Kedgeree is a hybrid dish – Indian food adapted for Victorian Raj. Great silver dishes of the stuff were to be found on the breakfast sideboards of the colonialists, and they brought the recipe back to Britain. The traditional version heaves with smoked haddock, butter and boiled eggs, flavoured with that great British invention, curry powder. In this lighter version I use smoked salmon, which is easier to get here than smoked haddock, but still gives a light smokey flavour to the rice. I add turmeric and red lentils, which it turns out may well have been used in khichri, the Indian dish on which kedgeree is based. The lentils give the dish a slightly grainy texture. If you want a really smooth result, just replace the lentils with the same weight in rice. Either way, this is is full of flavour and very quick and easy to prepare. Try it for brunch, lunch or supper. PS sorry about the photos: my phone couldn’t handle the dish’s intense ochre shade.
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 bay leaf
1 tsp turmeric powder
100 gr red lentils
160 gr Basmati rice
350 ml water
200 gr smoked salmon, chopped (can use trimmings)
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
2 spring onions, finely chopped
In a small saucepan heat the oil and fry the onion on a low heat until softened but not brown. Add the turmeric and the bay leaf.
Now add the rice and lentils, stir well, then add the measured water and a little salt. (Remember that the salmon will add a great hit of salt later on.)
Bring to the boil, then cook very gently with a lid on for about 15 minutes until the rice is tender and the lentils have collapsed.
Carefully stir in the salmon and lemon juice. Use a fork so you can fluff up the rice grains as you go. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now cover with a clean tea towel, put the lid back on the pan and leave to sit for 5 minutes. Serve, garnished with the spring onions, preferably from a silver salver.