Autumn Menu: Stephen Barrett – Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree

Kedgeree of Smoked Mackerel

Originating in India and probably known as Kitcherie or Kitchari this Hindi dish was certainly made for a vegetarian or vegan diet. Sometimes made with moong dal (green lentils) or massor dal (red lentils) it found its way into the kitchens of the Empire in the mid-Victorian period of true excess. It became a breakfast dish and finally found its way back to Blighty. Rice was the then favoured main ingredient with a flake of smoked haddock and turmeric thrown in for good measure.
This is how dishes are created or perhaps re-constructed to suit an eager nation not that everyone in Victorian times could afford such luxuries.
My version came about by accident when my favoured ingredient of organic long grain brown rice had temporarily dried up! The extraordinary helpful and knowledgeable shop owner recommended short-grain brown rice (often known as Italian rice) as a substitute. I used it and never looked back! For stockist go to the excellent Continental Food Stores in Cornwall Street, Plymouth or any good wholefood deli.
So, off I went to cook and found a product I have been using ever since to great effect. My regular choice of fish in my Kedgeree is Smoked Mackerel but almost any fish will do.
Make it in a sauté or frying pan and serve directly for breakfast or lunch.

Kedgeree for two


150g of cooked short-grain brown rice.
1 roughly chopped small onion
Scant amount of sunflower oil
1 level tablespoon full of mild curry paste.
1 fillet of Smoked Mackerel
I beaten egg with same volume of milk/cream
Seasoning to taste
Boiled egg
Mayonnaise for garnish

Boil 150g of well-washed short grain rice in plenty of water with half a teaspoon of dried Turmeric and a small amount of salt stirred in.

Check rice after 30 minutes – it should be cooked through but not fully broken up. Remove, wash and drain. Cool if required for another time.

On a moderate heat cook the onion in a suitable sauté or frying pan for two minutes.

Add mild curry paste stir and cook for one minute.

Add cooked rice and fold over for three minutes.

Add flaked Smoked Mackerel and cook for another minute.

Add egg/milk mixture fold over and cook for another minute.
Season to taste.

Remove to suitable under plate, garnish with sliced boiled egg and a dollop of mayonnaise.

Serve with a cool white wine of some substance perhaps a Verdejo from Ribera del Duero.

My recent tasting note for this style of wine read “apple scented fruit – do not serve too cold allowing the flavours to develop”.

Or a chilled glass of Manzanilla Sherry served in a large glass!

Stephen Barrett is the owner of Bistro 1 in Plymouth.

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