Let's Eat

Man in the kitchen: Can't refuse this fusion


The term fusion food has come into disrepute in the past few years. Back in the 90s it seemed like every trendy restaurant was combining Pacific Rim cuisine with Sicilian ingredients and coming out with something both expensive and inedible.
You will still occasionally come across a Cajun pizza or a balti pie but thankfully you are less likely to be served up a Thai smorgasbord or a salt beef jalfrezi these days.
However, there are certain fusion dishes which developed over the years naturally and have become classics. One of my favourites is kedgeree. The dish started out life as khichri, an Indian rice and lentil dish which was adapted by the British colonialists in the sub-continent (or more likely their Indian cooks) to become the classic rice and smoked haddock dish served in big country houses.
I love kedgeree and I make it often but mine is a simplified version — just as tasty but easy and quick to make. In fact, it occurs to me that if there are any guys out there looking for something simple but impressive to serve their loved one this could be the one. It ticks all the boxes — low fat, nutritious, and almost foolproof. In fact, the only cooking skill you require is the ability to chop up an onion.
So, first chop up your onion. The key is to have a reasonably finely chopped onion which doesn’t have any bits of skin in it and for your fingers to remain attached to your hands. Fry the chopped onion in about a tablespoon of vegetable oil until it is translucent but not browned. Then add a teaspoon of garam masala, half a teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of salt and pepper before adding a mugful of basmati rice and stirring it to coat with the oil. Add two mugs of boiling water to the rice, and a vegetable stock cube, put the lid on the pan and reduce to the lowest heat to cook for 13 minutes.
Traditionally, smoked haddock is used for kedgeree but I often go for hot-smoked salmon (that’s salmon which is smoked and cooked rather than the type you put on your bagels). Flake about 200g of it and when the 13 minutes is up stir into the rice mixture. Then replace the lid and put back on the heat for two minutes to allow the salmon to warm through.
And that’s it. All you need is coriander to garnish and if you are feeling particularly daring you could also pop a poached egg on top, but on second thoughts probably best not to run before you can walk.

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