I only managed to meal plan Friday through until Tuesday this past week, and as Wednesday arrived two choices presented themselves; an on-the-hoof smoked salmon pasta bake or a takeaway. By lunchtime the smoked salmon was looking very appealing sat in the fridge alongside a pot of cream cheese - so the Indian takeaway became the front runner for dinner.
Fortuntely our meal from the Rajdhani Spice restaurant in Coldstream, also delivered the inspiration I needed for this evening's meal. The sole criteria; a dish that my 13 year old son would eat in its entirety.
I've previously associated kedgeree with Scottish cuisine and it turns out that we do owe the Scots for the introduction of smoked haddock into an ancient Indian comfort food; khichuri. Food historian Dr. Mohsina Mukadam, a pioneer in the documentation of Indian food culture and cuisines, describes khichuri as "one of the most ancient foods in India".
During the British Raj, khichuri metamorphosed from a meal of spiced lentils, rice and onions into a breakfast dish garnished with chopped eggs favoured by British colonials. Having made its way back to Victorian Britain sans the lentils, kedgeree became fashionable; it's the first dish we see Mrs Patmore serve to the Earl of Grantham for breakfast in episode 1, series 1 of Downtown Abbey!
The first reference to kedgree in the UK is thought to appear in the recipe book of Stephana Malcolm, from Burnfoot, near Langholm in Dumfriesshire which she started in 1790. Her family were closely connected to India; her brother, General Sir John Malcolm, started his career (1783) as an ensign in the Madras Army of the Honourable East India Company, and went on to hold the office of Governor of Bombay (1827-1830).
Malcolm's recipe book is accessible online at the National Library of Scotland and leaves me wanting to explore and recreate some of the recipes she documented further.
For this evening's meal I fashioned my own kedgeree for 4 (with leftovers for lunch tomorrow) from 2 large smoked haddock fillets poached in milk, 1 brown onion softened in a generous lump of butter, 300g brown basmati rice, 1 heaped tsp of madras curry powder (only lightly spiced for the kids), stock, four boiled eggs roughly chopped and some salt and pepper. My version wasn't far off Malcolm's receipe (reproduced below).
Mince into very small pieces a large cold boiled Haddock or bit of cod, Haddock is best, add to it 4 hard boiled Eggs also minced, boil a large Tea Cup full of Rice, drain & dry it nicely, melt in a stew Pan a piece of butter the size of an Egg, make the Mince very hot in it, mixing with it very lightly the Rice, season with salt and a little Cayenne Pepper, & serve very hot, heaped very lightly on a dish.
Good to eat, but perhaps most gratifying, my son ate the lot!