Friday was quite a late night at work. A grumpy face and a chain of frustrated thoughts were my pals. With immense pride (read arrogance), me and my pals walked out the elevator past midnight. And as we walked out, the security guard walked out of another elevator door. Trust me as I say this without exaggeration, he is the most chirpy and kind person I have met in a long time. Put a long white beard on him, he could become the cutest and kindest Santa Claus. With a big broad smile across his face, he asked – “Are we done for the day?”. The grumpy me replied with a sigh – “Finally!” He must have very elastic facial muscles, for his smile did not cease a bit, and very politely and perkily, he then asked – “Shall I walk you out to your cab ride, it’s quite lonely outside?” That contagious smile and that kind gesture of his melted my heart and shooed away my grumpy comrade. And I wore a smile across my face on my ride back home.
Some people, strangers and non-strangers alike, have the ability to lighten you up on the spur of the moment. Their persona speaks of heartiness and mellow. Translating this persona into the context of food, kedgeree is one such dish that will take that frown out of your face and spread a big broad smile across it. Cheerfully yellow and absolutely mellow with a gorgeous flavor, thanks to the lovely melange of ingredients, this dish is a treat for fish and rice lovers.
Traditionally, Kedgeree – an Anglo-Indian dish (a khichdi variant where the protein is fish instead of lentils) consisting of rice, flaked fish, eggs, turmeric, butter, parsley – contains smoked haddock. But the greedy me went a bit overboard and departed from the norm.
To me making this dish felt like assembling all the goodness together. My favorite part was poaching the seafood, and flaking them thereafter. A medley of hearty pink salmon, milky white haddock (so I poached the haddock in milk and the flakes looked like snow!) and succulent shrimp- I could eat them up right out of the dish. The seafood was poached staying true to the English flavors. I am currently obsessed with lemon thyme, lemongrass, lemon zest and anything associated with lemon, hence loads of that went in to the poaching liquid. The rice was boiled in the (awesome citrus-flavored) stock left over from poaching with the addition of fundamental classic Indian spices, viz. (powdered) turmeric, cumin and coriander. And did I forget to mention, we have potatoes in this dish too? I wonder if this dish was invented for me (and people with same food habits like me).
This is a lunch, dinner or supper to enjoy, served either hot or cold. I hope you enjoy reading about, making and eating this dish alike!
- Haddock (fillet) - 1 (0.34 lb)
- Salmon (fillet) - 1 (0.5 lb)
- Shrimp (cooked) - 5 , tailless cut into small cubes
- Milk - enough for covering the haddock for poaching (1-2 cups)
- Potatoes - 1 large or 2 small - cut into small wedges
- Eggs - 2 large free range
- Rice (Basmati) - 1 cup (uncooked)
- Butter - 2 tbsp
- Lemongrass - 2 tsp
- Lemon zest - 2 tsp
- lemon thyme - 2 sprigs
- green chili - 1 slit in half
- Turmeric - ¼ tsp
- Cumin - ½ tsp
- Coriander - ½ tsp
- Shallot - 1 cup finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cilantro - for seasoning
- Parsley - for seasoning
- Poaching the haddock - 15 min (I used oven preheated to 400 F, you can very well use the stove)-
In a baking dish, soak the haddock and potatoes in milk (use the amount of milk needed to completely soak the fish).
Add 1 tsp lemon grass, 1 tsp lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tbsp of butter.
Remove from the oven, strain the liquid (milk), and flake the fish. The potatoes will be used later to boil along with the rice.
- Poaching the salmon and shrimp - 15 min (As I was multitasking, while the haddock was in the oven, I used the stove for this step) -
In a saucepan, add 2 cups of water.
Add the salmon and shrimp.
Add 1 tsp lemon grass, lemon thyme, 1 tsp lemon zest, slit green chilli, salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the stock left over after poaching into a container, and flake the fish in a separate plate. Do not throw away the stock!
- Boiling the eggs - 10-15 min - (Use another stove. Step 1, 2 and 3 can happen in parallel)
After the eggs have boiled, cut each of them into quarters. Sprinkle salt and pepper atop them.
- Boiling the rice - 15 min -This step has to happen after Step 2 is done, as the (delicious) stock left over from poaching the salmon will be used for the rice to boil in.
In a pot or dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp of butter. Add turmeric, cumin and coriander powder, whole black pepper and stir well.
Add the chopped shallots and saute until translucent.
Add the potatoes (that we poached a bit with the haddock) and saute them for 2 min.
Pour the left over stock from poaching the salmon and let it boil for 2 min and then add the rice, and let it boil until cooked.
- In a glass baking dish, or an oval platter, mix the cooked rice, flaked fish and quarter-cut boiled eggs.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and parsley. Server either hot or cold.
- P.S. The making of this dish has several steps. Some steps can happen in parallel as mentioned. Each step involves addition of salt and pepper for seasoning, so be a little calculative so that the end product tastes just right. Also, the quantity of sea food, and also the type, can vary according to taste. You might want to poach all the sea food in water, and avoid milk, or vice versa. Whatever method you adopt, at the end, the medley of all the goodness is sure going to satiate those taste buds that (I hope) are already watering!