Gently spiced, this rice and fish dish harks back to the days of the Raj
Kedgeree is thought to originate from khichiri, a rice and lentil dish from Asian dating back to the 14th century. Both khichiri and fish were mainstays of the Raj breakfast table, with Indian cooks integrating the two, and later the British appropriating it, dropping the lentils and adding hard-boiled eggs. Kedgeree made its way back to Britain in Victorian times, where both Florence Nightingale and Queen Victoria were partial to the dish.
450g basmati rice
200g frozen peas
500g smoked haddock
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and cut into thin rings, plus extra to garnish
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large pan, cover with cold water and leave to stand for half an hour.
- Meanwhile, place the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water by 2.5cm. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and plunge immediately into ice-cold water, to avoid greying around the yolk. Once cool enough to handle, crack the shells and carefully peel. Set aside.
- Place the frozen peas in a small saucepan, cover with water and cook for about 10 minutes from boiling. Drain and set aside.
- Drain the rice, then put in a large pan and cover with 585ml cold water. Place on the hob, bring to the boil and stir, then cover tightly with a lid and turn to a low heat. Cook for 15–20 minutes or until the water has been fully absorbed, then remove from the heat. Leaving the lid on, set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then fork through to fluff up the rice.
- Meanwhile, put the fish, skin-side up, in a shallow pan over a low heat and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Lift out the fish, then decant the liquid into a jug and set aside. Remove the skin and break the fish into large flakes.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a low heat and gently fry the onion until soft. Stir in the sliced chilli to taste, cardamom pods, curry powder and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the rice until coated with the spices. Depending on how wet or dry you want your kedgeree, you can add a splash of the fish cooking water. Stir in the fish flakes and peas and heat through, then mix in half of the chopped coriander.
- Place the kedgeree in a serving dish or divide into individual portions. Using a sharp knife, slice the hard-boiled eggs into quarters and place on top, then add the remaining coriander and lemon wedges. Garnish with extra sliced chilli if you fancy a bit more heat.
Echo the days of the Raj with a mix of antique silverware – decorative Indian bowls and English spoons (Beau Nash) – laid on a table of starched white linen.