Kedgeree surely must be one of the most underrated dishes of the 21st Century, perhaps a little bit old school, but a dish that deserves to be rediscovered. It conjures up images of old gentrified folk, enjoying a full breakfast in a stately country home, all dressed in tweed and Barbour jackets, but it’s one of the easiest, tastiest breakfast dishes. And to be honest forget your dirty big fry ups to cure a hangover, Kedgeree is what you need to fight through the fear after a skin full of beer, with your adrenal glands shot to bits, screaming for salt to balance out the dehydration, as you ask yourself in a pitiful interior monologue, ‘why must I punish myself?’ It’s got everything you want when your hung over – comforting fragrant rice, rich with butter and chock full of savoury smokey fish, with hits of fresh herbs that are like a slap in the face for your taste buds! Served with a big pot of steaming tea, this breakfast will make everything right with the world when you’ve had one too many Jaeger bombs!
It’s a dish I rarely see on menus, which is a real shame. Maybe it’s a bit hard for people to get their head round rice and fish for breakfast, but I promise you, this is an awesome way to start your day.
My Dad absolutely adores Kedgeree, but he’s a bit of a traditionalist and when I suggested he make it with chopped coriander he wasn’t impressed. Although I will say that the one ingredient that you definitely cannot skimp on is the smoked haddock. I implore you to make sure you buy the natural oak smoked haddock, pale golden in colour, not that luminous orange monstrosity! The thing that flavours and preserves the fish should come from a natural method, not from a chemical spray!
This version is a little bit luxurious with the addition of cream, and if you don’t fancy it quite as rich just leave the cream out. I like to make my Kedgeree with Basmati rice as you get that wonderful fragrance, that is lacking in plain rice.
This dish actually has it’s roots in Anglo-Indian cookery, and has evolved from an Indian dish called Khichri, which essentially was rice and mung beans cooked together and eaten for breakfast. But in the days of the Raj, when the British arrived on the scene, they replaced the mung beans with smoked fish and boiled eggs. I like the addition of a pinch of curry powder as its a nod to the history of the dish.
There’s plenty of different recipes out there for Kedgeree, some that include lots of additional flavourings, but I like to keep mine quite unadulterated, allowing the simple flavours of the smoked fish, egg and lightly flavoured rice to shine through. A wedge of lemon squeezed over the top is an excellent addition just before serving as it really lifts the flavours and cuts through the richness.
450g natural oak smoked haddock
225g Basmati rice
4 soft boiled eggs
3tbsp freshly chopped parsley or coriander
2tbsp freshly chopped spring onions
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of mild curry powder
Rince the rice under cold water for a few minutes and set to the side.
First cook the haddock. For this I just wrap it up in tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and baked in a hot oven for 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Cook the rice in boiling salted water for about 10 to 12 minutes. Boil the eggs until soft, about 5 minutes, then drain and run the eggs under cold water. Then peel your eggs.
Once the fish has cooled, remove the skin, and start flaking off the flesh, making sure to get rid of any bones as you go. Try to keep the flakes in large chunks. In a pan heat the cream and the butter, then add the chopped parsley and spring onions. As soon as the cream and butter begin to bubble, add the cooked rice and the flaked chunks of fish. Season well with salt, freshly ground pepper, a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of curry powder. Mix very gently as you don’t want the fish to break up, you have to be quite delicate. Serve onto hot plates, with a couple of quarters of the soft boiled egg on the side.