This is one of the great comfort foods. We have it at anytime of the year irrespective of the season. I first cooked kedgeree about 30 years ago. Since then I have played around with the recipe until I created the one that was not only easy to cook, but was the one I liked most. Kedgeree has now been established as a tradition for Boxing Day brunch. My children insist. It is also great party fare. I always cook it when I’m entertaining and have spare copies of the recipe to give to guests who request it.
The first time I ate kedgeree was in 1980 when His Nibs and I were doing the ‘grand European tour’ for the first time. We stayed at a disgracefully expensive converted old manor house in St Albans complete with its own lake, ponds, amazing gardens along with an assortment of ducks, peacocks and swans that loudly proclaimed their ownership of the grounds. As part of the breakfast menu was kedgeree, a dish I had never even heard of before much less tasted. One mouthful began a lifelong romance with this eccentric dish.
I came home and began to try to reproduce the dish from memory, experimenting with different ingredients and alternative cooking methods until I was satisfied with the end result. There were no recipes for kedgeree in any of the Australian cook books of the time.
To describe kedgeree is difficult. It needs to be tasted but here goes nothing. Kedgeree is curried rice with vegetable and smoked fish, finished with chopped coriander, boiled eggs and toasted nuts. It sounds disgusting but is a taste sensation. Kedgeree was created in India during the time of the Raj for the Scottish regiments posted there who were missing their salted fish dishes for breakfast. Although its origins are in India it is considered a Scottish dish, but it is really a heady mixture of two totally opposing food cultures coming together in one scrumptious multicultural match made in heaven.
Kedgeree is usually cooked on top of the stove, as you are supposed to do with risotto, but I don’t. I cook this dish in the oven. Truth be told I also cook risotto in the oven much to the horror of purists and food fascists, but that is another story.
- 500-600 grams of smoked cod
- 1&1/2 cups Basmati Rice
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 red Capsicum
- 1 yellow or orange Capsicum
- 1 heaped teaspoon of minced garlic
- 1 dessertspoon of curry paste (I prefer red curry)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 100 grams peas or beans (I prefer peas)
- 2-3 cups Stock
- 75 grams butter
- Parsley chopped
- Coriander chopped
- 6 eggs boiled and halved
- 100 grams almond flakes toasted
- Place the smoked cod in a dish and cover with milk. Allow the fish to sit in the milk for a couple of hours to allow the salt and colouring to leach from the fish.
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Chop the capsicums into bite size pieces.
- Melt 50 grams of butter, throw in the onions, garlic and capsicum and saute until they begin to soften. Stir on the curry paste and cumin and stir it all around.
- Add the remaining butter and stir in the rice until the rice is nicely coated with butter and spice.
- Add stock and seasoning. Bring it all to the boil and bubble away for a couple of minutes.
- Put the dish into a preheated oven, 170C for fan-forced, 180C for conventional ovens.
- It will be about 20 minutes for Basmati Rice, 30 minutes for brown rice.
- While the rice is cooking in the oven take the cod out of the milk and pat dry and then shove it into the microwave for a minute or so. Flake the hot fish into bite sized bits making sure you get any bones. Cook the peas in the microwave for a minute or so. 5 to 10 minutes from the end of the rice’s cooking time add both fish and peas to the rice in the oven and stir it through.
- Toast the almond flakes
- Halve the hard boiled eggs
- Chop the parsley and coriander
- Spoon out onto a warmed platter. Arrange the egg halves on top of the dish with a sprinkling of almond flakes on top, followed by chopped parsley.
- We have one member of the family who hates coriander so I put coriander in its own little dish for those who want it.
- For those who like creamy curries there is also the option of adding cream (or yoghurt) to the dish, something I tend not to do. But 2 dessert spoons of thickened cream or 2 dessert spoons of yoghurt will add a creaminess to the dish without being too cloying.