that the inclusion of boiled chicken eggs only began after the Mughal empire invaded and brought the novel ingredient with them.
Once kichiri made its way around the Cape of Good Hope and across the channel, local dialects and ingredients had their own impact on the recipe. They replaced the lentils with their favorite smoked fish. Threw on some peas. Cooled off the spicy southern heat. And gave it a more tongue friendly title.
For our kedgeree, we used smoked, line-caught, Greenland halibut from our local shop. According to the Good Fish app that we regularly use when while shopping, It was the best we could find. With fish from the Atlantic, North Sea, Norwegian Sea, wild caught and farmed, there are too many variables, especially when trying something new. We shop with such an app to help us with purchasing decisions. It uses a simple traffic light system to indicated the sustainability of the fish in question. Green is go, while red isn’t. Often times we find that the difference between where a fish was caught and how can quickly bump our meal up a category or two. If not, it means we need to find another fish.
Ready for More Kedgeree
This recipe was a real rainy day lift here in Northern Europe. The textures offer warmth and comfort, while the spices transport you to sunny West Bengal beaches. You quickly understand why the Brits pilfered this recipe. I do have one disappointment. We couldn’t find any smoked haddock in the neighborhood. But this is nothing that cannot be rectified; we currently in the weeds planning our trip to the UK. Our next iteration of kedgeree will feature authentic Abroath Smokies when we visit Scotland.
- 475 g smoked haddock fillet cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 200 g basmati rice
- 4 eggs
- 100 g frozen peas optional
- 40 g butter
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 3 tbsp double cream
- 3 tbsp flatleaf parsley chopped
- ½ lemon juice only
- black pepper
- Place the haddock(skin-side up) in a large frying pan. Cover in 500ml of water, add the bay leaves and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook the haddock for 8–10 minutes until it is just done. Scoop out the fish and keep the cooking liquid.
- Transfer the cooking liquid to a smaller pan, stir in the rice, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the rice very gently for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice steam further for about 5 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking boil the eggs for about 5 minutes. Drain and put them in a bowl of cold water until you can peel them. Set aside. Cook the peas in a small saucepan and drain.
- Melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes over a low heat until well softened. Stir in the curry powder and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the pan and mix with the onions. Add the peas, cream, parsley and a generous twist of ground black pepper.
- Flake the fish into bitesize chunks pieces and add them to the pan. Carefully stir in the lemon juice and cook for 1–2 minutes. Cut the eggs into quarters and place them on top of the rice. Serve immediately.