Tales from Rivvy’s Kitchen – Easy Kedgeree for people who want something fast, filling and loaded with taste.
Kedgeree is a traditional dish that comes in many variations. The basic ingredients of it are rice, smoked fish (usually haddock) and hard-boiled eggs. My understanding was that it is a traditional Indian dish that is used to cook up leftovers and often is made with various mild spices and vegetables. It was brought back to the UK by the colonials during the Victorian era, where it became a massively popular breakfast dish. Anglo-Indian food was all the rage at the time and with the queen favouring Scotland, where there was no limit to the supply of smoked fish (Arbroath smokie!!), it became a common breakfast time dish. It is particularly handy for using up leftovers and you know how we don’t like to waste!
When we were growing up, we frequently had the more traditional South African version of kedgeree. My mother was born and raised out there and frequently had it for breakfast. It’s loaded with fried onions, lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. It’s my favoured version, but the salty, peppery, sour taste is not for everyone. It is good diet food though, as long as you carefully weigh out your rice and don’t use much oil to fry your onions.
Anyway, yesterday we were in need of something quick, filling and hearty and Claire suggested kedgeree. Upon discovering that her version and mine were very different, I went for a mashup that was both and neither lol. It serves four and took about fifteen minutes to cook, from start to finish.
2 small onions or 1 large, diced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced (or you can use a teaspoon of paste)
2 fillets raw smoked white fish, sliced or chopped
1 small packet smoked salmon off-cuts
2 packets of ready cooked vegetable rice (we used Uncle Ben’s golden vegetable rice. Do NOT use egg fried rice)
Handful of frozen peas
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Set your eggs to hard boil – put them in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately ten minutes,
While they’re boiling, fry your onions and garlic in 4 – 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan until they’re getting soft and glassy.
Add the chopped fish and salmon pieces and stir and fry for a few minutes until the fish is cooked through and flaking.
Add the rice straight from the packets and the frozen peas. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pan and then cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is soft and the peas are warmed through (should take about 5 mins).
Season to taste with pepper and serve with warm hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters.
You’ll notice that there’s no salt in this dish. I found that the rice was quite heavily flavoured and didn’t require additional salt. Added to the richness of the smoked fish, it was so packed with taste that adding more salt would have made it too rich.
It sounds like you’re using quite a lot of vegetable oil, but it is necessary otherwise the rice will stick to the pan and clog together. It’s not a greasy dish, so fear not! The oil just keeps the grains of rice separated.
I used frozen fillets of smoked haddock from the Co-op (£4 for a bag of 4) and just chopped two of them straight from the freezer. If you do this, please ensure that they are cooked through before serving. The fish will flake as it cooks, disintegrating from the chunks you chopped it into.
You can use pre-cooked fish if that’s all you can get hold of – just flake it into the pan at the same time as the rice.
If you don’t want to use packet rice, you can substitute leftover or freshly cooked rice of almost any kind. Either use plain or a vegetable rice if you have any left over from a curry the night before (I’ll do a post on my favourite rice dishes as part of my curry series). Just season well or cook the rice in fish stock instead of salted water.
If you want to try an Indian kedgeree recipe, be prepared for it to be loaded with fresh green chilli and cardamom. There are numerous recipes out there. I think Madhur Jaffrey has one in her Curry World cook book, but I don’t have that one so I can’t check.
Although traditionally a breakfast dish, I usually have this for dinner.