A simple, timeless Kedgeree recipe made with smoked fish and hard-boiled egg. Take it to the next level with optional extra prawns. Naturally gluten free and optional dairy free.
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A timeless, traditional Kedgeree recipe that’s naturally gluten free
When I made this family-favourite Kedgeree recipe recently I had to ask myself ‘Why don’t I make it more often?’ It’s a good question! Kedgeree is a timeless classic for a reason. It’s DELICIOUS and a meal in itself. The rice base is rich and smoky with plenty of fish and eggs that pack a nutritious protein punch… It’s lightly warming with curry spice overlaid by sweetness from softly fried onion and some earthy iron-rich parsley… And for good measure, there’s an understated citrus tang from some added lemon juice.
Even better, it’s naturally gluten free… So it’s a perfect choice for a Coeliac family that everyone can enjoy with no substitutions.
The origins of Kedgeree…
Kedgeree is considered a traditional British breakfast dish. However, I have never actually eaten it for breakfast. And its origins are not really very British at all! In fact, it’s a dish made with curried rice that dates back to 14th Century India… sort of! The original recipe for Khichari from which Kedgeree was born, was actually a simple fishless medley of rice, lentils, onions and spices. But with colonialism, it soon became adulterated to include smoked fish and hard-boiled eggs.
I’m not a fan of any part of colonialism. However, the incredible flavour fusions that result as a ‘by-product’ of cultural amalgamation cannot be underestimated. And Kedgeree is definitely something that should remain treasured for always.
The recipe I share here is from my childhood… from a simple ‘British’ family kitchen, passed from mother to daughter by ‘osmosis’ and always served as lunch or an easy evening meal. But whether you choose to eat it as breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, this Kedgeree recipe is definitely a keeper. I hope you love it too!
ingredients needed for this Kedgeree recipe
Kedgeree consists of 2 basic elements… The curried rice base and the added fish and hard-boiled eggs. Below is a list of what you’ll need to make the Kedgeree recipe shared at the bottom of the post:
- Smoked fish (see below) – traditionally poached in milk.
- Eggs – hard-boiled and peeled… then quartered and added.
- Rice (covered separately below)
- Butter and olive oil
- Curry powder and (optional) bay leaves
- Optional raw prawns (king or otherwise)
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
What’s the best rice for making Kedgeree?
As a child, we always had Kedgeree with ‘American’ long-grain rice. Although this was probably because, in the UK at that time, it was the main type of rice available. However… As explained above, Kedgeree is actually a fusion of both British and Indian cuisine. So it seems logical that somewhere in the past, Basmati rice was likely to have been more the ‘norm’.
I’ve made my Kedgeree recipe with both long-grain and Basmati rice in the past. The Kedgeree in the photos is long grain. If I had to choose though, I think I prefer a Basmati version. Somehow, it’s slightly ‘fresher’ in texture, because the rice grains separate more easily in the mouth. But the choice is yours… Both are delicious.
Actually… with so many different types of rice in the world, the options for varying the base are almost endless! For a more ‘wholesome’ Kedgeree, you could use brown rice… And while I would avoid anything too sticky, you could also try using red rice or even wild rice.
Why does this Kedgeree recipe use butter and oil to fry the onion?
The best Kedgeree should have a lovely buttery back-drop that gives richness and decadence to the dish. The butter in my recipe is incorporated when frying the onion… gently so that it is soft and sweet and just starting to caramelise at the edges.
But butter has a low smoking point and that means it can burn easily, leaving a flavour which can taste rancid and bitter… Not what we want when eating Kedgeree. The solution? Temper the reaction of the butter by heating it in the pan with a little oil. This results in a higher smoke point while retaining all the desired butteryness and none of the ‘bitter’. Check out the science here.
Making Kedgeree dairy free as well as gluten free
Of course, there are many of you out there who are dairy-intolerant and that means no dairy butter! Nonetheless, you can still ensure Kedgeree with a creamy richness by a simple dairy free switch to a ‘like for like’ alternative. Make sure you choose a nice ‘yellow’, super-creamy option. In the UK, I recommend Flora Plant B+tter and Stork vegan blocks.
