Kedgeree has long been our Christmas Day breakfast – the waft of spices and the cheery yellow of the eggs feel celebratory – but we eat it for dinner all year round.
Back in India it was originally a vegetarian dish of lentils and rice; the smoked fish and eggs were only added to suit British tastes. I like the mix of smoke with the spice, so I roast celeriac with smoked salt and stir it through; I use Anglesey’s Halen Môn smoked salt, but if you can’t find it, normal salt will do. I keep my eggs pretty runny, but if you like them firm, boil them for another minute or two.
To make this vegan, as I do for my brother and sister, leave out the eggs and use oil, not butter. If you can’t find curry leaves it will be delicious without them too
1 large celeriac
coconut oil, butter or ghee
smoked sea salt, or your normal sea salt
2 cloves of garlic
2 green chillies
2 bay leaves
20 curry leaves (optional)
8 cardamom pods
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 teaspoons ground turmeric
400g basmati rice
6 free-range or organic eggs
8 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
the juice of 2 lemons
a bunch of fresh parsley
a bunch of fresh coriander
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Get all your ingredients and equipment together. Fill and boil a kettle.
Thickly peel the celeriac, getting rid of any green bits, and cut it into 2cm pieces. Put it on a baking tray with a knob of coconut oil or butter, a hefty pinch of smoked salt and a good grind of black pepper and roast for 30 minutes, until tender.
Peel and finely chop the onions and slice the garlic and chillies. Heat a good knob of coconut oil, butter or ghee in a large, ovenproof pan with a lid. Add the onions, garlic, bay and curry leaves and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add the bashed cardamom pods and coriander seeds, the turmeric, chillies and a couple of hearty pinches of smoked salt and stir for another 3–4 minutes on a medium heat until the spices smell great. Take a tablespoonful of the onion mixture out of the pan and put aside for later.
Turn the heat up, add the rice and a little more oil if needed, and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Pour in 1 litre of boiling water from the kettle – you want the water to come about 1cm above the rice, so you may need a little more or a little less. Bring to a simmer. Put the lid on and put the whole lot into the oven with the celeriac for 20–25 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, boil the eggs. I boil my eggs in a pan of boiling water for 6 minutes for runny yolks, but cook a little longer if you like them firmer. Cool the eggs in cold water to stop them cooking, then peel and keep to one side.
Mix the yoghurt with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of smoked salt and the spoonful of spices and onions you set aside earlier.
Once the celeriac and rice have had their time, take them both out of the oven and stir the celeriac through the fluffy rice along with the chopped herbs and the rest of the lemon juice. Cut the eggs in half and lay them on top, then pop the lid back on to keep everything warm. Serve in the middle of the table, with the yoghurt for spooning over.
This recipe is from A Modern Way to Cook.
Image: Matt Russell