The first of the blogs … wow … which recipe do I choose … this by far was the hardest decision …
Then I remembered that slip of paper written by my grandparent’s best friend Father O’Sullivan. That slip of paper with the careful folds and the neat handwriting to explain to my mother how to make kedgeree correctly. I knew I had written it in a newsletter … found out that those were the ones we didn’t save a copy, and that hard drive died a horrible death. I tore through all my mother’s cookbooks and recipes. I couldn’t believe that it was gone. Luckily I have made it so many times that I know what the basic ingredients are … with childhood memories of my mother’s encouraging whisper in my ear while I was at the frying pan. “You might need more cream.”
This dish is either meant for brunch or in my mother’s house on Lenten Fridays and cold evenings. It’s a great way to use leftover fish from the night before; we’ve always used haddock, cod or salmon. This is also not the recipe for those who don’t like cream … because there is CREAM.
I use curry for spice and turmeric for color … if you want it less yellow cut back on the turmeric.
Peas … if you ask any person who respects a true pub-style kedgeree … peas are to be served next to it and nowhere inside of it.
Boiling eggs!!! Okay … usually the worst part of boiling the eggs isn’t waiting for them to boil; it’s the peeling. The secret to standard eggs is that you add a tablespoon of baking soda into the water before boiling and the soda helps you peel the eggs when they are warm. This is great unless you have chickens like myself or buy free-range eggs … white vinegar to the rescue; vinegar with really fresh eggs really works wonders in peeling the eggs. I throw about a tablespoon or two into the water before it starts boiling and peel the eggs while they are still warm. The key-word here is WARM. Don’t peel right after taking them off the heat!!! Super bad idea!
Rice … thankfully my mother knew this trick and it got me my first kitchen job in a restaurant with a cook from China. I was hired by Pan to bus tables, and do dishes. One day it was totally crazy and she said as she handed me a pot full of rice, “Fill this up; I will dump the water.” She got super busy with her wok, then she turned around when I had put the pot on the counter and was measuring the water level with my finger. She instantly asked who taught me that, I said my mother; she then handed me a knife and four cabbages, “Do you know how to use a knife?” With my nod she grabbed the pot put it on high heat and watched me out of the corner of her eye while I chopped the cabbages. I spent many a wonderful hour in her kitchen listening to stories about mainland China, her childhood, and tips on cooking fast in a commercial kitchen. She is also the main reason why I started playing with Asian ingredients in my foods as well as exploring different cuisines from different countries.
In this recipe I did measure out the water for you, but if you want to know how to do it without measuring and using your finger … here goes …
First you measure your rice into the pot, then fill it with water, keeping your index-finger tip on top of the rice. When the water reaches the first crease of your finger, you have enough water … like this …
You then bring it to a rolling boil over high heat; after boiling for three minutes, cover and put on low heat until it looks like this with little holes that look like rice craters … if it’s crunchy and burned on the bottom, don’t worry you don’t have to eat that … though Pan kept on telling me it was a snack. A good soaking in water will lift the remaining rice off for easy cleaning.
Father O's Kedgeree
- 2 cups of long-grain rice
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 pound of Haddock -- flaked
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of curry
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of tumeric
- 4 hardboiled eggs -- chopped coarsely
- 1/4 teaspoon of Italian parsley -- chopped fine
- Step 1 Put rice in a quart sauce pan with water, put over high heat until rolling boil, cover and lower heat to minimum.
- Step 2 While rice is cooking, preheat stove to 350 degrees. Put Haddock in an ungreased glass cooking pan and tent with aluminum foil. Place in stove and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from stove and keep tent on because the fish will still cook, and stay warm for the main dish.
- Step 3 When rice is cooked remove from heat.
- Step 4 In a large deep frying pan add cream, curry, turmeric and salt. Mix over low heat, when spices are completely blended add rice and fold into the cream mixture. When rice is a uniform yellow color, add eggs, and gently flake the fish in big chunks into the rice. Slowly fold so not to break up the fish too much. Add parsley. Remove from heat and serve