Kedgeree - The Traditional Breakfast Curry Recipe

The Origins of Kedgeree

Kedgeree is a rice and smoked fish curry. It was designed and originally served as a breakfast dish but is now commonly enjoyed at any time of the day. The origins of kedgeree are often subject to argument. No one disputes the fact that it was widely introduced to the United Kingdom from India in Victorian times but its earlier origins are less defined. There are some who say that goes as far back in an earlier form as the 14th Century in India but there is also a theory that the dish was invented in Scotland in the late 18th Century by Scottish soldiers who had served in India, who then introduced it to the sub-continent upon their return. This version is borne out by the verifiable fact that the recipe was first published in Scotland circa 1790.

Kedgeree - The Breakfast Curry
Kedgeree - The Breakfast Curry
Principal Ingredients of Kedgeree
Principal Ingredients of Kedgeree

The Ingredients for Making Kedgeree

1/2lb smoked haddock fillet(s)

4oz basmati rice

1/2 small onion (very thinly sliced)

3/4 pint of milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground coriander seed

2 tsp freshly chopped basil (parsley is the traditional herb used)

Salt and pepper to taste

Smoked Haddock, Milk and Spices
Smoked Haddock, Milk and Spices
Flaked Smoked Haddock
Flaked Smoked Haddock

Cooking the Smoked Haddock

The smoked haddock should be added to a large pot along with the three different spices and the milk. No salt or pepper should be added at this stage. The mixture should initially be put on a high heat and brought to a simmer. The heat should then be reduced and it should continue to be simmered gently for around seven or eight minutes. The smoked haddock should then be removed from the liquid with a large slotted spoon to a plate.

When the haddock has cooled sufficiently to be handled, it should be carefully flaked by hand. Care should be taken at this time to remove and discard any stray bones or pieces of skin.

The haddock will be re-introduced to the pot at a later time.

The Rice and Onion should be added to the Milk
The Rice and Onion should be added to the Milk

Cooking the Rice and Onion

The rice should be washed prior to being cooked, by placing it in a sieve and holding it under some running cold water, swirling it around for about thirty seconds. As soon as the smoked haddock has been removed from the milk, the rice and sliced onion should be added and the liquid returned to a simmer for around ten minutes, until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid and is cooked.

The late addition ingredients of the Kedgeree
The late addition ingredients of the Kedgeree

Cooking the Eggs and Bringing the Kedgeree Together

When the rice has been added to the milk, the eggs should be placed in a pot and enough cold water added to cover them completely. The water should be brought up to a boil and then the heat reduced to allow the eggs to simmer for six or seven minutes. The pot should then be placed in the sink and cold water run in to it. The eggs should then be removed, shelled and roughly chopped.

When the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid, the smoked haddock should be re-added, along with the egg and chopped basil. A further minute or two of cooking time will be all that is required.

The Kedgeree should then be tasted, seasoned as required and served hot, with half a tomato and a small sprig of basil to garnish.

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Have you ever Cooked or Tasted Kedgeree? 8 comments

lizmoss71 profile image

lizmoss71 6 years ago from Orpington, UK

What a lovely recipe! Totally different from how I make kedgeree, but I would love to give your method a try.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for sharing. Sounds great. Will be trying it out.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

A recipe and its history. Neat! Thanks for sharing. Have been wanting to find ways to use turmeric. Will be trying this out.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you. Hope you try it and enjoy it.


PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

Wow! I've eaten this before and loved it! I don't have access to smoked Haddock - do you think I could use smoked trout or salmon instead?


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, Pia, for the visit and comment. I am glad you like Kedgeree - it is a big favourite of mine.

Regarding substitutions for smoked haddock, I am honestly not sure how smoked salmon or trout would work. It would certainly change the texture of the dish, as well as the taste. If using smoked salmon or trout, I would eliminate the fish poaching process and simply add the spices to the milk at the stage of adding the rice and onion. I would then chop the salmon or trout and stir it through the dish, immediately prior to service.

What I would be more inclined to do would be to use any firm fleshed white fish (smoked or otherwise) which will break in to large flakes when cooked. I think this would taste better and be more authentic.

I would be delighted to hear how either option works out and hope you enjoy whatever you decide to prepare.


PiaC profile image

PiaC 5 years ago from Oakland, CA

That's great to know! I'll hunt around for Smoked haddock or stick to white fish. I've eaten this dish while I lived in England, but never learned to make it.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Good luck in your search - enjoy! :)

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