Serious Eats: Recipes

Meat Lite: Smoky Kedgeree, With or Without Fish

Editor's note: Philadelphia food writers Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond drop by each week with Meat Lite, which celebrates meat in moderation. Meat Lite was inspired by their book, Almost Meatless.

If world history curriculum depended on recipes instead of textbooks, I surely would have retained more of the landscape of the past.

Take kedgeree. It's considered an "Anglo-Indian" dish and the result of the clashing and melding of cultures during the British rule of the Indian subcontinent from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s. The original Indian rendition was meatless, fervently spiced rice and lentils. When the British came to know it, they doctored it to their liking, adding smoked fish, hard-boiled eggs and cream, and nixing the native spices for a dish they turned to for breakfast or a light supper.

The details of that whole century of conflict, supposedly picked up through high school required reading, slipped through my brain like sugar through a wide-holed colander.

I discovered kedgeree (and rediscovered history) over Sunday brunch at The Kitchen in Boulder, Colorado. The savory description--curried rice, smoked trout, and parsley--wooed me away from the toffee French toast or almond buttermilk waffles. I thought it an unusual addition to the brunch menu until I learned that executive chef Hugo Matheson hails from England, where kedgeree is still a popular breakfast comfort food held over from the bygone days of the British Raj.

Aside from proving a nifty and delicious brush up on yesteryear, the bowl of kedgeree was a perfect candidate for a Meat Lite recipe. Just a bit of fish offers flavor and texture and blends with other compelling ingredients for a satisfying meal.

If you don't like something in particular (fish, smoked paprika, eggs), take a page from the history books and customize your bowl like the British did.

About the author: Tara Mataraza Desmond writes about, cooks, and eats food for a living. Her blog, Crumbs On My Keyboard is dedicated to delicious things in Philadelphia and lots of other places.

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