Each sip of gin and tonic does me good.
With every chilled slurp of quinine goodness, I feel the threat of malaria fade. It also reminds me that we are living in the modern world; with a G and T in hand, I feel a tang of regret that I don’t live as an Englishman in the time of the Raj.
Oh how I would have revelled in the relentless heat of India, days spent playing polo and cricket, evenings at the club swilling IPA from a bent tankard. Of course a medicinal G and T would never be far from my paw and a rip snorting curry would be still tangy and sweet on my lips.
When in this nostalgic mood, I invariably turn to the stove and create the indulgent and warming showstopper of the Raj – Kedgeree.
Kedgeree (feeds 6-8)
3 banana shallots
1 tbs Cayenne pepper, curry powder, saffron (each)
200 ml white wine vinegar
300 white wine
600 fish stock
600 d. Cream
1 banana shallot
1 tbsp curry powder and turmeric
350 grammes rice
800 chicken stock
2 smoked haddocks
1/2 pint of milk
4 hard boiled eggs (boiled for 10 minutes and then grated)
1. I love kedgeree at home as a Sunday evening bite on the sofa. It is also a productive way to dodge the post Sunday lunch lull. I cook with the evocative gin and tonic at hand to increase the authenticity!
2. Place the smoked haddock in a bowl and bring a pan of milk to the boil. Pour the milk over the haddock and cover the bowl with cling film. Read a Sunday supplement….20 minutes will be enough. Then remove the haddock and flake it (careful to remove bones). Set aside.
3. Next to attack is the sauce; sauté the shallots in a hot pan. Once soft, add the spices and cook them off; then, still on a high heat, add the white vinegar and complety reduce to dry pan. Then add the white wine and reduce it to a syrup. Then throw in fish stock, this time reducing by two thirds, and finally the cream. Reduce the cream by half. Pass through a sieve. You should have a delicious neon madras velouté in your kitchen now!
4. The sauce is done and left with cling fling film directly on it to stop a skin forming.
5. Take a le Creuset pot (or any heavy pot) and sauté the shallots in hot oil and add the curry powders. Preheat an oven to 180c .
6. Put in the rice and coat it in the curried oil, then cover in the chicken stock. Put the lid on the Le Creuset and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
7. Once the rice is cooked add the boiled egg, chives, and haddock. Reheat the sauce and serve on the side.
To increase the enjoyment of this dish, turn up the heat in your house and play a recording of John Arlott commentating on Mile Gatting’s infamous dispute with Shakoor Rana. Serve with ice cold lager – preferably Kingfisher or Tiger.
Splendid, I thought.