I can remember my grandmother making Kedgeree from left over smoked haddock, crisp cayenne-pepper cheese biscuits and Mulligatawny soup thickened with cream and grated coconut. My father did the same, in those days before coconut cream was imported, filling our big country kitchen and my childhood with smells of exotic spices and dreams of far away lands. They were the first real fusion food, these Anglo-Indian dishes, a name given to recipes from India that were adapted and evolved by the resident British in the days known as the ‘Raj’ and to English dishes heated up with exotic Indian spices. Some recipes became everyday foods in England and as part of the British Empire, by default, they made it to Australia. Check out our recipe for Mulligatawny Soup here. We hope you enjoy these fusions as much as we do.

Also known as kitcherie, kitchari, kidgeree, kedgaree, or kitchiri. In 1324, the year Marco Polo died, a young Moroccan called Ibn Batuta set out on a journey to Mecca, but unlike other scholars of his day and much like Forest Gump, he just kept on walking. In his lifetime he exceeded Polo’s travels three fold and remains histories most widely travelled man before mechanization, having walked more than 120,000km. It is probably from Ibn that Persian and Asian cooks first heard of the wonderfully fragrant dish of spiced fish and boiled rice that we know today as kedgeree. But his recipe remained lost in time for nearly 600 years. The Scotts seemed to have either invented or heard of an early version of it by 1790, but it wasn’t to become widely known until the late 1800’s, when an English Colonel, H.S. Jarrett, working as a translator for the Bengal Asiatic Society in Calcutta, stumbled upon it in an old Persian text from 1590. Written by a vizier to the Persian Emperor, it recorded a popular breakfast recipe for Ibn’s Khichi, a lightly spiced fish dish with rice.  It was Eliza Acton’s recipe from her book Modern Cookery in 1845 which seems to have added  the eggs and mango chutney.

Kedgeree Recipe
2 cups of good quality basmati rice
4 cardamom pods, bruised open
2 cups frozen baby peas
6 free range eggs
your favourite fresh fish, eg, atlantic salmon, ocean trout, swordfish, tuna or any smoked fish (I’ve used Sirena tuna in the pictures because after 5 inches of rain in 3 days I decided to raid the pantry instead of venturing out in the hail and rain to get fresh fish!)
chopped spring onions, parsley, coriander
2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp medium curry paste
3 tbsp cream or crème fraiche
*Sultanas are optional, as are almond slivers, mustard, mango-chutney, a sprinkling of cayenne pepper or smoky paprika. A good quality canned salmon or tuna can also be used when fresh fish is unavailable.

This will serve 6 people so halve the recipe if there are only 2 of you and have left overs for breakfast, like the ancient Persians, or for lunch the next day.

Cook the rice as you normally would, adding cardamom pods for flavour and the frozen baby peas. Hard or medium boil your eggs. Gently fry the fish in butter and oil or poach until just cooked and separate into flakes. Saute onion and curry paste (+ sultanas/nuts if using) in butter, add cream & fresh herbs, then the cooked rice & peas, removing the cardamom pods. Gently mix in the fish flakes and heat till hot again. Season with pepper and a good finishing salt. Garnish with quartered eggs, a lemon/lime cheek and fresh herbs. Good hot, warm or cold.

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Have you tried this recipe? We would love to hear your comments below…


2 Responses to Hot Food for Cold Days: The Indian Raj: Kedgeree

  1. I’ve always loved the idea of kedgeree – it makes complete sense to me – but never tried making it at home. Your version looks delicious. btw how lovely are your photos?

  2. Thanks Christina! Yes it is quite an easy dish to make, beautiful with a nice piece of fresh trout too.

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