Kedgeree

Like a collection of gaudy heirlooms and brik-a-brak from a by-gone era, I have a hidden stash of yellowed and food speckled scraps of paper with recipes scrawled on them. Many of the recipes are tied to specific memories from my formative years, and though the aromas and flavors have long faded from my leaky memory, I still can’t quite bring myself to toss them out.

This Kedgeree recipe is an exception in that I’m frantically rummaging through the bookshelf at least once a year to find it. I’ve memorized the recipe and all my alterations to it, but there’s something unique about this photo-copied Australian magazine clipping that gives it a special place in my heart.

Its warm yellow and brown patina, imbued by over a decade of ketchup, curry, and oil, is a reminder of the first time I laid a fork into this beautiful pile of smoked fish and pillowy spiced rice. My heart beats a little faster when I hear the name “Kedgeree”, and the recipe contained on this tattered piece of paper left an indelible mark on my taste memory. I guess you could say it was one of my first true loves.

Like its older sibling Chicken Tikka Masala and its Portuguese cousin, Lamb Vindaloo, Kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian love child, one of the few good things that came out of over two centuries of colonialism in India. Despite its common ancestry with the better known curry house staples, this one dish wonder seems to be largely unknown outside of the UK and Australia.

A hodgepodge of my favourite ingredients, Kedgeree is the zenith of what a good dish should be. It balances all five of the basic tastes, it’s light yet deeply satisfying, and it has enough personality to leave a lasting impression. It’s the kind of dish that has you going back for “one more bite” until suddenly you realize that you’re pregger’s with a food baby.

Perhaps its most beguiling quality is the leeway it gives you to improvise, using spices and smoked seafood that suits your palette and budget. Since I was making this batch for a Gujarati friend, I gave it the full spread of spices, but you would do just as well with curry powder, or perhaps an entirely different blend of spices from another region of the world.

What really set this particular Kedgeree apart though was an AMAZING side of smoked Bluefish from Acme Smoked Fish, one the last family run smoke houses in Brooklyn. The fish was melt-in your mouth tender, with just enough oil to keep things moist, but not enough to be greasy. The flavour tasted like they took a bowl of concentrated dashi, turned it back into a fish and then smoked it. One of these days, I’m going to have to grab my camera and take a field trip over the river to see just how they perform this small miracle.

Kedgeree

1 1/2 C basmati rice
3 C water

1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
3 cloves garlic minced
1″ knob of ginger grated
1 medium onion minced
1 serrano chili minced (leave the seeds in if you want it spicier)
1 Tbs garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
3 Tbs ketchup
1/2 C chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbs cream
14 oz hot-smoked fish (like salmon, trout or bluefish)
3 soft boiled eggs peeled and chopped
minced cilantro and pomegranate seeds for garnish
lemon wedges for serving

Put the rice in a seive and wash with cold water. Add the water and rice into a heavy bottomed pot, cover, then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until there is no water left (15-20 minutes). Turn the heat off and let the rice steam for an additional 10 minutes.

Heat a large chef’s pan, until very hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the mustard seed and cumin and fry until they start making a popping noise. Add the garlic and ginger and fry until fragrant. Add the onions, chili, garam masala and turmeric. Fry until the onions are soft and your kitchen is redolent with Indian spices.

Add the ketchup and stock and boil until the mixture is thick and gluggy. Turn down the heat, then add the cream and smoked fish, breaking up the fish as you add it. Add the cooked rice and most of the chopped egg and stir it all together. Taste and add salt if needed.

To serve, just spoon the kedgeree onto a plate and top with the remaining chopped egg as well as the minced cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Serve with a bowl of lemon wedges.

  • http://trissalicious.com/ Trissa

    That looks so comforting! I love the addition of pomegranate – the seeds just pop out – they look like jewels

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    That looks so comforting! I love the addition of pomegranate – the seeds just pop out – they look like jewels

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    “you’re pregger’s with a food baby…” LOL! That’s so Aussie! Kedgeree is def a classic..the pomegranates are a cool touch.

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    “you’re pregger’s with a food baby…” LOL! That’s so Aussie! Kedgeree is def a classic..the pomegranates are a cool touch.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Well, happy Australia Day to you! :) The best part about posting about this dish (which looks and sounds awesome, by the way) is that you no longer have to scrounge through your collection looking for the recipe :)

    • marc

      I could, but I think I’ll still go back to the worn piece of paper for sentimental reasons;-)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Well, happy Australia Day to you! :) The best part about posting about this dish (which looks and sounds awesome, by the way) is that you no longer have to scrounge through your collection looking for the recipe :)

    • marc

      I could, but I think I’ll still go back to the worn piece of paper for sentimental reasons;-)

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Nom nom nom! Love the addition of the soft boiled egg :) an extra oomph of comfort!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com Melody Fury

    Nom nom nom! Love the addition of the soft boiled egg :) an extra oomph of comfort!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    Marc- I had the opportunity to get a hold of some fresh bluefish and smoked it, making a fish pie once… I love this recipe, and the colors are superb in the photo!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    Marc- I had the opportunity to get a hold of some fresh bluefish and smoked it, making a fish pie once… I love this recipe, and the colors are superb in the photo!

