Scottish Kedgeree

By Graeme Taylor
September 29, 2017
9 Comments


Author Notes: Kedgeree is a dish of rice, smoked haddock, spice, and eggs, and it is one of those dishes whose etymology is surrounded by uncertainty, myth, and legend. Is it Scottish? Is it English? Did it come from British India, or does it predate even that period of history? One thing for sure is that it’s impossible to be certain (and that it's delicious).

*Notes: You can use a medium-spiced curry powder, which is commonly used, but I prefer to make my own spice blend. For this, I mix coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ajwain, fenugreek seeds, black pepper, turmeric, and crushed chiles. I also use poached eggs rather than boiled, the runny yolk oozing onto the sweet, smoky fish and rice is simply joyful. If ajwain is unavailable you can substitute 1/4 of a teaspoon of dried thyme. If smoked haddock is unavailable you can use unsmoked haddock or other white fish such as cod. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the water as you poach the fish, and 1 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika to the spice blend as you mix it. (They key here is to use something "smokey" to compensate for the unsmoked fish.)
Graeme Taylor

Serves: 2

Ingredients

Spice Blend

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chillies
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Kedgeree

  • 1 fillet smoked haddock (preferably peat-smoked)*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 350 milliliters (about 1 1/2 cups) cold water
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons (a knob of) butter
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) basmati rice
  • 2.5 teaspoons spice blend*
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt to season and poach eggs

Directions

  1. Toast the cumin, coriander, fenugreek, ajwain, and black pepper over high heat for 30 seconds. In a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, grind the toasted spices along with the crushed chiles to a powder. Add the turmeric and mix well. You can store this blend in a glass jar for further use.
  2. In a saucepan with a lid, poach the haddock uncovered in the cold water with the bay leaf over a medium heat until cooked (4-6 minutes) then remove and set aside. Keep the cooking water in a bowl or jug. (Here's a tutorial on how to poach fish: https://food52.com/blog/9516-how-to-poach-fish)
  3. Add the butter to the same pan and saute the onion until soft. Add the spice blend and rice, and stir once. Add the cooking water, put the lid on and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Check the rice which should be perfect, and correct the seasoning if required. While that cooks, poach the eggs in salted water to your preference. (A tutorial on how to poach eggs: https://food52.com/blog/17285-how-to-poach-eggs-with-less-stress-no-anxiety-dreams)
  4. Add back the haddock and stir through, serve with the poached eggs on top.

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Reviews (9) Questions (0)

9 Comments

judy November 28, 2017
This is wonderful. I grew up eating a version my Mom made that was really terrible in comparison. She was not much of a cook and it was one of her best dishes: tuna, green peas, rice, hard boiled eggs and canned milk with curry in it. Baked for dinner. I could not find kippers--which I have not had since growing up. So I got a nice piece of cod and marinated it in liquid smoke for about 4 hours. Then proceeded with the recipe. Delicious. thank you so much. Have made it a couple of times. Will be in a regular rotation when cod is readily available. someone suggested TJs smoked trout. I recently had some and it is delicious. I'll have t give that a try as well.. <br />
 
Author Comment
Graeme T. November 28, 2017
Hi Judy, thank you so much, feedback like this brings such a smile. I’m so glad it’s brought one of your childhood recipes back to life. Graeme
 
Dee B. October 6, 2017
Grew up with Kedgeree as an every other Saturday lunch dish with hard boiled eggs in a curried tomato chutney sauce on others. My husband tried to smoke haddock for me, but it's not quite the same. We always poached our haddock in milk, seemed to plump the "meat". Miss real smoked haddock but still make this as a special dish on occasions.
 
NYNCtg October 3, 2017
My husband is from Scotland and on our first trip to meet his family his mother made this for me. I hated it. It has scene grown on me. The smoked haddock is hard to find so like Sarah I sub in trader joe's smoked trout. My mother in law uses boiled eggs, sliced and folded in at the end, so that is what I do too. An unexpected bonus is both my kids love this dish. We have it monthly at our house.
 
Sarah October 3, 2017
Love this! I was first introduced to kedgeree when living with an English roommate in Afghanistan in 2003. Spices, onions and rice, but little else, were readily available. Today, I use smoked trout from Trader Joes, stir in frozen peas when the rice is almost done and make it a one pot dish by creating a well in the rice to fry the eggs toward the end--this gives you the added benefit of crispy rice bits on the bottom.
 
marsiamarsia October 2, 2017
I'm very happy to find this recipe! First time I heard of Kedgeree and saw it prepared was on the PBS TV show "The Two Fat Ladies." If memory serves, these delightful women described it as a British version of an Indian dish, which the Brits "discovered" after colonizing India. They liked it for breakfast. It looked scrumptious to me too, and since the late 1990s, I've looked (off and on) to find an inspiring version. Now, thanks to Graeme Taylor and FOOD52, my quest is over!
 
Author Comment
Graeme T. October 4, 2017
Hi marsiamarsia, very glad that you’re happy to find it, I hope you enjoy it as well.
 
Nancy October 2, 2017
Right.....delicious ☺<br />And it may be heresy, but if I have trouble finding smoked haddock I will use another species...whitefish (delicate, so go easy on the spices) or salmon (for richness).<br />
 
AntoniaJames September 30, 2017
Oh, this looks divine! I make something similar using kipper snacks (smoked herring from a tin) when I want something quick and satisfying. I use leftover rice, or cooked rice - Trader Joe's brown rice medley, to be precise -- from the freezer. I don't usually put an egg on it, but like the idea - perfect for a heartier meal. ;o)