Kedgeree is a great dish packed with flavour and nutritious ingredients. However it is also a seafood dish that is covered in mystery. Where did it originate, India or North East Scotland, and with which type of fish, Haddock or Salmon? The answer is probably both.
The dish consists of spices from the far east. These were to become used as an ingredient as part of the rich traditional spiced Dundee Cake, and were also used to flavour the fish dish. It is also accepted that smoked fish from Scotland was originally used, the area around Dundee is famous for the curing and smoking of Haddock, Salmon and Herrings. However the question is was the fish cured to take to India and be consumed on the voyage and upon arrival, or did the spices and rice meet the fish in Scotland. The most likely is that it is a combination of both, which have produced this traditional and tasty fish dish.
Tip 1. Smoke the fish yourself
Don't be put off, because it is simple and adds to the fun of cooking the dish. Traditionally the process would start with the curing of the fish in water and salt, by covering the bone less fillets of fish in the liquid solution then removing and allowing the fish to dry. This was to start the removal of water from the fish which would help in the preservation. However for your own needs at home, preservation is not needed, and in addition by removing this stage you will be reducing the chances of excessive amounts of salt being in the finished dish. Salt which is vital in small amounts to control the electrolytic balance of the body, but is hazardous in large amounts because of it increasing our blood pressure levels.
So I suggest that you start with the smoking of the fish. You will need some wood shavings, ideally from a used whisky barrel, if you have one lying around. Failing that you can buy supplies at very reasonable rates from the Internet. The fish needs cold smoking for a minimum of eight hours. At a temperature of no more than 30 degrees Celsius. Without initially buying a specialist smoker, make you own. You will need an enclosed metal container large enough to hold the fish, with a lid and a raised surface to keep the fish off the embers of wood. Over heat, with the lid on, bring the wood shaving to a temperature where they start releasing a mild burning smell. Add other flavourings if wanted, such as crushed juniper berries or a slug or two of a malt whisky. Take off the heat and add the fillets of fish. Whilst the overall temperature needs to be low the embers still need to keep smouldering, so keep a check on the temperature and if need be put back on the heat or slightly open the lid. Keep the process going for around eight hours, at the end of which you will have produced your own smoked, salt free fish. Do not worry if the temperature rises too high at any stage, just remove the fish and use as normal in the dish.
Tip 2. Making up the Kedgeree, the simple way
Gently heat a pan and add 150 g of cooked rice, 125 ml of cream, and a teaspoon each of ground Turmeric and Ga-ram Masala, then 100 g of the flaked smoked fish. Allow to warm and plate topped with chopped boiled egg and parsley. If you prefer replace the cream with fish stock.
An alternative way is to not add the flavourings to the mix but to serve with a jug of curry sauce. Each to their own.
Tip 3. Serving Kedgeree with more elegance
With this option warm the rice, cream and spices; as you are serving add a handful of chopped spinach or kale and stir until warm. Separately poach the smoked fish in milk, and when cooked place on top of the flavoured rice and spinach. Top with a poached egg and parsley.
About the author:- Henry Lord is a fanatical enthusiast and lover of all things seafood. He has been a professional chef for nearly twenty five years, so has experienced many traditional and innovative ways to cook and present food. He is also keen to promote seafood as a healthy source of our daily eating needs. The website http://www.cookingseafoodathome.com is written by him. It provides lots of tips on all aspects to helping you put a great seafood meal in front of your family or friends. Additionally if you visit the website now and enter your name and email address, you will receive for FREE the e Booklet on "Home Curing Of Fish". Other FREE e Booklets will follow each month.