To make a fully gluten free, dairy free Kedgeree though, you will also need to switch out the dairy milk used for poaching the fish. Use your favourite dairy free milk as an alternative, to impart the best flavour. And if possible, avoid brands that have added sugar. Milk should not be sweet!
Choosing the ‘right’ fish for making Kedgeree
‘British’ Kedgeree is traditionally made with smoked haddock or smoked cod. This can be of the ‘dyed’ or ‘undyed’ variety. The undyed fish is usually whiter in colour, whereas dyed fish is yellow. Although historically, the dye tended to be chemical, the yellow colour is now largely obtained through the addition of turmeric (or other natural sources). And turmeric (listed as ‘curcumin’) brings another delicious flavour profile to Kedgeree that fits perfectly with the ‘curry’ backdrop. Always check the packaging if unsure.
Ultimately though… Kedgeree with smoked fish either dyed or undyed, is equally delicious. The only truly obvious difference is the slight yellow hue that the ‘dye’ imparts to the rice and the visual definition of the fish.
But whatever you choose, be sure to use cuts that have been skinned and filleted. It will save you a lot of mess and extra work!
And ALWAYS check the fish is sustainably sourced.
Can I use other fish for this Kedgeree recipe?
Absolutely yes! The dish you put on your table is YOUR Kedgeree… There are as many variations as there are smoked fish around the world (‘smoked’ being a definitive characteristic of the dish). So, choose your favourite local option.
Why not try switching cod or haddock for smoked…
- Salmon or Trout (deliciously decadent and dotted with pops of extra ‘pink’)
- Basa (delicate and flavoursome)
- Mackerel or Kippers (stronger in flavour)
- Halibut (white and lightly ‘meaty’)
- Any other tender local smoked variety
The addition of prawns… or not
The addition of prawns to my Kedgeree may be considered a little ‘off piste’. And they are, of course, very much optional!
However… I LOVE a prawn or two for the meatiness and flavour they bring to so many fish recipes. And because Kedgeree is traditionally quite a soft-textured dish overall, prawns are the perfect addition for a little extra ‘chew’.
Any ‘prawns’ work well… Tiny shrimp are as delicious in Kedgeree as larger king prawns. So choose whatever you love or is on offer!
What is curry powder?
The recipe for my Kedgeree lists the rather blandly named ‘curry powder’. And I appreciate that (being a British invention from the 18th Century), it may not be available in all parts of the world.
In reality (and in its mild form) it is a rather ‘woosy’ spice blend that the British palate could tolerate in the early days of our curry cultivation. These days however, it can be bought in variations from mild through medium and into hot. For Kedgeree, I tend to use a shop-bought medium curry powder, as I still like the smoky fish and other flavours to shine. But you will make your own Kedgeree, so feel free to alter the spice mix for preference.
Either powder or paste is good and pretty much any favourite curry spice mix will work well. If you want to try making your own ‘curry powder’ at home, I found this handy homemade curry powder guide to help you. Alternatively, this curry powder recipe is an option.
Can’t eat rice? Make Kedgeree with cooked quinoa or buckwheat instead
In my time as a blogger, I have come across a number of people who can no longer eat rice due to intolerance or as a result of arsenic poisoning. If you (or anyone you cook for) fall into these categories, delicious homemade Kedgeree is still an option!
The best substitutions for rice (if you are also Coeliac (Celiac) or gluten intolerant) are either cooked quinoa or buckwheat groats. The highlighted links are for my handy guides on cooking each of these alternatives to perfection!
Alternatively, use riced cauliflower for a super-healthy, low-carb option. And mix any or all of the alternatives with cooked lentils as well.
Although Kedgeree has a few separate cooking stages (none of which take much time), it is actually a very easy meal to prepare. And there are a few places where you can get ahead with the prep. Indeed, getting ahead means it will only take about 30 minutes to prepare and have on the table when you want it. Perfect for a delicious, mid-week nutritious meal. You can pre-prepare up to a day before…
- Hard boil the eggs and set aside in the fridge (in shells) until you need them.
