I’ve been reading about kedgeree in English novels all my life and decided to try it.

This is regarded as intensely British food, meaning, they got the smoked fish from Scandahoovia and the curry and the basmati rice from India and where else does that kind of crazy happen except in Britain?

Apparently you can mess the spice proportions about quite a bit, as long as the basics remain: smoked fish, curry, rice, and a ton of butter.

I find it definitely comforting: just spicy enough, with wonderful squishy texture and that combination of curry-umami-butter-rice that makes one roll over with one’s paws in the air.

8 Tablespoon butter (yes, I know it’s a lot)
large onion finely chopped
2 cardamom pods, peeled, and the seeds crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
3 Tablespoons mild yellow curry powder (my preference)
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated …OR… 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 lb (16 oz, 550g) smoked white fish, such as haddock

1 cup dry basmati rice
2 cups water or stock

handful of chives, garlic chives, or scallions, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
1/2 lemon or lime, cut into 4 wedges
small bunch cilantro minced

Cook the rice. Keep it hot.

Poach the fish in a little water until it starts to fall apart. With a fork, flake the fish into coarse flakes. Some people remove the skin from the smoked fish. Personally I like it, I think it adds fat and flavor, so I mash it up and add it to the dish.

Melt the butter, saute the onion gently until well-softened, then add all the spices.

Add the rice. Stir thoroughly to coat the rice with all that tasty butter.

Add the fish and stir.

Heat through.

Serve garnished with chopped hard-boiled eggs on top, chives, minced cilantro, and pass lemon or lime wedges to squeeze over the kedgeree.

Personally I skip the eggs and cilantro, but for all I know it’s not real kedgeree without at least the eggs. Any Brits care to opine here?

Other ingredients sometimes used:
fresh grated nutmeg
fresh parsley
ground pepper




BVC Eats COMFORT FOOD: Kedgeree — 3 Comments

  1. Hunh. I had two very different recipes for kedgeree (both of which were very different to yours) and now I can find neither of them. Bah, humbug. I will pause only to observe that me, I am fond of topping either one of them with a poached egg – but then I think almost any rice dish can be improved with a poached egg on top – and return to the search forthwith…

  2. I love it – either the old-school way my mum made it (the smoked cod, rice, boiled eggs, chopped parsley and loads of butter) or the more sophisticated spiced versions. Mind you, I also like the lentil and rice Indian original. Rice is so deeply comforting.

  3. This Brit uses Rick Stein’s recipe, which is pretty close to the way my Mum used to make it. I vote for the boiled eggs, but I am astonished by the amount of butter you use. I’m a bit unclear on US measures, but for what I think are pretty similar quantities of rice and fish my recipe uses 1 oz butter.

    My mum sometimes uses smoked mackerel which doesn’t need pre-cooking, and my non-canonical addition is peas while cooking the rice.