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Diana Henry / 14 January 2016

Diana Henry shares her recipe for kedgeree, an Anglo-Indian dish of spiced rice, smoked fish and boiled eggs that was a popular Victorian breakfast.

Diana Henry's kedgeree
Diana Henry's kedgeree. Photograph by Laura Edwards, food styling by Joss Herd.

Cooking time

35 minutes




  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • 15g (½oz) butter
  • Seeds from 4 cardamom pods, ground
  • ¾ tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2cm (¾ in) piece cinnamon stick
  • 150g (5oz) basmati rice
  • 350ml (12fl oz) milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 35g (1½oz) Puy lentils
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp single cream
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander and parsley
  • 350g (12oz) hot-smoked salmon, flaked, skin discarded
  • Lime wedges, to serve

For the topping (optional)

  • ½ small onion, very finely sliced
  • ½ tbsp groundnut oil


As kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian dish (originally it was based on a rice and lentil dish called khichri), adding lentils to it takes it back to its Indian roots. 

Fry the chopped onion in the oil and butter over a medium-low heat until soft and golden. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes.

Rinse the rice under running water until the water runs clear, then stir it into the onion. Add the milk and seasoning. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Don’t stir the rice while it’s cooking. 

Put the lentils in a saucepan of boiling water and cook them until tender – about 15 minutes, though it can take a bit longer if the lentils are older. Drain and season.

Boil the eggs for 6 minutes, then cool, peel and quarter them.

Check whether the rice is cooked by tasting a little: if it’s hard in the centre, add more water and cook for a bit longer.

If making the topping, fry the sliced onions in hot oil until they are dark and golden.

Add the cream, herbs, lentils and salmon to the cooked rice, fork through and gently heat everything together. Top with the hard-boiled eggs and strew with the fried onions, if using. Serve with lime wedges.


Kedgeree reheats well – I do it in the microwave with another couple of tablespoons of cream – though you should never keep rice dishes for more than a couple of days and always reheat them thoroughly.

Cooking tips

Hot-smoked salmon, long popular in Scandinavia and now widely available here, is cooked while it’s smoked, so you don’t have to do anything more to it – except warm it if you want to eat it hot. I often buy a couple of hot-smoked salmon fillets (supermarkets usefully sell them in packs of two) and serve them with cooked beetroot or lentils. 

Flaked hot-smoked salmon is also good for filling an omelette or making a pilaf or a risotto. Discard the skin first or, instead of buying fillets, buy tubs of it already flaked – these are really great value. As the salmon is already cooked it’s very easy to use and adding it to rice means a little goes a long way.

If you use smoked haddock or cod instead of salmon you need to cook the fish before eating it. I prefer to buy them from the fishmonger. I’ve always found the quality better, and a good fishmonger will sell stuff that is un-dyed: good smoked cod and haddock should have a pale golden hue that the smoke imparts, not that strong yellow colour the dyed stuff has.

You can either heat them in a low oven or in a knob of butter in a frying pan over a gentle heat. A spoonful of sour cream or some buttermilk with chopped dill stirred into it is good on the side. This makes a great quick meal; it’s one of my ‘run-round-the-supermarket-at-the-end-of-the-day’ suppers, and a healthy one as well.

See our fish and seafood recipe collection for more delicious ideas, or try other salmon recipes including hot-smoked salmon blinis, hot-smoked salmon chowder or beetroot and hot-smoked salmon salad.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.