- Cook and drain the rice and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Poach the haddock and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Optional add-ins and ingredient switches…
Search the internet and you may find a whole abundance of variations and adulterations of the traditional Kedgeree recipe. So what are the options for the best flavour-paired add-ins and ingredient switches to personalise your version?
Add a pop of green with some…
- Cooked green beans
- A few broccoli florets
- Sliced okra
Vary the veg with some…
- Chopped or baby mushrooms
- Baby corn or sweetcorn kernels
- Fried shallots (halved or whole)
- Red onion
- Sliced leek
- Chopped or sliced fennel
Switch up the heat and spice with some…
- Fresh chilli (whole or chopped)
- Grated or chopped fresh ginger
- A couple of cinnamon sticks
- Fresh turmeric
- Mustard seeds
- Alternative curry powders or pastes
Make it herby by subbing the curry spice for carefully-paired herbs…
- Coriander (cilantro) leaves
- Chopped chives
Ready to make my Kedgeree recipe?
I think that just about covers it… You can find the recipe for my traditional Kedgeree just below (scroll a little further). I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to let me know what you think (with or without switches) with a comment, recipe rating (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) or social media tag – (Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest). I always love hearing from you guys.
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With my love
The BEST Traditional Kedgeree
- chopping board
- sharp vegetable knife
- large frying pan/skillet
- flat silicone spatula
- serving bowl
- 4 large eggs – in shells, brought to room temperature
- 200 g Basmati rice (or long grain rice)
- 180 g milk (dairy free as required)
- 2 bay leaves (optional, but they do add lovely flavour)
- 450 g smoked haddock (or smoked cod) – skinned and filleted
- 50 g butter (or dairy free alternative)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 medium brown onions (sliced)
- 100 g raw king prawns (or raw standard prawns/shrimp) – optional
- 2 to 3 tsp medium or mild curry powder (or alternative curry spice mix)
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (+ extra to garnish)
- salt and pepper to season to taste
- lemon wedges to serve
Hard boil the eggs
- Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water and bring the water to the boil.
- When the water starts to boil, check the clock and boil for a further 7 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside to cool.
- Once cool, peel off the shells and slice each hard-boiled egg into quarters lengthways. (If boiling the eggs ahead of time, leave them in the shells until ready to make the Kedgeree).
Cook the rice
- Thoroughly rinse the rice and cook as per the instructions on the packet.
- Drain and set aside.
Poach the fish
- Pour the milk into a large frying pan and bring to a simmer with the bay leaves.
- Transfer the fish to the simmering milk and (if necessary) top up with a drop of boiling water to almost cover the fish.
- Bring back to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, bathing the fish in the hot milk with a spoon intermittently.
- When the fish is cooked, remove it from the pan to a plate. Set aside. (Although the liquid is discarded, it is good to save a couple of tablespoons to add to the dish at the end for extra moisture, as preferred).
Make the Kedgeree
- Using a large frying pan, melt the butter together with the olive oil and gently fry the onions until soft and just beginning to colour at the edges.
- Add the prawns to the pan and continue to cook until lightly pink. Don't over-cook or they will become tough. (They will continue to cook as the rest of the dish comes together).
- Next add the curry powder and lemon juice and stir well.
- Add the rice and chopped parsley to the pan with plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Fold it all together until evenly mixed and piping hot.
- Break up the fish by gently flaking into pieces with a fork and add to the pan. Fold through, continuing to heat.
- Taste the Kedgeree and adjust the seasoning (salt, pepper, lemon juice etc to taste). Add a drop of the reserved milk for extra moisture as preferred.
- Lastly fold through THREE of the four quartered eggs (reserving the last for topping the Kedgeree when in the serving bowl).
- Transfer the Kedgeree to a serving bowl and garnish with the last quartered egg, extra chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
- Serve as it is or with a side of green vegetables.
© 2019-2024 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist