Kedgeree

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Kedgeree

Serves: 4
Cost: ~€3.80
Preparation time: ~25 minutes
Calories: ~425 per serving

From English schools and cricket matches to somewhere rather more far-flung. Today’s dish is something that the Brits rather stole from India, although we’ve no doubt modified it no small amount over the years. It’s not common at all anymore – I’ve never personally seen it anywhere except for in my mother’s kitchen, although plenty of recipes do exist. My mother makes it a little differently to me – often without the lemon juice and curry powder – but I think these add valuable different flavours.

So what is kedgeree anyway?

Kedgeree is thought to have originated with an Indian rice-and-bean or rice-and-lentil dish Khichri, traced back to 1340 or earlier. It is widely believed that the dish was brought to the United Kingdom by returning British colonials who had enjoyed it in India and introduced it to the UK as a breakfast dish in Victorian times, part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine.

Indian food has a huge influence on British culture and cuisine. The dish “chicken tikka masala” is often considered as being the national dish of England. While this may be more a claim based on its popularity, rather than it actually being our “national dish”, we have nonetheless absorbed a lot of Indian culture and cuisine, due to the company rule of India during the times of the British Empire.

Kedgeree

Smoked herring, or “kipper” is the most commonly used fish in kedgeree. I wasn’t able to find any of these at all, so I substituted it with smoked mackerel which I’ve always found absolutely delicious, as well as cheap. The dish was traditionally eaten for breakfast but is equally not out of place as part of a lunch or light dinner. Feel free to vary the amount of lemon juice or curry powder inside – some people might find the juice of a whole lemon a little overpowering, while others might relish the bit of sourness it brings. Likewise, some people don’t like the addition of curry to the dish, or prefer to replace butter with cream – it’s really up to you! Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Join me next time for another English dish and in the meantime, have a good remainder of the week! :)

Kedgeree

Video Recipe

Ingredients

 Kedgeree Ingredients

  • ~140g Basmati Rice
  • 200g Smoked Mackerel, skin and bones removed
  • 3 Eggs
  • 4 or 5 large Spring Onions
  • 50g Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • Large handful of Parsley – preferably flat-leaf
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Start off by placing the rice on to boil as per the instructions. While the rice is boiling, place a new pan of water on to boil and put the eggs inside to boil at the same time. Next, take the herring or mackerel – ensure that all bones have been removed and then break into small chunks or flakes.
    Flaking the fish
  2. Next, wash and trim the spring onions, before chopping up finely.
    Chopping the spring onions
  3. Once the rice is done cooking drain it and set aside. Peel the eggs and chop well and then chop the parsley as finely as possible. Melt the butter in a large pan and add in the onions. Fry very lightly for a couple of minutes, stirring well. You want the onions to still retain a bit of their crunch and onion flavour so don’t cook them too long.
    Frying the onion
  4. Mix the buttery onions, the flaked fish, the eggs and the chopped parsley in with the rice. Add in the curry powder and the lemon juice and stir very well to evenly distribute the curry powder.
    Mixing the kedgeree
  5. Season to taste with freshly ground salt and pepper and serve still slightly warm or cold.
    Kedgeree



    Kedgeree

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69 Comments

  1. That is the type of dish where I could eat a bowl full then get up from the table and serve myself another bowl full. It’s so delicious. I’ve seen many recipes for Kedgeree but I would like to try yours – I like the look of the spring onions! xx

    Reply
    • Thanks Charlie – you know, it was amazingly moreish – the lemon really gave it a wonderful “zing” :) I’m a huge fan of spring onions, and you know, now that spring and summer is rolling in I’m really happy that I can use them in abundance again!

      Reply
  2. I love this! I love indian food, and I’m glad the brits do too, so there’s never a shortage of delicious indian (bastardised) recipes hahaha! love tikka masala too, however un-authentic it may be! many versions I’ve seen call for smoked haddock, and I’m so glad you use smoked mackerel instead, because it’s so much cheaper and more sustainable at that. yummy one charles!

