During the rule of Queen Victoria and era of the British Empire, it was customary for colonials returning from India to have kedgeree for breakfast. Kedgeree is a curry flavoured rice with smoked fish, boiled eggs and butter. We were curious about the roots of this strange morning meal and discovered that in India, they have been tucking into something similar for centuries. The origins of kedgeree lie in a rice dish boiled with beans or lentils with added left overs and scraps. Translation from Hindi of kitchari literally means “mish-mash”, describing the rather random nature of the recipe. An Indian friend once described how their mother would cook kitchari when they were ill, as the lentils have a cleansing effect on the body, the rice would provide energy and the spices and subtle heat makes it comforting.
We were not ill, but felt like having a warming dinner as it was a cold outside. I've cooked kedgeree as a relatively quick to whip up post-gym brunch in the past but on this occasion I wanted to explore its roots.
Traditionally, kitchari would be served on its own, but we accompanied it with Atul Kochar's Tandoori chicken and a cucumber raita.
- 50g basmati rice
- 50g split red lentils
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped leaf coriander
- 750ml vegetable stock
- Combine the rice and lentils in a large bow and wash together. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, heat oil on a low to medium heat in a large pan and add the onion and garlic.
- Drain the water from the rice and lentils and add to the onions and stir
- Add the bay leaf, salt and spices and cook for a further minute.
- Add the hot stock, and turn down to a low heat. Place a lid on the pan and leave it for 12 minutes.
- When cooked the water should been absorbed and the rice should be slightly moist and sticky.
- Sprinkle over with fresh chopped coriander before serving.
|Wine Paring||Errazuriz Estate Shiraz 2009 Aconcagua Valley, Chile
(£8.06 from Waitrose Wines)
For the best results when pairing this type of food with wine, the fragrant and more mellow red fruit flavors and soft tannins will sit alongside the spices without competing. Syrah ticks all these boxes and is a top choice of red for Indian food. Chile is the new dark secret in being able to deliver world class quality wines and you can pick them up at great prices online and from the supermarket.