Just like chili in the US, there are many versions of this recipe, reflecting both its Indian origins and its adaptations by the British. 'Kedgeree' (with fish and eggs) is commonly served as a breakfast dish in the UK. In India, it is a generic lentil and rice dish that may be served at any meal. It's good either way, and this recipe includes directions for both. The British version is also not usually as spicy as any of the originals, but you can adjust the spices to suit yourself.
I wasn't certain whether it would be possible to present both versions of the recipe at one go, but I think I've made the variations plain enough. And you can vary the spices in either one. If you like the traditional British version with fish and eggs, but with less bite than this one, leave off the asafoetida and reduce the ginger, turmeric and cumin. It's traditional to have it at breakfast, but no one can tell you not to serve it at any meal you choose.
For the Indian version with dal
3/4 cup split yellow mung beans (moong dal, or masoor dal, or whatever you have on hand)
-OR- for the British version with fish and eggs
About one pound white fish such as haddock or cod(smoked haddock is traditional in England, but smoked or cured cod is more widely available in the US)
For both versions
2/3 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoon ginger powder
2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1/8 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
bay leaf (either regular or Indian bay leaf)
4 cups water
Handful of fresh cilantro
To make traditional kichri with lentils and rice:
Combine the dal (lentils) and rice in a bowl and rinse with cold water several times until the water runs clear. Cover with water and soak for at least half an hour. Drain well in a sieve and set aside.
Heat the oil or ghee in a medium saucepan or deep frying pan and cooked the chopped onions until translucent. Add the spices and stir them around for a minute or two, to let the flavor and scent develop. Then add the rice and lentils, the bay leaf and water, and cook just until the water is fully absorbed. Scatter fresh chopped cilantro over the top and serve with roti or naan.
For the British version with fish and eggs
Place the fish in a medium frying pan and just cover with water. Bring to to a gentle simmer and hold at that temperature until cooked through, 8-10 minutes depending on how thick the fish is. Gently lift it out of the pan, reserving the water to cook the rice. You want about twice as much liquid as rice, so if the fish liquor isn't sufficient, add enough to make up the difference. Add the bay leaf and cook the rice as usual.
While the rice is cooking, boil 4 eggs and set aside to cool. Peel and cut in half when cool enough to handle.
As above, heat oil or ghee in a medium saucepan or deep frying pan, and cook the chopped onions until transparent. Add the spices and stir them around to let the flavor and scent develop. Then mix in the cooked rice and heat for another minute or two, to allow the flavors to blend. Spoon into a serving dish and arrange the eggs on top. Add fresh chopped cilantro if desired.
This is a good filling breakfast meal all by itself, but is often served with yogurt as a side.