    Reply
    • Hi Shuhan – there’s definitely some bastardised recipes which are better than others! In the 70s and 80s people would just add curry powder… plain curry powder to all sorts of things and call it “Indian food”, without understanding the true range of amazing things that there are in Indian cuisine.

      This has a great history though and it’s really delicious… I’ve always loved smoked mackerel. Haddock does have a very different texture, and the colour is wonderful, but for me mackerel is perfect in this as well!

      Reply
  3. Indian food is one of our favourites! We call it Happy Food! What an interesting recipe, Charles, and a great little history lesson, thanks. I’ve never heard of this dish, but I do like the combo of flavours, so it’s something I could like! I’ve only ever had smoked salmon and I love it; I’ll have to try the smoked makerel. I am a bit surprised that the curry isn’t fried a wee bit to take the bitterness out, would that may be a UK influence?

    Reply
    • Happy food?! Awesome :D I love Indian food too… for my birthday we went to my favourite Indian restaurant near my house. I went a little overboard… that was a lot of food that night… phew :D

      I think you’d love smoked mackerel – I think it’s hot smoked, so the texture and flavour, of course, is completely different to the salmon, but it’s a fantastic breakfast – even just on its own with some finely sliced tomato and some black pepper!

      I find the curry powder wasn’t bitter at all… however, the French aren’t known for their love of strong Indian spices. The curry powder I have is called “hot curry”… well, let’s just say I could add many tablespoons to a dish and it wouldn’t even start to be anything more than mild :p You could mix it with the butter certainly though if you’re worried about bitterness?!

      Reply
  4. This looks fantastic… Many times foods are integrated into other countries, and become considered part of their normal cuisine :) This dish looks really yummy… reminds me of one we have called sayaadeeyah, it’s mainly a fish and rice dish with lots of amazing spices… I think I’d really enjoy a good pinch of curry powder… should put this one down on my list of things to try – it’s such an o-so-very growing list, that one!

    Reply
    • Hi Fati – did you ever make any post about sayaadeeyah? It sounds like something I’d really enjoy, because it was a while since I made this and I’d forgotten how awesome it was!

      Reply
      • No I haven’t… I think I should convince mum to let me make it one day… my mum prefers to enjoy the dish when one of our friends make it because she worries it won’t turn out so well with her… but I’ve made it before with my aunty, and it’s just so easy!

        Here’s some food for thought: sayaadeeyah is the colloquial term for “fishermen” or the place that fishermen fish at :) I don’t know, maybe because you get to fish out the fish pieces from the rice? hehehee…

        Reply
        • P.S. these pics are particularly stunning… you get really good day light at this time of year?

  5. Oh this sounds so good! Those spring onions look amazing as well! Nice :)

    Reply
    • Thanks Jen – I’d recommend giving it a try if you like the flavours… you’ll love it!

      Reply
  6. That is such a beautiful recipe. Kedgeree makes me feel happy and nostalgic as I´ve probably only ever made it about half a dozen times, but always for a relaxed brunch with loved ones so I have distinct memories of very special occasions. I also love the way you present your recipes with a printable and video verion. Need to work out how to do that!

    Reply
    • Thanks Chica – it was a long time since I had kedgeree – I was happy to make it again and I’d forgotten how delicious it was. I love that you have such nice, happy memories associated to it. It’s always nice to have good memories over food :) Makes it taste even better I think!

      Reply
  7. It seems I am not the only one who craves Indian food now ;-) I have heard about this dish (maybe in Two Fat Ladies?) but somehow I was sure it was a kind of rice gruel. The reality is so different! It looks absolutely delicious and I totally agree about smoked mackerel. It’s extremely popular in Poland (I must post a dish one day) and I find it often better than smoked salmon everyone gets so crazy about (I like it but only when it’s not too fat, which is difficult to find alas…). Thanks for posting this great recipe!
    I had a pleasure to taste kippers once (they were canned): I bought them in a British shop just outside of the border. I loved them and I loved the fact they seemed quite low-fat and low-calorie too ;-)
    (By the way, I have heard chicken tikka masala was invented in Britain, is it true?).

