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Disappointment, Not Too Bitter, and Kedgeree

March 21, 2010 · 28 comments

in Gluten Free,Mains,Pescatarian

Rice with smoked fish and eggs

Disappointment. Not a great feeling and one that I hope you, dear reader, won’t have to experience any time soon.

I had a vision. A vision of kedgeree: slightly curried yellow rice, gleaming and buttery, with a few green lentils mixed through. Perfectly boiled eggs, a dollop (yes, smoked fish can be dolloped in my world) of mackerel, salty and smokey. A couple of cherry tomatoes whose carbon footprint probably exceeds that of my own and a dusting of Italian parsley.

Alas, when I made said kedge, ’twas not all I hoped for. Not enough oomph, not oniony enough.

Luckily, despite the fact that I am certainly not the sort of person who is inspired to greater heights by failure (no gumption!) and therefore will announce I hate said thing at the first hint of it, I seem to make an exception for food. Because this, my dears, is kedgeree. The kedgeree of my dreams.

It took two tries, but boy, it was worth it. Now, to try my hand at frisbee again…

Had any food flops recently?


I lay absolutely no claim to authenticity here, but then, the English breakfast food is a bastardisation of the Indian “kitcharee” anyway, so I’m in good company. It would also be fine to fry the onions and spices in a pan and put them along with the rice in your rice-cooker but I wouldn’t want mine to be impregnated by the smell of the spices, like. This should serve at least 4.

First boil

1/2 cup washed brown lentils

and salt just before the end of cooking (this should take about 30 minutes, you want them to have a bit of bite) and drain.

30 grams butter

1 onion, diced finely

3/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 chicken (or vege) stock cube, dissolved in 2 cups hot water

2 cups basmati rice, washed

Sweat the onions in the butter until translucent and add the spices and salt, stirring until fragrant.

Add the rice and stir to coat with the fat and spices.

Turn the heat up to high, pour in the stock and immediately cover with a tight-fitting lid. A glass one is preferable so you can see the bubbles but you can also put your ear to the pot to listen for boiling.

As soon as it boils, turn the heat down to its lowest setting (if you have a gas ring, you might need one of those trivet things so it’s not too hot) and cook for 17 minutes – at no point during cooking should you remove the lid.

Remove the lid and stir the lentils through.

Taste for salt.

For the fixin’s

3 just-hard-boiled eggs, quartered

150 grams of any sort of hot smoked fish, skinned, boned and crumbled (can you say crumbled of fish?)

A few quartered tomatoes

Chopped flatleaf parsley

Lemon quarters

A few twist of the peppermill

Assemble by topping the lentilly rice with fish, boiled eggs, tomatoes and parsley and whatever else that might catch your fancy, give it a generous grind of pepper and squeeze a bit of lemon juice over.

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Lauren@CoffeeMuffins March 21, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I wonder why I have never made Kedgeree before, since I love rice, curry spices and fish. I love that yours looks light and summery, whereas most I have seen look much too heavy. Thanks for the recipe!

sasa March 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm

You’re welcome! I think a lot of recipes have cream in them which I love, but not in kedgeree! Probably not so good for cholesterol either, I think you mentioned something about that being important to you.

Vanessa March 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Hey, I haven’t had this for years but now I’m really keen to try. I admire your perseverance, I can identify perfectly with the image of a perfect dish only to feel crushed with disappointment at the way it turns out. I made an awful rhubarb cake last year and some gnocchi recently which were a disaster. Still, back to to the kitchen…

sasa March 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Oh god, dud rhubarb cake, now that IS crushing…I’m not sure I could have recovered, it’s so pretty and just ought to be right – did you try it again? I have a polenta rhubarb cake recipe I want to try when the forced pink rhubarb comes out – if it turns out, I’ll post it.

Nut March 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I have just come from a weekend of baking highs and lows. The low being some muffins so tough we could have used them for batting practice. The high, a light and fluffy sponge cake filled with lashings of cream and jam; as requested by James.
I love Kedgeree and can’t wait to give this one a try. Thanks Sasa, you inspire me to keep going in the kitchen even when things don’t work out x

sasa March 21, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Sponge! Well done! I’ve only ever made one, it was only okay and I sort of feel it was a fluke. I need to achieve and consolidate – can you send me the recipe? Good luck moving x

sallyismycat March 22, 2010 at 12:01 am

Looks scrumptious. Has a Crab Louie swagger to it. Ballsy cooking Sass.

sasa March 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

Crab Louie!? Sounds awesome, what is that? Maybe you could do a post about it…

chiquita March 22, 2010 at 1:12 am

Kedgeree! Never come across it in real life, but have heard of it, so I must’ve read about it somewhere. Very colonial sounding, and it looks good. Want to try it, with MiniB-friendly ingredients (i.e. no tomatoes).

As for food flops…none recently, but that’s because I’m not adventurous enough. Or maybe this makes me genius? :P

sasa March 22, 2010 at 8:28 am

Genius, deffo ;P

thatssoron March 22, 2010 at 2:14 am

I’m hangry now! Yummo!

sasa March 22, 2010 at 8:29 am

Uh oh….

pierre March 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

hello yes many food flops but they teach you so much !! nice blog that you have, hope you will like mine !! come and visit me you are very welcome if you like french creative cuisine !! cheers from pierre in paris

sasa March 22, 2010 at 8:31 am

Hi Pierre, glad I’m not the only one with food flops, hehe.

Simply Life March 22, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Wow! That looks absolutely delicious!

smithbites March 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Just love, love, love your blog as it inspires me with brand new recipes – THANK YOU!

Alessandra March 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Mostly eating recently (instead of cooking); can you have any flops when eating?? ;-)

Maybe not, but I must ease off a little now (that I am not skiing!)


Couscous & Consciousness March 22, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I love kedgeree and haven’t had it for such a long time. You’ve just inspired me to make it again – love the idea of using lentils. Great blog.

sasa March 22, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Thank you! Some recipes Iooked at used lentils and some fish but never both for some reason but I think it’s definitely a good match.

Ash March 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Super cute blog.

sasa March 23, 2010 at 9:06 am

Thanks Ash, I’m not sure I have a signature dish but now you’ve kind of got me thinking…

them apples March 23, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Every recipe is worth a second chance.

I only give up when the second chance ends in the same disappointment, dismay and tirade of foul language as the first attempt.

sasa March 23, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Bwahaha. Good rule.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Nothing too much of a food flop but a stuffed pumpkin which just wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be. Such a shame as they were so cute!

Nut April 12, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I made this the other night and it was delicious! I made a few changes. Substituted the lentils for peas (for me it wouldn’t be kedgeree without peas). I think it needed a bit more curry and cumin but I will try that next time. Thanks for the recipe Sasa!

joefish April 28, 2010 at 8:22 am

Well I just made this recipe myself, finally… and it was… a total SUCCESS… OMG, I could just eat the rice alone, I had to leave the kitchen to stop myself from destroying the whole pot! eep…

thanks Sasa, it was awesome, now I have one more thing to do with smoked fish… are there others!?


sasa April 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

Others…Smoked fish sarnies? ;P
Smoked fish pie is good and you’re coming into pie season!

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