True Highlands Blog
We love traditional Scottish cooking here at TrueHighlands, but for a change this week we thought we would share something a bit more contemporary. Don’t panic, we are not about to start pulling pork or frying pizzas just yet. What we do have for you is a 19th century Scottish variation on the breakfast of the British Empire.
Kedgeree originates in the coastal villages of India where seafood was abundant. Fish was mixed with rice and lentils and whatever spice and fruit was at hand to make something simple but wholesome first thing in the morning. Scottish soldiers and administrators who made up a disproportionate percentage colonial regime in India developed a taste for this strange salty and smokey way to start the day and brought the recipe back to the UK. With a few refinements it could be easily adapted to the slightly conservative tastes of Victorian Britain and to suit the availability of raw ingredients.
The popularity of this dish was, in part, due to the fashion for Anglo-Indian cuisine at the time but also for the very practical reason that this was often made with leftovers from the previous evening. In the days before refrigeration, this was a vital consideration, especially as cooked rice can go off very quickly. You could of course cook rice fresh each morning but the essence of this dish is that it’s a quick fill me up. Ideally it should never be the same twice so use this recipe as a guide instead of a scripture.
If you are unable to amble over to your nearest paddy field and commandeer its contents then I would suggest buying basmati rice for its added fragrance. Scottish smoked haddock should be easy to find at this time of year, but any fish you like would do really.
200g Basmati rice
350g Scottish smoked haddock
300ml Full cream milk
½ Onion, finely chopped
2tsp Curry paste
½ Small red chilli, finely chopped
Heat the oil in a large, lidded pan, add the onion, and then gently fry for 5 minutes until softened, but not coloured.
Add the curry paste and a pinch of salt, then continue to fry for about 3 minutes, when it should begin to go brown and fragrant.
Rinse the rice thoroughly in plenty of running water, then add to the onions and stir in well. Add 600ml water, stir, then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, then cover for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand covered for 15 minutes.
Put the haddock in a frying pan, cover with the milk and poach for 10 minutes until the flesh flakes. Remove it gently and then peel away the skin and bones and roughly break up the flesh into small pieces.
Cover the eggs with water and bring to the boil, turn down the heat then simmer for 5 minutes. Plunge them into cold water, then peel and cut the eggs into quarters.
Gently mix everything together in the pan. Serve hot or cold, garnish with parsley if you wish.
The variations to this dish are endless. You could try adding lentils and extra chilli for a more authentic Indian taste or raisins and coriander, or yoghurt and spring onion. During wartime rationing, when fish was in short supply, devilled kidneys were used instead. Thankfully this practice has not continued.Tags: curry, indian recipes, Kedgeree, rice recipe, scottish food, Scottish Recipes, scottish smoked fish, smoked fish recipe, smoked haddock