Anglo-Indian Culinary Mash Up
I had never heard of Kedgeree until a few years after living in the UK and what a fine dish it is! A firm winter staple, very warming and an incredibly well-balanced nutritious protein-rich meal. Think of it is as a cross between a curry and a risotto with a breakfast vibe. It is a wondrous combination of curried rice, fish, egg and peas! What's not to love.
The origins of kedgeree are firmly rooted in the rich cultural dialogue between India and the UK. The name "kedgeree" is thought to originate from the simple Indian dish of kitchiri, a dish of spiced pulses mixed with rice dating back to 14th century India, which was transformed into a breakfast staple during the days of the Raj. After all, I grew up in colonial Hong Kong, it's no wonder I enjoy bringing back a bit of colonial heritage into the present. To most, the word colonial brings images of a time long gone, but Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997.
Anyway, I digress, let's get back to the recipe- it is so simple and a rather impressive dinner party main. I love using smoked mackerel but you can use smoked haddock or any other smoked fish or even some tinned sardines. I have also infused this delightful colonial dish with tons of greens so on top of the more common pea element, I have added spinach and lots of fresh green herbs on top. This is an omega-3 and protein-rich meal! Though traditionally a brunch or breakfast staple, we often have it as a warming dinner in the colder months. Very comforting and nourishing!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup of organic short-grain brown rice, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp of garam masala
- 1 tsp of curry powder
- few whole cloves and star anise
- 1 tbsp of butter, ghee or coconut oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
- 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 200g frozen organic peas
- few handfuls organic spinach
- 200g smoked mackerel, flaked (sustainably sourced)
- 2 eggs (optional for lighter option)
- half a lemon, squeezed
- handful of fresh coriander, tarragon, parsley, chives and/or spring onions
- sprinkling of cumin seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the brown rice in a pot and add 4 cups of fresh filtered water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer. Add all the spices.
2. In a another pan, heat the butter, ghee or coconut oil and add mustard seeds and heat until they pop, then add roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger until softened. Add in all remaining dry spices and fresh chilli.
3. Stir in frozen peas and spinach. Add a good splash of boiling water at this stage to ensure peas and spinach are thawed and cooked throughout. This will create a creamier green spiced sauce.
4. You can either fry, poach or soft boil the eggs it's up to you, depends on your preference or time restriction. If I have the time, I prefer soft-boiling.
5. Once the rice has absorbed all its "spice water", it should be a nice yellowy colour from the turmeric, add cooked rice to the onion and pea mixture and coat evenly. Add flaked smoked mackerel to the mixture, reserving a few bits as garnish. Stir in lemon juice.
6. Spoon into bowls and add remaining flaked smoked mackerel, quartered soft boiled eggs and fresh chopped herbs.