Kedgeree should properly be made from smoked haddock and include hard-boiled eggs. It has its roots in the early days of the Raj, an example of Anglicizing an Indian dish – probably khicharhi, boiled rice and lentils tossed in ghee with spices – first referred to in 1845 by Eliza Acton. Her version included boiled rice and flaked boiled fish, bound and cooked with raw eggs. By 1861 Mrs Beeton’s recipe takes for granted that the fish is smoked haddock and the eggs hard-boiled and chopped finely. In a Victorian context, when big breakfasts were commonplace, it must have seemed a wholly appropriate way to start the day, though now it is more likely to be eaten for lunch or supper.
Kedgeree is a réchaufée, that is an assembly of cooked ingredients which are gently reheated, either in a pan on the hob or in a low oven. The amount of cream used is a matter of personal preference, with the richer variations coming close to a pilaf in texture.
In a bowl, mix together the rice, fish and the chopped egg whites. Season with cayenne, nutmeg, pepper and a little salt. Stir in the cream, put into the dish and dot the top with the butter.
Mound the kedgeree in the centre of 4 warmed plates. Garnish with the sieved egg yolk and chopped chives. Put a lemon quarter on each plate and serve.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.