    Reply
    • Hi Sissi! :D It’s definitely far from a sloppy rice gruel. People make it very differently – some people make it quite moist and add cream. I’m much more of a “fresh flavours” fan, hence the lemon juice!

      Smoked mackerel are dangerous around me – even with these… when I was breaking them up into pieces, I kept breaking off large pieces which mysteriously found their way into my mouth… oops :D I could never do this with smoked salmon though – it’s just that mackerel is so delicious – especially the ones they sell in stores which are completely covered in cracked black pepper! :D

      I’d love to see your mackerel dish one day – I know I’d love it if it’s got this tasty fish inside!

      As for tikka masala… haha, apparently it’s the most popular dish in British restaurants, lol :D No-one is quite sure where it was invented it seems… some think it was a guy in India… other people think it was invented by a chef in a restaurant in Glasgow, and even others think it was created near Newcastle :D

      Reply
  8. Love this dish Charles. It reminds me of when I returned from London kvetching about British food – sorry – my husband joked that I should have stuck to Indian cuisine since that’s what the British now excel at! Maybe explaining the success and popularity of chicken tikka masala… how cool. I’m glad you kept the curry and lemon in your version…mmmm… such delightful flavours. Your dish looks so vibrant and fresh Charles, really great.

    p.s. when I saw the title “kedgeree” I thought for sure it originated from Ireland… :) Is it just me, doesn’t it sound Irish?

    Reply
    • Haha, we have a street in my parents home town which is like “restaurant street”… it’s pretty much wall to wall Indian restaurants… the brits sure love their curries :D

      It’s not as nice at all withouth the lemon juice and curry powder I think, so I’d definitely recommend keeping that if you try it!

      As for the name … Irish? Well… I guess it sounds a little Irish, now that you mention it :D

      Reply
      • It reminds me of Kilkenny – and anything that starts with a K smacks of Irish to me! ;-)

        Reply
  9. That looks absolutly amazing, totaly my type of food. I am a fan of mackrels and smoked thats even better. I know what I am cooking 2morrow. thanks charles!

    Reply
    • Thanks Helene! Don’t forget the lemon juice – it gives it a wonderful zing :)

      Reply
      • A very generous squirt of lemon juice is my secret to a great tuna salad sandwich. In fact, it’s great on or in most seafood/fish dishes as it seems to brighten up the flavour giving it a fresh briny/just out of the sea taste.

        Reply
  10. I’ve started to eat and cook a lot more Indian food…I just love the flavors. I used to be under the impression that the cuisine was too complicated to cook, so I just avoided it completely. But then I would miss out on incredible dishes such as this! Wouldn’t want that, now would we? ;)

    Reply
    • Hi Caroline – I still find that some of the dishes and spice combos can seem rather complex. I want to start getting into Indian food myself more at home. There’s some wonderful blogs out there which really give some good guides on cooking it at home! :)

      Reply
  11. Mhmm this looks delicious! I love how the curry powder really changes the colour of the rice to this pale, golden yellow. Gorgeous!

    Reply
    • Thansk Kyleen – yeah, it really changes from a boring anaemic colour to a really exciting gold! Do let me know if you ever try it! :)

      Reply
  12. Have to say we are huge fans of Kedgeree-makes a fantastic Saturday brunch. We use smoked haddock, lots of curry powder and slice slightly soft hard boiled eggs on top so the warm yolk can ooze onto the delicious mix below. Thanks so much for the post Charles-I hope it encourages the fame of this super dish!

    Reply
    • Aw, damn – that sounds great, the soft boiled eggs!!! My wife can’t eat soft-boiled eggs right now, but as soon as she can I know just what I’ll be making… thanks for the tip – sounds absolutely amazing! :D

      Reply
  13. I bet this dish is great without the fish. Not sure if I can get my kids to eat it w/ the fish. I love cumin and rice together especially with some butter! Looks fantastic!

