How to Prepare a Classic British Kedgeree with Smoked Haddock?

Kedgeree, a hearty and flavourful British dish with a rich pedigree, provides a culinary journey to the colonial times of the Empire. Derived from the Indian rice and lentil dish ‘khichdi’, the British modified it into a breakfast dish, using smoked haddock instead of lentils. Today, let’s unravel the process of making this classic British kedgeree so you can bring a taste of British history to your own table.

Gathering Your Ingredients

Before you start any recipe, it is crucial to gather all the necessary ingredients. For this kedgeree, you will primarily need smoked haddock, rice, eggs, butter, curry powder, and some basic seasoning.

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Smoked haddock is the star of this dish, providing the robust flavour that is key to the kedgeree. The smoke-dried process it undergoes adds a unique taste not found in other fish. When purchasing your haddock, opt for naturally smoked fish to avoid any artificial flavours.

The other key element is rice. Use long-grain rice for the best results, as it holds its shape well during cooking and absorbs the smoky flavour of the haddock.

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The curry powder brings heat and complexity to the dish, while the eggs add texture and richness. And lastly, butter is used for sauteing and also adds a final touch of richness to the dish.

Starting the Cooking Process

With your ingredients at the ready, it’s time to start cooking. The first step is to cook your rice. While some recipes might suggest cooking the rice and fish together, it is best to cook the rice separately to ensure it is cooked perfectly.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add some salt, then add your rice. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Next, cook your smoked haddock. Place the fish in a pan large enough to fit it comfortably. Cover it with water, bring the pan to simmer and cook the fish for around 10 minutes. Once it’s cooked, remove the fish, reserving the liquid for later use. Flake the fish into large chunks, being careful to remove any bones.

Preparing the Curry Powder and Eggs

Now, turn your attention to the curry powder and eggs. The curry powder needs to be cooked a bit to release its full flavour. Do this by heating some butter in a pan and adding the curry powder. Stir for a minute or two until the spice is well mixed with the butter and its aroma fills your kitchen.

Following this, boil your eggs. Place them in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Once cooked, drain the eggs, cool them under running water, then peel and chop them.

Bringing the Kedgeree Together

You’ve cooked your rice, prepared your smoked haddock, spiced your butter with curry, and boiled your eggs. Now, the final step is to combine all these elements to make your kedgeree.

Return your spiced butter to the heat. Add the cooked rice and mix well, ensuring all grains are coated with the curried butter. Add some of the liquid reserved from cooking the fish – this will help to moisten the rice and also infuse it with additional flavour.

Next, add your flaked haddock and chopped eggs to the pan. Stir gently to avoid breaking up the fish and eggs too much. Cook for a few more minutes until everything is heated through.

Finishing Touches

Although the kedgeree is essentially complete, a few finishing touches can take your dish from good to excellent. One of these is the addition of more butter just before serving. This makes the kedgeree extra rich and glossy.

Another is the use of fresh herbs. Freshly chopped parsley, for instance, not only adds a pop of colour but also provides a fresh counterpoint to the rich and smoky flavours of the kedgeree.

Last, but not least, adjust the seasoning. Taste your kedgeree, then add salt and pepper as needed. A squeeze of lemon juice can also lift the flavours and balance the richness of the dish.

Remember, cooking is as much about the process as the final result. So, take your time, enjoy each step, and look forward to a deliciously rewarding British kedgeree at the end of it.

Upgrading Your Kedgeree with Additional Ingredients

Spice up the traditional kedgeree recipe by incorporating a few additional ingredients. While the basics of a good kedgeree lie in the smoked haddock, curry powder, eggs, and rice, there’s room for a little more creativity. For instance, cardamom pods and bay leaves can intensify the dish’s aromatic profile. Both can be added when you cook the rice, infusing it with their distinctive flavours.

If you want to add more gusto to your kedgeree, consider including some vegetables. Peas or green beans, blanched and refreshed in cold water, can add a crisp, fresh contrast to the rich, smoky haddock.

Another great addition is onions. Sauté them in butter until they’re soft and golden before adding your curry powder. This will create a more complex flavour base for your kedgeree.

An upgrade to the rice variety can also enhance your kedgeree. Although long-grain rice is typically used, basmati rice can provide an even better result, thanks to its fragrance and fluffy texture after cooking.

Remember that these additions should not overpower the key elements: the smoked haddock and the curry powder. Their purpose is to complement and highlight, not to overshadow. After all, a traditional British kedgeree with smoked haddock is about the harmonious balance of flavours.

Serving and Enjoying Your Kedgeree

After the time needed for the preparation and cooking process, which will take approximately 45 minutes, your delightful kedgeree is ready to serve.

Traditionally, kedgeree is served hot, right from the pan. However, it can also be enjoyed at room temperature. This flexibility makes it an excellent choice for brunch, lunch, or a light dinner.

To serve, simply dish it out onto a plate or in a shallow bowl. If you’ve opted to add the finishing touch of fresh parsley, now is the time to sprinkle it on top. Similarly, a wedge of lemon served on the side allows each person to adjust the acidity to their liking.

Pair your kedgeree with a mildly flavoured beverage so as not to compete with the dish’s robust flavours. A light, crisp white wine or a cold lager would work wonderfully.

In the end, the joy of cooking and consuming a traditional dish like a British kedgeree with smoked haddock lies not only in its delicious taste but also in the historical and cultural journey it represents. So, as you dig into your plate of kedgeree, remember to savour each bite, appreciating the blend of flavours and the history that comes with it.


Preparing a traditional British kedgeree with smoked haddock is not just about cooking a dish; it’s about exploring a part of history. With each ingredient you gather and every step you take in the cooking process, you are re-enacting a culinary tradition that dates back to colonial times. Whether you keep it classic or add a few twists of your own, the result is a dish that’s rich in flavours and history. So, don’t delay – gather your ingredients and bring a taste of the British Empire to your table.

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