Friday, April 17, 2009

true fusion: kedgeree

A few years ago some Brits made me a interesting dinner that I'd never had before: Kedgeree. It was my kind of food. Rice and stuff, all mixed up in a vat. You know how I love vat food. But this had an interesting flavor and a curious heritage. Clearly it is a fusion of Indian and British flavors, but it's primary origin seems to be under question. Some say it comes from Scotland and was taken to India by troops during the British Raj, where it adopted it's Indian flavors. Others say it originated in India and was brought back to the UK by British soldiers where lentils were swapped out for fish and it transformed into a breakfast dish. Chicken and the egg I guess.

So nowadays, Kedgeree is all about smoked fish. Usually haddock, but I went with this gorgeous smoked trout. Because it's gorgeous.

Another important component of kedgeree is hard boiled egg. The first time I had it, it was chopped up and mixed in with that vat-food style I so love. But I guess many people just halve or quarter the eggs, and I guess it looks a little nicer that way. Otherwise this dish just looked like a pile of rice. I also used brown basmati rice instead of white because it's what I had. This did take quite a bit longer to cook as a result, but the nutty flavor of the rice was really fantastic. And finally, I threw in about a cup of freshly shelled peas because it needed something green, and I figured peas are pretty British. Recipe after the jump:


2 tbsp ghee
1 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 cup vegetable or chicken stock, or water
salt and pepper, to taste
6-8 ounces smoked trout
1 cup fresh shelled peas (or frozen)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 eggs

In a medium pan, heat the ghee on medium heat until ripply. Add the onion and sweat for about 5 minutes. Add the rice, curry powder, and paprika and saute until the rice is coated with oil. Add the stock or water, bring to a strong boil, then lower to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 35-40 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

While the rice is cooking, place the eggs in a small pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn off the heat, and allow to sit undisturbed for 7 minutes. Remove the eggs to a bowl of cold water and peel immediately. Set the eggs aside until the rice is done.

When the rice has about 5 minutes left to cook, stir in the peas. Once the rice is fully cooked, flake the smoked trout and stir into the rice to heat through. Add the parsley. Serve with the eggs quartered, or chop the eggs and mix in.

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