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What is Kedgeree?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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Kedgeree is a traditional Anglo-Indian dish which was extremely popular as a breakfast dish among the Victorians. It continues to be available in many parts of Britain, where it is still eaten at breakfast as well as at other times, and it is not uncommon at British-themed meals and events. This dish is relatively easy to make at home, and there are an assortment of variations, for those who like to play with their food.

The base ingredients for kedgeree are: rice, hard boiled eggs, and flaked fish, ideally smoked haddock. The ingredients are mixed together and spiced with curry powder or other ingredients, and the dish can be served cold or hot. Often, the dish is made more rich with the addition of sour cream, and it is not uncommon to see ingredients like onions, saffron, peas, and so forth added to kedgeree. The fish is usually garnished with parsley or cilantro, which may be chopped up and mixed in to distribute the flavor.

This dish is derived from an Indian dish known as khichdi, made with spiced rice and lentils. When British colonists were introduced to the dish, they created their own version, toning down the spice, excluding the lentils, and using fish and eggs as the proteins. Kedgeree is also sometimes called khitchiri or kitcherie.

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While the thought of eating fish for breakfast might seem odd to some modern diners, the Victorians had very sound reasons for doing so. Making kedgeree in the morning allowed cooks to take advantage of the morning's fish catch, ensuring that the fish was as fresh as possible, and smoked fish has long been used to accompany breakfasts in many cultures.

As long as kedgeree contains fish, rice, and eggs, cooks can play with the constituent ingredients and spicing a great deal. For example, seasonally available fresh vegetables could be added, and the dish could be made more or less spicy to taste. For people eating the dish hot, a pat of butter is often an excellent condiment, while cold consumers might prefer a dollop of sour cream and some snipped chives.

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