The cuisine of Scotland is steeped in the history of cooking from the natural larder at the people’s disposal. Whether this be kings and queens feasting on venison, duck, beef and salmon; or the servant living on oats and kale the Scots have always used well that which is at their disposal. However running through the food of Scotland are flavours from far-flung lands brought here by friend and foe alike. One such dish is kedgeree. Legend has it that a Scottish regiment brought back curry spices from the Indian sub-continent in the time of the British Raj and this was the result of tinkering with a dish seen there at the time. There is probably an element of truth in this, how much truth probably depends on your desire for casting a wistfully romantic eye to the past.
What is true is that all over the sub-continent you will find a dish with many regional variations of rice, daals and spice, but never fish, called khitchri. With this in mind I decided that I wanted to make a spice blend that would perfectly marry the sweet smokiness of the haddock in kedgeree with an authentic south Asian flavour. Far removed from the generic curry powder of many a kedgeree recipe. Sumayya Usmani of My Tamarind Kitchen gave great assistance guiding me towards cumin, coriander and chilli as a simple spice blend that the haddock would accentuate but not drown in. I also added a little turmeric as I like the colour it gives the dish and opted for Kashmiri chilli, again because of the wonderful colour it gives when cooking and the aroma that it fills the kitchen with.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 1 Fillet undyed smoked haddock (preferably peat smoked)
- 350ml Cold water
- 1 Onion (finely chopped)
- 1 knob Butter
- 150g Basmati rice
- 2.5 teaspoons Masala
- 2 Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons Coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon Ground Kashmiri chilli
- 0.5 teaspoon Turmeric powder
Traditionally hard boiled eggs are added but I prefer to see the yolk of the poached egg run into the smoky goodness below.
- Grind the cumin and coriander seeds and combine with the chilli and turmeric to make the masala
- In a heavy based pan poach the haddock in the cold water then remove and set aside. Keep the water in a bowl or jug.
- Add the butter to the same pan and saute the onion until soft. Add the masala and rice and stir once. Add the water, put the lid on and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Check the rice which should be perfect.
- Add back the haddock and stir through, serve with the poached eggs on top.
Kedgeree photo credit Sumayya Usmani