This smoked tofu kedgeree is a vegetarian version of an Anglo-Indian dish from the Victorian era, which is usually made with curried rice, boiled eggs and smoked fish!
I imagine kedgeree is a dish that a lot of you won’t be familiar with. It’s an Anglo-Indian dish, so it’s only really known in the UK – but I think that should change! If you’re unfamiliar with kedgeree, read on, and I’ll tell you how this smoked tofu kedgeree came about.
What is kedgeree?
Kedgeree is thought to have been brought to Victorian Britain in the 1800s, by British colonials who were inspired by the food they’d enjoyed in India – in particular, a rice and lentil dish called khichdi.
As we Brits are wont to do, we changed the dish beyond all recognition, gave it an Anglicised name, and claimed it as our own. And thus, kedgeree was born!
Kedgeree is usually made with smoked fish, along with mildly curried rice and boiled eggs. Obviously I wasn’t going to put fish in my vegetarian version though, so I used smoked tofu instead!
Smoked tofu kedgeree
To begin making your tofu kedgeree, just fry off some smoked tofu in a pan, along with some onion, garlic and ginger.
You really do need to use smoked tofu, rather than plain, if you can find it. It brings a lot of flavour to the dish, and mimics the smoked fish you’d usually find in kedgeree. If you can’t find smoked tofu, just use regular tofu, but make sure you add some extra smokiness elsewhere instead – perhaps a dash of liquid smoke (Amazon UK* / Amazon US*).
Unlike when I cook tofu for a saucy dish, you don’t want to overcook the tofu here, as you don’t want the final dish to end up feeling dry. Just cook it enough that it ends up as little soft pockets of that smoky flavour, which will be amazing scattered through the curried rice.
How to cook rice like pasta
Next, add cooked rice.
I’m going to admit something here that will probably get my food blogger card revoked: I cook rice in exactly the same way as I cook pasta. Put it in a pan with lots of water (you want it to have plenty of room to swim around), boil it until it’s cooked, then drain away the excess water.
People seem to have very strong opinions about how to cook rice, and this is never the method they’re arguing for – but this is how I’ve always cooked rice, along with every other British person I know. Rice cookers aren’t really a thing here (I’d actually never even heard of a rice cooker until I was about 20!), and this just seems like the simplest method to me – there’s no need to carefully measure the water, or worry about the rice sticking and burning, or accurately counting the minutes. Just boil it, and drain. Easy peasy.
And most importantly, it gives perfect rice every time. It’s not sticky or gloopy, it’s not crunchy, or overcooked… it’s just perfectly cooked rice.
When the rice is ready, add it to the pan with the curried tofu. At this point, you can add a good knob of butter, which coats the rice and helps it all to become glossy and irresistible.
Finally: Boiled eggs
The finishing touch is some hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges that nestle nicely in amongst the rice.
I know, kedgeree seems a bit random really, doesn’t it, but it works!
I boiled my eggs for about 11 minutes, and ended up with a firm, but not overly hard, yolk. You can cook them for a little longer if you like, or cook them for less time if you prefer a gooey yolk. I bet it would coat the rice beautifully.
Sprinkle plenty of fresh parsley on top, and your kedgeree is ready!
How to serve kedgeree
No, kedgeree is more of an ‘eat it on its own’ sort of thing. Supposedly, the Victorians would eat it for breakfast, but I’m not sure I could face such a hearty meal early in the morning – I’d definitely serve it for lunch or dinner, myself.
How to adapt this smoked tofu kedgeree recipe
As you may know, I’m no food purist – I believe foodie rules are there to be broken (see also: how I cook rice).
So as long as you end up with a tasty dish at the end of it, feel free to mix up your smoked tofu kedgeree however you like. You could add some spring onions, a few wedges of fresh tomato, a dollop of mango chutney… whatever you feel like.
Actually, something that’s often included in kedgeree is sultanas / raisins. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but curry+sultanas is actually an amazing combination that we Brits seem to like quite a lot (like in another of my super duper British recipes, coronation tofu sandwiches). Try it yourself before you turn up your nose!
Will you be trying this smoked tofu kedgeree?
Smoked tofu kedgeree
- 300 g (~ 1 1/2 cups) long grain white rice (e.g. basmati)
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp ginger paste (or minced fresh ginger)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 225 g (~ 8 oz) smoked extra firm tofu, cut into chunks
- 2 tsp mild curry powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
- Black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp water
- Few sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lemon (juice only)
- Boil the rice in plenty of water until it’s just tender, stirring every few minutes. When it’s cooked, drain any excess water, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, boil the eggs in their shells for around 10-11 minutes. Drain away the boiling water, and rinse the eggs a few times in cold water. Set aside until they’re cool enough to touch.
- While the rice and eggs are cooking, heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan, and add the sliced onion, ginger, garlic and smoked tofu. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until the onion is soft. Add the curry powder, smoked paprika, crumbled stock cube (or just salt, if you don’t have stock cubes), and plenty of black pepper. Cook for a minute or two longer.
- When the rice is cooked, add it to the pan with the tofu, along with a good knob of butter and a splash of water. Mix well, and allow to cook over a gentle heat until the butter has melted and coated the rice nicely.
- Peel the eggs, rinse off any fragments of shell, then slice them, and add to the pan. Also add some fresh chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently mix everything together, and serve immediately.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.
We Brits often put our own spins on international dishes – like our chip shop Chinese curry!
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