English breakfast dish
The dish that we know today as kedgeree originated in East India (from Hindi and Udru khichri, meaning "mixture", possibly from Sanskrit ksarah), as a combination of rice, lentils, sesame, turmeric and onions. In the 18th century, the British took the dish and modified it to their taste, adding eggs and fish. Later, when the recipe came to Blighty, many people added curry spices for an "authentic" Indian meal. In this form it came to be a breakfast staple amongst the middle and upper classes, and is still in evidence, although more frequently on the lunch or supper menu.
The dish is simplicity itself to make, common ingredients being rice, smoked haddock, hard-boiled eggs and onions. As there are probably as many recipes for kedgeree as there are people eating it, I shall offer you my own humble version, passed to me by my mother.
Ingredients (Two servings)
1 pound (450g) smoked haddock
2 hardboiled eggs, roughly chopped or sliced
1 medium onion
1 cup of peas
4 ounces (100g) rice (Basmati for preference)
1 tablespoon curry paste (slightly less if using powder)
Oil or ghee as required
Seasonings to taste
Cook the rice and peas, and remove the skin from the fish (scalding it in boiling water for a minute will ease this) and tear it into flakes about an inch across. Saute the onions and add the curry paste before adding the fish, and cook for five minutes.
Add enough water to create a couple of tablespoons of thin sauce in the pan, and add the cooked rice and peas. Gently stir the rice into the sauce over a low heat, until it is all absorbed. Serve on warm plates, garnish with the eggs (and parsley if desired).
I frequently quarter the eggs and add the whites with the fish, reserving the yolks to crumble over the finished dish with a little pepper. Alternatively, smoked salmon may be used, or any of a variety of pulses. Those wary of spicy foods or curry may try a tablespoon of Lea and Perrins instead - in fact this was once my favourite, though I returned to the "traditional" variant more recently. There is also of course, a vegetarian version.
All in all, this is an easy dish to prepare, and has proved popular with all who have tasted it, even though I am no Elizabeth David
. I generally serve it for a light evening meal, although it has also graced my Sunday luncheon table from time to time.