We can all agree that the practices of colonization and slavery are not something to be proud of. However, some interesting fusion recipes have come out of those cultural mergers through the years. For instance, many traditional foods from the southern U.S. are based on ingredients and cooking styles brought over from West Africa by the slaves. When two different cultures are tied together that tightly you can’t help but start to adapt some of the ‘other’, and it can make for some delightful combinations. [Hey, I'm trying to look for the silver lining here, not by any means justifying ANY of that horrible history!]
Take kedgeree, for example. Historians (at least those writing wikipedia articles…) don’t seem to be sure if it originated in India and was taken back to the UK, or visa versa. I didn’t have time to fully research this, so if others of you have insights, let me know – I’m very curious. However it happened, it’s delicous! Here’s the dish as I had it for the first time in Philadelphia this summer – curried rice and vegetables and smoked fish, served with hardboiled eggs and Greek yogurt.
My first attempt at making kedgeree was this weekend. Unfortunately I don’t have an exact recipe to share with you – I skimmed a bunch of web recipes and then proceeded to make it up as I cooked… so I won’t claim authenticity. Here’s the basic recipe I followed;
1) Saute onion, cumin seeds and green Anaheim chiles in generous amount of canola oil until translucent (plus I would have added celery if I had some on hand).
2) Add dry basmati rice and sprinkle generously with curry powder, saute for another minute or two, stirring constantly. I also added some ground cumin and a dash of ginger, just because. Oh, and a sprinkle of salt at this point too.
3) Add the amount of water needed to cook the rice, stir well, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so. This is likely where you’d also add some tomato and spinach.
4) When the liquid is almost absorbed, stir in frozen peas and cover to finish cooking. Taste and add more salt and black pepper if needed. I stirred in some flaked smoked salmon and topped with a hard boiled egg. Some recipes have you stir in a bit of cream at the end, but I didn’t want the extra fat.
And here’s how mine turned out, not bad!
I had forgotten about the tomato and spinach in the one I tasted in Philadelphia, but it’s pretty good even with just peas and onion. When I make this again, I’ll definitely add the celery and other veggies, and probably also cook the smoked salmon with the rice rather than just sprinkling on top. I’m sure it would also be good with green beans or squash.
Just so you know that I didn’t stray completely off the path from the International Festival cookbook plan, I was reminded that I wanted to try making kedgeree after I saw a recipe in our cookbook for Scottish Cauliflower Salad – which also involves curry. It threw me for a loop briefly, but then I remembered some of the history of how curry came to the UK.
In this salad, cauliflower is thinly sliced, along with carrots, green onions and parsley. The vegetables are tossed with a simple oil and vinegar dressing made with some curry powder. Let the salad sit for at least an hour to soak up the flavors, then serve.