This is a delicious British-meets-Indian-meets-Dutch-Foodie mish-mash.
Kedgeree is a British breakfast dish hailing from Indian colonial times. It is derived from the Indian Khichdi, khichedi or Khichri, an ancient porridge-style dish of curried rice and lentils, to this day often served when only something homely and comforting will do, especially when someone is poorly (like the Jewish penicillin of chicken soup).
The Brits added the hard-boiled eggs and smoked fish (easier to preserve in a hot climate in the days before fridges and freezers). Eventually the lentils disappeared.
I reintroduce the lentils in my version, as I find the combined texture of rice and lentils intensely satisfying. I’m also upping the nutritional content by using GABA rice (germinated brown rice) and cauliflower rice. If you want to know more about the wondeful GABA rice, have a look at my Vietnamese post.
It’s the original wet-porridge texture that defined this as a breakfast dish to the Brits in the days of the Raj. Kedgeree tends to be served on the dryer side these days though. And as I can’t face smoked fish for breakfast, unless it’s served nearing lunchtime in the form of indulgent smoked salmon in an Eggs Benedict or alongside creamy scrambled eggs, I prefer this for lunch or supper.
Traditionally this dish is made with smoked haddock poached in milk. But you can ring the changes with smoked mackerel or go off-piste with chunks of hot smoked salmon or trout stirred through at the end.
Dear Purists, please remain calm. I did warn you this is a mish-mash Dutch-Foodie-style.
How much you spice it up, is entirely down to personal taste and will likely depend on what time of day you’re serving this. I doubt you’ll opt for the full whack of chilli if you’re serving it for breakfast.
Then again, I suspect that would make for a great hangover cure or at least a memorable wake-up call!
Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree, Beetroot Marbled Eggs, Curried Cauliflower rice, GABA Rice and Lentils (serves 3–4 GF RSF)
This is a great recipe to use up leftover cooked rice or lentils. Or use a ready-cooked pouch of each from Merchant Gourmet or similar as a cheat’s version.
You can play around with the ratio of rice to lentils to cauli to suit you, leave one of them out, or go just rice or just cauli or just a lentil mixture.
Feel free to vary this with any vegetables you may have in the fridge that need using up too. We’ve already upset the purists by now, so we’re past caring what anyone thinks, right?
Just as well, as the eggs are coloured with beetroot juice for dramatic effect and to add another layer of flavor. Don’t worry, it’s an option. You can use simply boiled eggs without taking anything away from the dish.
Easily made vegetarian by omitting the mackerel. It still has lots of flavour and texture and goodness without it.
150 gr long grain rice (I used GABA rice)
150 gr lentils (pre-soaked if needed. Anything goes except red spit lentils, as they turn to mush in something like this. I used organic whole moong beans)
Vegetable stock to cook the lentils and rice instead of water (I used Marigold bouillon powder)
180 gr smoked mackerel, skin removed, roughly torn into bite sized flakes
Enough milk to cover the fish (if not enough liquid remaining after cooking the lentils)
½ cauliflower (about 400 gr), florets pulsed in a food processor until rice-like but still textured. Else grate coarsely.
3-4 hard-boiled (duck) eggs
Enough beetroot juice to cover the eggs (optional – I used left over beetroot from my Scandinavian starter)
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 red or green chilli, finely chopped, seeds in or out to taste (optional)
1 good thumb of ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp curry powder (a medium one works best here, any heat should come from the fresh chilli if using)
¼ tsp turmeric
1 cinnamon stick or a piece of cassia bark
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek (optional)
¼ tsp asafoetida (optional)
A few curry leaves or bay leaves
A good handful of peas, preferably petit pois (frozen is fine)
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
A small handful of fresh parsley and coriander, finely chopped plus a little for garnish
Juice of ½ a lemon and a few wedges for garnish
A few spring onions, finely sliced
Optional: Gently crack the shells of the hard- boiled eggs all over, but don’t peel them. Submerge the eggs in beetroot juice for 2-3 hours. You can keep them there for up to 24 hours, but the colour will penetrate much deeper and evenly by then. Drain, peel, halve and set aside.
Else just peel and halve the eggs and set aside.
Sod’s law would have it mine did not peel nicely this time. Never mind.
Heat the oven to 200 C
Cook the rice and lentils as per packet instructions in vegetable stock with a couple of curry leaves or bay leaves and ¼ tsp turmeric. Cook them together if the cooking times match, else in separate pans.
Drain off any liquid remaining and reserve. Set rice, lentils and liquid aside.
Spread the cauliflower rice over an oven tray and bake for 8 mins, stirring half way through. This adds a nutty flavor, but keeps texture, as the cauliflower rice will have a second cooking stage in the final dish. For future reference, if you want it fully cooked for another dish, roast for 12 mins.
Alternatively, cover with cling film and blast in the microwave on medium-high for 2 mins.
Heat the ghee or coconut oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium-high heat and add the spices (I use a wok for this as it makes for easy stirring). Stir and cook for a minute or so. Turn the heat down to medium, add the onion and cook for 3-5 mins or until the onion is translucent. Add the chilli, ginger and carrot, stir and cook for another 3-5 mins.
Meanwhile gently heat the mackerel in the liquid you saved from the lentils, or else in enough milk to cover. Drain, reserving the liquid.
Add the rice, lentils, tomatoes and peas to the onion and spices. Stir and cook for a minute on medium-low. Add the cauliflower, the flaked fish and a little of the reserved cooking liquid if needed to ensure the kedgeree is not too dry. Stir gently so as not to break up the fish or cauliflower and cook for a couple of minutes on low.
Gently stir through the spring onions and fresh herbs, saving a few herbs for serving. Turn off the heat.
Put the halved eggs on top and cover to heat up for a minute or so while you get your plates ready and set the table.
Serve with lemon wedges and a scattering of fresh herbs.