Kedgeree, kitchiri, khichdi, or simply “kedge” in our household, is a great way to use up leftover fish, rice and vegetables. We usually make it for supper, but sometimes we’ll eat it for lunch.
We cooked this yesterday, and late that night I saw Anita’s post about A Taste of Yellow’s blog cook-off for the LiveStrong Foundation. Kedgeree is definitely yellow fare (not shy with turmeric!), and A Taste of Yellow is a worthwhile activity: cooking, eating and raising awareness of cancer. On the topic of turmeric, Anita cites its role in oncological and other medical research —which in turn reminds me of my mother’s description of how the rhizome was used in the Philippines to treat acne.
In India where this originated, British colonists would consume their eggier, meatier and creamier style of this dish for breakfast. Not a bad idea. The Indian version often uses lentils or mung beans, which would be interesting to try!
You’ll notice I frequently provide ranges for many of the ingredients. This better suits the varying amount of leftovers, as well as more adjustable for particular spiciness and richness levels. For example, I prefer it on the spicier, more curry-and-chiles end of the spectrum. Definitely feel free to play with the spice mixture: When I run out of curry powder, I improvise with lotsa hot chili powder, loads of turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, white pepper, ginger, mustard, fenugreek…and whatever eager contents reside within the spice rack. >:-)
This recipe makes four generous servings. Or, a meal for two, plus leftovers for the next day.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic-infused oil, butter or ghee
- (optional) 2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 to 3 cups cooked rice, preferably a long-grain variety like Basmati. Leftover rice pilaf would be splendid.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked vegetables, such as carrots, leeks, chard, spinach, etc., chopped up. Alternatively, use a generous handful of chopped parsley or cilantro.
- 6 to 8 ounces cooked fish, bones and skin removed, and flaked. Salmon works well, but other fish are fine; smoked haddock is the British traditional.
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
- 2 to 4 tablespoons of crème fraîche, yogurt, sour cream or heavy whipping cream (or a mix thereof)
- (optional) lemon juice, to taste
- 2 to 3 teaspoons hot curry powder; Penzey’s makes a good version which contains turmeric, cayenne pepper, coriander, ginger, cumin, fenugreek, white pepper, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and Tellicherry black pepper.
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
- salt to taste, depending on previous seasoning of the rice and veggies
- (optional) a few shakes of ground smoked paprika
- (optional) additional ground cayenne pepper, for more heat
- (optional) mustard seeds, powder or sauce
- In a large pot, sauté the onions in the oil (or butter) over high heat until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, if using, followed by the spice mixture. Cook until fragrant —”Until your eyes start to sting, or you start to cough,” as Mary Anne would put it— scraping the bottom of the pot so the spices don’t stick and burn. Lower the heat to medium.
- Stir in the rice, breaking any lumps with the back of your spoon or spatula.
- Stir in the vegetables (or parsley / cilantro) until well incorporated and heated through (a couple of minutes). Do the same with the fish, followed by the hard-boiled eggs.
- Turn off the heat, then stir in the creamy ingredients. Serve hot, with a squeeze of lemon, if desired.