In my last post I spoke of the nostalgia and transformative nature of foods. This is a dish that takes me back in time to my childhood. I believe it was step mother’s mother, Onc, as I knew her, who exposed me to the delights of kedgeree. Put simply it is a rice, fish and egg hash. Wait! Before you close your browser window in revulsion, let me explain. Kedgeree’s history is a bit blurred, but it is supposedly a dish that came about as a result of British Colonialism in India; think of it as old school fusion cooking. It’s a delightful dish of curried rice, smoked fish, vegetables and hard boiled egg. Sounds strange, but it is a fantastic combination.
Not only is kedgeree delicious and nutritionally sound, it’s very easy to make and can be interpreted and re-interpreted as many ways as you can imagine.
Here’s what I did this time:
1 1/2 cups of basmati rice
2 tablespoons of madras curry powder (or your own custom blend of Indian spices)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 cups of water (you could use chicken or vegetable stock too)
Add all components to a saucepan, bring to a boil, stir, cover and turn down to minimum heat. The rice will be done in 20 minutes. No peeking! No stirring!
Hard boil 6 eggs (cook uncovered, at a boil for 10 mins, allow eggs to continue to cook as the water cools, once cool enough to handle, peel and chop)
Chop1 cup of roasted cashews. Set aside.
Prepare your fish:
Kedgeree is great with almost any kind of smoked fish. Smoked cod is superb but pricey. I usually buy “smoked salmon tips” which are basically just the odd shaped end bits from a large fillet of salmon. They are inexpensive, not at all ‘sub-par’ and easy to work with because they are generally 100% boneless. When I say “smoked” I mean hot smoked (cooked) fish, not delicate paper thin smoked salmon lox. Their flavour would be far too mild to stand up to the curried rice. I would also avoid strong tasting fish like smoked mackerel and I certainly wouldn’t use canned fish. You want the kedgeree to remain somewhat dry with the fish pieces visible and not mashed into the rice.
Basically, all you need to do to the fish is peel off any skin, check for bones and flake the fish into bite sized pieces and set it aside.
The vegetable component is simple: use whatever you have on hand. Cauliflower is especially nice as are peas and carrots. Asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, onion, anything you like. Just chop up as little or as much as you want. For 1 1/2 cups of rice I would use about 6 cups of vegetables.
Once your rice is cooked, cook your vegetables. Steam your vegetables until they are just cooked but still crisp.
Combine the hot rice, vegetables, cashews, chopped egg and fish on a serving platter, tossing to combine.
Add a hand full of chopped parsley and a handful of capers for garnish.