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa – I think I’d find it a little dull without the fish, although if you replaced the fish with something else it could work fine. To be honest, even when I was quite young, I remember absolutely LOVING smoked mackerel, so you never know – you might be surprised!

      Reply
  14. Another Anglo-Indian dish I’ve read about in books and only seen on Jamie Oliver’s cooking show. :) I’m not fond of mackerel though and have only ever tasted it in sushi where it was overpoweringly fishy tasting so I’d have to taste test a herring version before I could commit to making it.

    Reply
    • Ah, it is indeed quite “fishy”, though I never had it in sushi before. They use salmon and tuna here of course, but also bream, of all things. I’ve never seen it with mackerel though. Not sure if smoked mackerel is stronger or “weaker” than raw (I guess it was raw in the sushi you had, right?) but it’s really delicious I find… too bad you’re not a fan. Kippers are also nice though!

      Reply
      • Yes, the saba (mackerel) was raw. It was part of a nigiri platter, actually a ‘small boat’ presentation which is serving tray shaped into a boat and holding 70-100 pieces of sushi.

        Reply
        • 70-100?

          You must *really* love sushi :D

  15. I would definitely LOVE to make this rice dish. I love the spices in this rice.. even though curry is not my favorite.. I like it in this. And I loved the video :)

    Reply
    • Haha, thanks Kay – the curry isn’t overpowering in the dish. The lemon breaks it up nicely so you get a very nice blend of flavours!

      Reply
  16. Charles said:
    70-100?
    You must *really* love sushi

    My nephew and I did put away a small boat (70 pieces) by ourselves but, like athletes, we trained for it. :) We had to take some of the medium boat home and finished it that evening.

    Reply
    • lol, 10-12 pieces each is usually enough for my wife and I :D

      Reply
      • But you have to remember that in my AYCE sushi posts, I eat EVERYTHING that you see posted by myself. I’m usually comfortably full … though a couple of times I even exceeded MY capacity. :)

        Reply
  17. I could eat a few bowls of those — thank goodness I grew up enjoying mackerel ;)

    Reply
    • Hehe, thanks Kiran – it’s a wonderful meal :)

      Reply
  18. Interesting that this was originally eaten at breakfast. There is an Indonisian rice dish for breakfast that is made with chichen, rice and onions (burbur ayam)– it seems to be a similar idea. Thanks for sharing this Charles, as it was so interesting to learn about this dish.

    Reply
    • Thanks Barb – thanks for letting me know about the Indonesian dish, sounds really nice too, will have to check it out :)

      Reply
  19. Haha! I’ve heard that too, about Chicken Tikka Masala being the national dish of England. And also the best Indian food is to be found in England! And the best Chinese food in New York! Good grief.
    This looks so refreshing with the lovely fresh colors. I really should get more fish into my diet. I’m glad you’ve used mackerel as I doubt it’ll be too easy to get herring here. Salmon would be a little too rich, I feel. Thanks for a great lunch idea, Charles.

    Reply
    • Hi Ping, I’d never heard about the best Chinese food coming from New York – haha. I find the Chinese food they serve in the UK and France is really modified a lot to local tastes… they even have “salt and pepper frogs legs” in French restaurants here :D I’ve been to China though and the food is completely different there. I wonder why it’s so different over here?!

      Reply
  20. Hi Charles! What a lovely dish – that reminds me of spring colors! I heard from my husband who’s been to UK told me there are lots of great Indian food there. It’s interesting how Indian food became part of British food. I love the smoked mackerel used in this dish. I’m really surprised how easily we can make this! Looks very delicious. I used curry powder for dinner today – I should have made this dish. ;-)

    Reply
    • Thanks Nami – there is some fantastic Indian food in England… I hope you have the chance to try it one day :)

      Reply
  21. First of all…fabulous picture with the fork. I had to go back and look at it again. Yum!!!! This sounds like a pretty good dish. I’ve never heard of it before, but think it might be a good one for us to try. And I’m all for using the whole lemon! The kids would be too (they actually like to suck on lemons as though they were oranges!). I don’t know that I’ve ever tried mackerel – what does it taste like? Have a great week Charles! Hope all is well. :)

