Kedgeree is thought to be a dish that was brought over from India in Victorian times. Originally it may have been a breakfast dish, but is now used at any meal. It normally contains flaked fish, boiled rice, parsley, hard-boiled eggs, curry powder and/or other spices as well as butter.
A great healthy recipe that includes the oily fish mackerel is as follows:
- 225g rice
- 2-3 smoked mackerel fillets
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp butter
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- chopped chilli
- lemon juice
- 2-3 eggs
- Boil the rice until tender and fluffy.
- Boil the eggs and then shell them and chop them up.
- Place the butter and onion with a little olive oil in a pan. Cook for 2 minutes stirring in the spices.
- Add the rice and a little more oil if it is too dry.
- Add in the flaked fish, parsley, chopped eggs.
- Warm through on a moderate heat and serve immediately with a sprinkling of black pepper.
The fish in kedgeree is a great source of protein. If you use an oily fish like mackerel you will add in all the benefits of omega 3 oils which are good for the heart, joints and mental health. Eggs, contrary to what many believe is a great food that includes lecithin that has been found to increase "good cholesterol" levels and also carotenoids that could help protect against cancer. There is more on why eggs are unlikely to be bad for health here. The additions of spices give a chance to increase the health benefits. Using the spice turmeric is likely to reduce your risk of colon cancer as well as improving the health of your heart and reducing inflammation in the body.
Onions, coriander, chilli and lemon also have health benefits. All in all the combination of rice with the above ingredients provides a great nourishing meal that can be got out of the fridge and eaten cold or warmed in a pan and eaten hot. It is ideal for athletes as a post race meal, can be used at breakfast as long as you are not following a special low GI diet and coulod also be used as an evening meal. I quite like a plate of kedgeree with some steamed or lightly fried greens such as kale or cabbage.
The smoked fish that is often used in kedgeree contains small amounts of cancer causing substances, called nitrosamines. If you prefer to reduce consumption of smoked foods then a non smoked fish such as fresh haddock, cod, salmon or trout could be used. My own view is that the risks of smoked foods are not that great as explained in my article on smoked foods here. Eating them in moderation 2-3 times per week should keep your risks of any health consequences pretty low indeed.
- As an Indian dish, the use of dal or dried lentils along with the rice, can potentially give it a softer texture and possibly more satisfying.
- It is possible to make a white sauce from milk with added flour and cream. This would be a bit too gooey for my taste, but some people may prefer it that way.
- Yoghurt is another additional ingredient that can be usedl again making the kedgeree wetter as with the white sauce above. The yoghurt would certainly be a better option for those who are reactive to milk.
- Vegetarian Kedgeree: Replacing smoked fish with tofu, beans or lentils or some additional vegetables such as potato and carrots is one way to enjoy this dish if you are vegetarian2.
Kedgeree is easy to make and can be kept for 3-4 days in the fridge1. This makes it an ideal food to make in bulk and save yourself cooking time on subsequent days. Don't put reheated kedgeree back in the fridge.