This traditional Indian dish of fish and rice became popular in England in the Victorian era, when British colonials returned home and started having it for breakfast.
Our version works at all times of day, and is filled with omega-3 fats, zinc and B vitamins. My mother said that this was one of the best kedgerees she’d ever had, and she’s eaten a good number.
This kedgeree can be reheated a day later, and served for breakfast: those Victorians were on to something. It’s useful on those dark days when I don’t feel like eating or cooking first thing, but know it will help me feel more cheerful if I do. There’s something comforting about serving this dish in an individual bowl, which you can cradle.
1. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then run them under cold water to stop them cooking. Leave them to one side.
2. Put the milk, bay leaves and fish fillets in a pan and add enough water to cover the fish. Bring to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer for roughly 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to one side.
3. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, drain it, rinse it in cold water, and then drain it again. Leave it in the fridge until it is needed.
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, curry powder and chilli. Leave the mixture to soften for about 10 minutes on a low heat, adding a little water to the pan to keep the temperature low. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn. Then add the tomatoes and lime juice and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Flake the fish into the pan; quarter the eggs and add these and the rice, too, and gently heat everything through.
6. Serve each portion with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, a generous sprinkle of coriander and parsley and freshly ground black pepper: this may help you absorb the curcumin, the bright yellow chemical in the turmeric.
Together, over 5 years, Alice Mackintosh and I developed recipes that put around 150 nutritional studies into practice. They’ve helped me to become more energised, less anxious, clearer thinking, more balanced and a better sleeper. Our conversations and experiments led to our book the happy kitchen: Good Mood Food.
In it, I share in detail what I have learnt about eating for happiness. By harnessing the power of food to boost my mood, not just on melancholy days, I have been able to stabilise my feelings. Nutrition has become an important element in my holistic approach to staying well.