In my early 20s kedgeree was my signature dish and  I thrust it upon anyone who came to dinner – friends, family, work colleagues, potential boyfriends. This sums up my ‘devil may care’ attitude in those days – it didn’t cross my mind that people may NOT like it, of course they would, after all I liked it.

These days I am a more thoughtful and conservative host and even though I think it’s delicious I would be terrified of serving kedgeree to guests. What if they hate smoked fish (many people do), what about all that dairy (I have several friends that either avoid dairy or don’t like creamy things) and then there are all those evil carbs. That said I still love it and luckily so do my children and my husband.

Whilst traditionally a breakfast or brunch dish we rarely eat kedgeree at that time. I prefer it as a special dinner treat because admittedly it’s not the healthiest dish in the world (all those lovely hard boiled eggs and cream). There are hundreds of variations of this dish but in my version the fish is kept separate and served over the top of the rice. This serves two purposes, firstly, it keeps the flavours fresh and vivid and stops the fish from getting all mushed up, secondly, it avoids arguments as everyone gets a fair portion of the best bits.

My Kedgeree

Serves 2-4 (depending on appetite, for two this is a big portion)

For the rice (make up the amount below but you will only need two thirds of the cooked rice for this recipe. Save the rest for frying up another day – it’s great with an omelette on top. I’ve tried to reduce the quantities but for some reason this method of cooking the rice doesn’t work for such a small amount.)

  • ¼ litre basmati rice
  • ½ litre water
  • ½ Knorr chicken stock pot (or other stock)
  • 3 cardamom pods bruised
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon medium curry powder
  • a little oil, butter or ghee

Frying the rice

  • ½ onion
  • 10 medium closed cup mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic

For the fish

  • 300g smoked haddock
  • 100ml single cream
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • A little black pepper

To garnish

  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • A good handful of chopped coriander
  • A squeeze of ½ a lemon

First, cook the rice. Put a small dollop of butter/ghee or a dash of oil into a small saucepan and put it on a low heat on the hob. Using a measuring jug measure out ¼ litre of rice then pour the into the saucepan, add the curry powder, turmeric and cardamom pods and give it all a good stir.

Boil the kettle and make up the stock using ½ Knorr stock pot (or other stock) and ½ litre of water.

Tip the stock into the saucepan, raise the heat and bring to the boil. Then put on a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down low and cook for 15 minutes. Do not be tempted to open the lid during the cooking.

After 15 minutes fluff up the rice with a fork and leave aside to cool with the lid off (if you leave the lid on the rice will continue to cook and will go stodgy).

For the fish, first skin the fish with a sharp knife and remove any bones. Place in a small saucepan (you may need to cut the fish up if it doesn’t fit easily) and tip in the cream. Sprinkle over the turmeric and bring the cream to the boil. Put on a lid, turn the heat down and cook for about 5 minutes until the fish is just cooked through. With a fork break the fish into large flakes while still in the pan and spoon the creamy sauce over the fish until it is well covered. Replace the lid to keep warm while you fry the rice.

Fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms in a frying pan over a medium heat until the water has come out of the mushrooms and boiled dry. Tip in two thirds of your cooked rice and fry until the rice is heated through. Don’t move it about the pan too often or it will become stodgy. It adds to the flavour if some bits catch slightly and go golden brown. Season well with salt and pepper to your personal taste and then add half the chopped coriander and stir.

To serve put a nice big pile of rice in a bowl, spoon over the fish and cream and garnish with the hard boiled eggs cut into quarters. Sprinkle over the rest of the coriander and squeeze some lemon juice over the top of each bowl.

Note: These days smoked haddock is quite expensive, so for a more economical dish you can use a small piece of hot smoked salmon or even smoked mackerel. Cook the rice in the same way but instead of cooking the fish in cream just flake it up and add it to the rice at the end and stir.


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