  • http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/ Tiny Urban Kitchen

    Man, you New Yorkers get access to the best food, I swear. Now I’ll be hunting down that smoked fish the next time I’m there.

  • http://www.tinyurbankitchen.com/ Tiny Urban Kitchen

    Man, you New Yorkers get access to the best food, I swear. Now I’ll be hunting down that smoked fish the next time I’m there.

  • http://www.lafujimama.com/ Fuji Mama

    Ok, that smoked fish sounds absolutely incredible! Love kedgeree and cannot wait to try out this recipe. My fave part though about this post? “It’s the kind of dish that has you going back for ‘one more bite’ until suddenly you realize that you’re pregger’s with a food baby”–That has to be one of the best lines ever written in a blog post EVER.

  • http://www.lafujimama.com Fuji Mama

    Ok, that smoked fish sounds absolutely incredible! Love kedgeree and cannot wait to try out this recipe. My fave part though about this post? “It’s the kind of dish that has you going back for ‘one more bite’ until suddenly you realize that you’re pregger’s with a food baby”–That has to be one of the best lines ever written in a blog post EVER.

  • http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/ ravenouscouple

    the flavors of this dish sounds really complex and delicious!

  • http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com ravenouscouple

    the flavors of this dish sounds really complex and delicious!

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com/ Syrie

    I too adore Kedgeree. I have my own favourite recipe but I’m very interested to try yours. The bluefish sounds divine. I hope you do get a chance to head over to the smokehouse to find out more. I look forward to hearing about it.

  • http://allthingsnice.typepad.com Syrie

    I too adore Kedgeree. I have my own favourite recipe but I’m very interested to try yours. The bluefish sounds divine. I hope you do get a chance to head over to the smokehouse to find out more. I look forward to hearing about it.

  • http://www.shesimmers.com/ Leela@SheSimmers

    The colors are amazing! (Anglo-Indian love child, eh? LOL) Interesting that this was, and probably still is, a traditional breakfast dish in the colonial period. The idea of eating fish at breakfast isn’t foreign to an Asian like me, but am thinking many people don’t think this would be a breakfast item.

    Okay, I’m rambling. The point is, this looks beautiful and delicious and I’d have it any time of day.

  • http://www.shesimmers.com Leela@SheSimmers

    The colors are amazing! (Anglo-Indian love child, eh? LOL) Interesting that this was, and probably still is, a traditional breakfast dish in the colonial period. The idea of eating fish at breakfast isn’t foreign to an Asian like me, but am thinking many people don’t think this would be a breakfast item.

    Okay, I’m rambling. The point is, this looks beautiful and delicious and I’d have it any time of day.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Fig and Cherry

    Which Australia Magazine? I love finding old recipes too, esp. if they are food splattered!

    I hope you get to try some kangaroo soon, it’s really yummy!

    Oh, and I love the first shot, those pomegranates really pop :)

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Fig and Cherry

    Which Australia Magazine? I love finding old recipes too, esp. if they are food splattered!

    I hope you get to try some kangaroo soon, it’s really yummy!

    Oh, and I love the first shot, those pomegranates really pop :)

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com/ Claudia

    I posted a Celtic (sort of) version with potatoes, awhile back, but yours is much more attractive.

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com Claudia

    I posted a Celtic (sort of) version with potatoes, awhile back, but yours is much more attractive.

  • norecipes

    Thanks! I know what you mean about being asian and eating fish for breakfast, but I'd take a savoury breakfast over a sweet one any day.

  • http://twitter.com/Joyzhang516 Joy Zhang

    Marc what a beautiful and colorful dish! I've never had Kedgeree but this looks fantastic, the addition of the beautiful pomegranate seeds really kicks this dish up a notch. Beauuuuutiful as always :)

  • http://sarahsundefined.blogspot.com/ sarah

    i coincidently had all these ingrdients in my kitchen the other night when wondering what to cook, even fresh turmeric + some home cured trout [i think hot smoked fish would be better for next time!]. it was so quick + so satisfying, + reminded me of home on a freezing berlin evening. preggers with a food baby! how aussie is that? i love it! thanks for the inspiration yet again.

  • http://kopiaste.org/ Ivy

    Never heard of Kedgeree before but love this colourful dish and it sounds wonderful.

  • Lemonpi

    That smoked fish sounds amazing. Kedegree looks pretty darn good too :)

  • ketapretorius

    This is a traditional South African recipe! Here we use smoked haddock which is found in all the supermarkets. We add peas instead of pomegranate, which gives amazing colour to the dish. A real winner!

  • http://www.rowdychowgirl.wordpress.com/ The Rowdy Chowgirl

    I've wondered what Kedgeree was since I read an English novel in which the characters were having it for dinner…looks delicious and I think I'll have to give it a try!

  • Soos

    Please tell us what the glop of white and green sauce is in the last photo? Mahalo.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a mint raita. I don’t have a recipe but basically plain yogurt, black
      mustard seeds, cumin, salt, garlic and minced mint.

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  • Galactapug

    This recipe is amazing. I used curry powder from Penzy’s instead of tumeric and garam masala. I’m sure with actual garam masala it would be slightly different but just as good. A true treasure.

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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