Felicity Cloake at The Guardian does this nice thing, now and again, where she takes a classic recipe, does a lot of research into the different ways of making it, then presents us with the ultimate combination of these recipes, creating the ‘perfect’ version of the dish du jour. I like it, it’s good to see the different ways that you can make something – low fat, whole wheat, traditional, ‘with a twist’ (has that phrase gone now? I feel like it might be a bit nineties…) – and it’s interesting to read through the variations and Felicity’s reactions to them, before the final recipe is presented. It’s nice to see someone else’s train of thought, reassuring to know that it’s not just me who can be an over-thinker when it comes to snacks.
I recently followed Felicity’s recipe for the perfect kedgeree… except that I didn’t really. I used it as a jumping off point, more than following it. Even though she’d clearly done a lot of hard working in forming that recipe. I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, and other excuses of that nature. I’m just a natural rebel, OK? A born lever-puller.
The first person to name the film that quote comes from wins something nice. Like my eternal regard.
So, the kedgeree.
This is one of those ‘I might have slightly made it up as I went along’ blog posts.
These are amounts to serve two:
- 200g basmati rice
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 crushed cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 200g cooked, smoked mackerel
- handful frozen peas
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced or quartered
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Small bunch of parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
I did follow Felicity’s advice about rinsing and then soaking the rice. I think it helped make the rice less starchy and sticky. Rice and I have a bit of a troubled relationship, but it worked out well this time, so perhaps giving it a nice relaxing bath before throwing it into boiling water is the way to go.
To sum that process up: rinse the rice in running water until the water runs clear, then cover with fresh, cold water and rest for at least half an hour.
Once it’s been soaked, drain it and put it over a medium heat, with 290ml fresh water. Specific, no?
Bring the rice to the boil, stir, then cover tightly, whack the heat down as low as it goes and leave for 25 minutes. Don’t disturb it. This recipe is basically like a spa day for rice. I added a teatowel between my pot and the lid, to make a tighter seal and keep more steam in the pot. Don’t ask me to describe how I wedged it in there, because right now it is quite late and I’d just use words like ‘wedged’ and ‘squished’ and it wouldn’t be helpful.
After the sauna is over, remove the rice from the heat but leave the pot lid, and any kitchen linens you may have sandwiched between it and the pot, in place. The rice is resting, again. Give it five minutes, then open and run a fork through the rice to break it up.
Heat the oil over a medium high heat, in a large frying pan, then add the onion and cook until softened. Then, add the chili flakes, curry powder and cardamom. Stir round to coat the onion in the spices, and inhale deeply as they start to smell toasty. And then possibly choke as the smell of the chili hits the back of your throat unexpectedly. Sorry about that.
Add the rice to the pan, stir well to coat, and add the peas. Then, flake the fish in – this is why it has to be pre-cooked, because you’re just warming it up, now. Heat for a few minutes, until the peas are cooked and hot, then taste the rice. Season as necessary. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Put the kedgeree into bowls and scatter with the parsley, then lay a sliced egg on top. I think a whole egg per person is reasonable.
I used duck eggs. Do you know what I have to say about duck eggs?
Suffice to say I was a little underwhelmed by my first duck egg. The white seemed to be more translucent, and sweeter than a chicken’s egg – but not so much that you’d really notice. It was nice, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the revelation I’d been hoping for.
Perhaps I should stop looking for revelations in eggs.