I admit it, I finally got sucked in to Downton Abbey. I now actually care whether Matthew Crawley will ever be able to sire an heir, O’Brian can unburden her conscience, or Bates will get out of jail. I’m only human, and it’s hard-wired into our DNA to care about our fellow creatures… unfortunately, that lot includes overwritten, melodramatic characters as well. In my experience this involuntary response kicks in about the third or fourth episode, so be forewarned in case you’re catching the reruns.
This is a dish that Carson might offer you for breakfast if you were lucky enough to be invited to stay overnight at the Abbey. Mrs. Patmore would have liked it because it uses up yesterday’s leftovers. Kedgeree became popular in Britain in the Victorian era when it was brought back by colonial solders from India. It’s a delicious meal that draws from both Indian and British culinary traditions: rice, smoked fish, eggs, and curry …think of it as comfort food for the British colonial set. We like to eat it for dinner so I make mine hearty.
You don’t need anything fancy to make this dish, so if you’ve never tried it, you really should. The combination of the smoked fish, the curry, and the creamy rice and eggs is really wonderful. It’s traditionally made with smoked haddock, but I used smoked salmon. Any smoked fish will do. Boil the eggs and the rice in advance and you can whip this up while the credits roll.
This is a basic recipe that is easy to make and uses standard ingredients…you can spice it up using coriander pods, saffron, turmeric, and a cinnamon stick if you want to. Some recipes add a little cream at the end, or cooked lentils along with the rice. If it were fresh pea season, I’d definitely throw some in. It’s all good.
Kedgeree ~~~adapted from Jamie Oliver
3 large eggs, boiled and quartered
4 cups cooked basmati (long grain) rice
1/3-1/2 lb smoked fish, I used salmon (buy it in a chunk, not the thin sliced kind)
4 Tbsp butter
1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 fresh hot chili, finely sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 handfuls of fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 cup whole milk yogurt for serving
- Melt the butter in a large pot, and saute the onion, ginger and garlic for about 5 minutes.
- Add the curry powder, fresh chili and mustard seeds and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, spring onions and lemon juice.and heat through.
- Add the rice to the pan and then the fish, breaking it into large flakes as you do. Add in the cilantro, reserving a bit for a garnish. Stir gently to mix everything together and heat through.
- Season with salt and fresh black pepper, and taste it to see if you need more lemon juice; rice dishes need lots of seasoning.
- Top the kedgeree with the egg quarters, garnish with more cilantro and serve the yogurt on the side.
- Like so many dishes, kedgeree will only get better hanging out in the fridge if you want to make it ahead.
Give me a big plate of this and I’ll watch anything… even the Oscars!