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Kristy – do let me know if you give it a try. My wife’s always loved sucking on lemons… I couldn’t do it myself – much too sour :D

      As for mackerel? What does it taste like? Wow, that’s a tough question :D – I’d like to say “fish”, but that doesn’t tell you much. It’s quite a strong-flavoured fish, and very oily, but I really love it a lot – fresh I find it ok, but smoked is really the way to go. Just delicious! You can often find it vacuum packed in stores, so maybe you can see it there :)

      Reply
  22. It is funny that I have heard of kedgeree but had know idea what it was or that it origins were from India. That is what makes your blog so interesting, Charles.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your kind comment Karen – did you try it before? You should… especially since you just tried something else you haven’t had before, the shepherd’s pie!

      Reply
  23. Charles, you’ve taken a dish that has never appealed to me in the slightest (though I’ve always thought I *should* give it a try but not had the opportunity) and convinced me I must make it! And I’ll use the full dose of lemon juice prescribed. Sounds marvelous!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Jean – it can look pretty unappetising in some versions – I’m so glad I could make it enticing for you! Do let me know if/when you give it a try :)

      Reply
  24. This is my kind of meal! Not only does it look really, really easy, it looks absolutely delicious! I love smoked fish with pasta so the rice I’m sure is just as good. I certainly don’t have a problem with curry so bring it on! What a great dish! Thanks for the story and for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thanks MJ – the lemon flavour is a fantastic thing first thing in the morning, and it’s a really satisfying dish too – do let me know if you have a chance to try it :)

      Reply
  25. I love this idea of cooking everything together into a one-stop meal. Looks delicious Charles, thanks for sharing!! Have a great week!

    Reply
    • Thanks Yudith – I enjoyed it so much I’ve got a yearning to eat it again now, lol :D Have a great week too!

      Reply
  26. I love all the colors and flavours at play here. The pictures are mouth watering too.
    I don’t see this as a breakfast dish though, it sounds like a refreshing dinner that I will try soon if I can find the fish.Thank you for sharing a great recipe Charles.

    Reply
    • Thanks Sawsan – I think I wouldn’t want to eat it immediately first thing in the morning – it makes an excellent brunch though – I hope you’re able to find the fish :)

      Reply
  27. I so like rice dishes, can eat so much of it. Thought I cook chicken and rice most of the time, but the recipe with fish is definitely something to try. Need to find the right smoked fish for it though, it’s not that easy.

    Reply
    • Hi Marianna – I think this fish should be easy to find in Ireland – I found it a lot in England – usually it’s in chiller cabinets, and it’s in vacuum-packaging… let me know if you give it a try :)

      Reply
  28. Cricket and curry!
    Back to college in England (Bournemouth)!
    The interesting thing is that Japan is as crazy about curry although it is vastly different, what with the lot of “soup”!
    This rendition of curry is called “dy curry” in Japan for the lack of “soup”.
    Beautiful!
    I’m sure I can convince the Missus, alhough it might be a better idea if I tried my hand at it mysel!
    Thank you so much, Charles!
    Robert-Gilles

    Reply
    • Hi RG – I love Japanese style curries… what’s even more fun is the packets of “Golden Curry”, the big cubes of meltable curry base which reminds me a lot of chocolate, but perish the thought of putting a cube of that in my mouth :D

      I hope you can give this a try… it’s been a while since I had this and it was a wonderful dish to try again after some years :)

      Reply
      • I’m thinking of doing something along the line for the Missus who workson Sundays!
        Cheers,
        R-G.

        Reply
  29. I’ve seen so many new things on your blog. This is one of them. Looks awesome. And it’s an excuse for me to buy some smoked fish. OR smoke some myself.

    Reply
    • Thanks Greg – definitely break out the smoker yourself – I hope you get a chance to try it – it’s really good! :)

      Reply

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  1. With a Glass - [...] about two weeks ago Charles (Five Euro Food) posted the famous Kedgeree recipe, using smoked mackerel, I was very …