Tuesday, 18 September 2012


As often happens when I’m shopping for specific ingredients for something I plan to cook, I end up with something completely different in the basket and vague ideas of what to do with it flitting through my mind.

This particularly happens when I’m hungry.. I know, I know never shop on an empty stomach blah blah... but this was the state of affairs last Saturday when I happened to be  shopping for chicken thighs for a braised with water chestnuts Ken Hom recipe, and haddock for a stove top simmered with tomatoes and olives thing. Naturally I came out with neither and instead found myself with lamb mince (for a Hunan inspired spicy lamb type thing) and, as it was about 11am and I was starving both eggs, bacon and a nice crusty white loaf for a sarnie as well as smoked haddock for a kedgeree.

It was only on arrival home that it occurred to me that a brunch starter of a fried egg and bacon sandwich followed by kedgeree was a bit greedy even for me. In the interests of speed, and assuaging my growly tummy, I opted for the sandwich meaning that I could have a nice leisurely Sunday brunch of smoked haddock kedgeree the next day.

For those that don’t know, kedgeree, a dish consisting of cooked, flaked fish, boiled rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder, and butter or cream, is thought to have originated with an Indian rice-and-pulse dish called Khichri from the 14th century. This was then enjoyed in the Victorian era by British colonials who brought it to Britain on their return and introduced it, as part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine, as a breakfast dish.

There is it seems also an an alternative view that the dish originated in Scotland from where it was then transported to India by Scottish troops during the British Raj, where it was adapted and adopted as part of Indian cuisine.

Regardless there are now many variations, some “wetter” than others, some with sultanas and so on and here I have used medium soft boiled eggs rather than hard, and chives (as that is what I had) rather than the more usual parsley. Oh, and if you can, use undyed smoked haddock - unfortunately I could only get dyed so it’s all a bit neon.

Serves 2 (with massive portions!)
250g basmati rice
350g smoked haddock
60g butter
bay leaf
a small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and cut into thin rings
1 crushed cardamom pod
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp medium curry powder
2 medium-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into quarters
3 tbsp cream
freshly grated nutmeg
small handful chives, chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Cook the rice in salted water for about 10 minutes and drain. Refresh in cold water, drain again, and pop in the fridge until you need it.

Put the fish and bay leaf in a wide deep sauté pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, until cooked through. Drain the fish, remove from pan and leave to cool. Remove the skin from fish, flake into chunks and set aside.

Meanwhile melt the butter in the sauté pan over a lowish heat, and add the onion, ginger and garlic. Fry gently until softened, about 15 minutes, then stir in the chilli, cardamom pod, mustard seeds and curry powder. Cook for a couple of minutes, then tip in the rice and stir thoroughly to coat. Stir in the cream and then add the fish and heat through. Taste and season if necessary.

Divide between two plates and then place egg quarters on top of each, grate a little nutmeg over everything, scatter with chives and serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over.

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