Wednesday 9 December 2009


One thing I look forward to most at the weekend is breakfast, or rather, brunch options. A nice lie-in and a potter around the kitchen is a luxury most of us can't afford on weekdays, not when you like to sleep as much as I do. Some people might express distaste at eating anything remotely spicy or heavily spiced so early, but I rather like it - it wakes you up a bit.

Kedgeree is something I've been meaning to make for a while; I'd never pass up an excuse to eat rice for breakfast. It is said to have been derived from the Indian dish, Kitchuri, dating back from the days of the Raj. Back then, breakfasts were far grander affairs - no sad little bowls of muesli, nor cardboard-like pieces of toast munched solitarily at your desk. Instead, fish caught that morning was often used since it was so hot in India, it would turn bad by evening. Ingredients like egg were added to cater to British tastes.

The subtle spicing coats each grain, with a delicate, smoky flavour of the fish in the background. Traditionally the dish is made with hard boiled eggs to garnish, but I prefer a soft-boiled. Cutting into the egg, the yolk seeps nicely into the rice, enriching the grains already glossy with butter. A scattering of parsley freshens it up some.


Serves 2

180gr basmati rice
1 large undyed smoked haddock fillet
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 level tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
A pinch of chilli powder
1 small onion, diced
50gr butter
300ml milk
1 bay leaf
A handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
Half a lemon
2 eggs
Salt & pepper

In a saucepan or large frying pan with a lid, place the fish and bay leaf and add the milk, which should cover it. Bring to the boil and then immediately take off the heat, leaving the fish in the milk. In a non-stick frying pan, add half the butter. Once it's foaming, add the onion and fry slowly until translucent and soft. Add the spices, stir well and then add the rice with plenty of black pepper. Lift the fish & bay leaf out of the milk. Reserve half the milk, diluting it with enough water to cook the rice, and add to the pan. At this point I transfer it all the the rice cooker, but if you don't have one, just carry on cooking your rice in the pan as you normally do. Flake the fish and set to one side.

While the rice is cooking, place the eggs in a small saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water boils, take the eggs out and plunge in cold water. Add the flaked fish and the remaining butter to the rice, stirring carefully. Add the parsley and peel the eggs, which should be soft-boiled, and place on top. Season, and garnish with a quarter wedge of lemon.


Kavey said...

That looks really lovely!

Another suggestion I heard is that, when Brits went to India, during the days of the Raj, they would hire local cooks to work for them.

These cooks were not familiar with British dishes though, of course, they learned many over time!

So when they were given smoked fish (that the Brits had bought over from the UK with them) and asked to make breakfast, including eggs, they adapted kitchuri to include these ingredients!

And of course, many Brits that lived in India developed quite a love for both proper Indian food and the Anglo-Indian hybrid that developed over time.


Jonny said...

One of my favourite dishes, although I make mine in a slightly different way, so I may give your method a go. Oh and I go for a poached egg on top :)

ginandcrumpets said...

That is a good looking dribbly egg. The 2 satsumas I picked up for my breakfast now look even more pathetic than they did before I saw this post.

Anonymous said...

I need to do kedgeree for a breakfast next week - think I've found the recipe. Looks perfect.

Must confess that as a young gunslinging 10 year old I'd shower my kedgeree with tabasco, and have done ever since.

Graphic Foodie said...

Ooh, when I used to attend a lot of balls (in my more glamourous days) they would serve kedgeree to any "survivors" at 3am. Total hangover saver. Never thought to make this at home but what a perfect lazy brunch idea. Lovely!

S said...

i love the photo of the egg oozing out its custard-like yolk onto the rice. i noticed you used Basmati- it looks so beautiful, every grain perfectly separated. lovely.

lizzie do you take your photos at night (in low light?) i can never photograph the food i prepare for dinner bec the photos come out absolutely awful! yours are so lovely, any tips, please?

i love how you write "the yolk seeps..." great imagery.

Hollow Legs said...

Kavey - Very interesting, thanks!

Jonny - Poached is a good idea, though I am more confident in soft-boiling.

Gin & Crumpets - Satsumas are not breakfast. They are a snack!

James - I had a deep addiction to tabasco as a kid, but it would be a few drops here and there. Nowadays, it's flung around with abandon.

Graphic Foodie - Oooh - that's a fantastic idea! I wish they'd do that at some of my work parties.

Shayma - I can't take credit for it - the rice cooker is a great investment. These photos were taken in the morning, but a lot of mine are at night - I have a spotlit kitchen which really helps. Otherwise, perhaps a light box?

eatmynels said...

Ked'g is the bomb... best thing about it is I've never had the same one twice. so flexible and so many options... try a megga spicy version with okra maybe.

Helen said...

I love a bit of kedgeree! Never get around to making it very often for some reason. I remember my first taste of it very clearly. I was working in a restaurant in Cheltenham and had no idea what it was. A sneaky few mouthfuls in the kitchen and I was hooked forever.

Mr Noodles said...

Risotto and now kedgeree, you know it's got to be congee next. And yes, this is a pretty shameless plug for my post on congee.

Unknown said...

Always wanted to make this dish - really interesting mix of British and Indian - thanks for the recipe

gastrogeek said...

ooh kedgeree, what a perfect treat. Must whip me some of this up for breaky tomorrow.

Martin said...

Need to get my arse in gear and cook this, I haven't had it for so long, and I absolutely love it.

This weekend perhaps...need to get some fish in!