If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you might have heard Lord Grantham and Mrs. Potmore mention kedgeree. There are at least two theories as to the origin of this British breakfast / brunch dish.
One school of thought says kedgeree originated in India and was brought back to England by returning Brits. The other school of thought says that the recipe for a smoked fish and rice dish comes from Scotland, brought by Scottish soldiers to India where it intermarried with curry.
Whichever the real origin of the dish is, two ingredients are essential: fish and curry rice. Since I couldn’t get the traditional smoked haddock, I improvised.
I spread rock salt on salmon fillets, let the fish soak the salt in the fridge overnight and, the next day, I rinsed the fillets to remove excess salt on the surface. The salted salmon fillets were poached in milk the way smoked haddock is cooked when making kedgeree.
The curry rice was cooked the traditional way. Chopped onion, garlic, ginger, ground coriander and curry powder were sauteed in butter until the mixture was browned and the aroma was nutty.
Long grain rice was stirred in, water and a little salt were added. The pan was covered tightly and the rice was left to cook until the grains had absorbed all the liquid.
When the rice was done, the salted salmon, quartered hard boiled eggs, parsley and cilantro were tossed in. A drizzle of lemon juice before serving is optional but it does make the flavors come together beautifully.
- 200 grams salmon fillet
- 2 tablespoons rock salt
- ½ cup full-fat milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 white or yellow onion peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ¼-inch slice ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ cup Basmatic rice or other long-grain rice
- 3 hard-boiled eggs quartered
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ½ lemon
Salt the salmon
- Rinse the salmon fillet and wipe dry with paper towels.
- Place the salmon in a shallow bowl, dump in the salt and rub into the fish flesh.
- Cover the bowl and allow the salmon to marinate in the fridge overnight.
Cook the curry rice
- Melt the butter in a pan.
- Saute the onion, garlic and ginger with the curry powder until dark and nutty in aroma.
- Stir in the Basmati rice.
- Pour in a cup and a half of water.
- Stir in half a teaspoon of salt, cover the pan and leave the rice to absorb the liquid.
Cook the salmon
- While the rice cooks, rinse the salmon (to remove excess salt on the surface) and dry with paper towels.
- In a sauce pan, heat the milk.
- When the milk starts to bubble, slide in the salmon fillets.
- Poach the salmon in the milk for two to three minutes then flip and cook for another two to three minutes (if your salmon fillets are more than an inch thick, cook for a minute or two longer).
- Scoop out the salmon and cool on a plate then break up into chunks.
- When the rice is done, taste and stir in more salt if needed.
- With the heat off, add the salmon chunks and half of the egg quarters to the rice, and toss lightly to distribute.
Assemble your kedgeree
- Reserve a tablespoon each of parsley and cilantro, and toss in the rest with the salmon, eggs and rice in the pan.
- Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the rice dish.
- Ladle the kedgeree into shallow bowls, top with the remaining egg quarters, and the reserved parsley and cilantro.