Lentil kedgeree with slow-cooked eggs & fried curry leaves

by Fiona Smith | Cuisine issue #156
Serves: 4This vegetarian version of kedgeree uses pulses, in the traditional Indian style.

I’ve used the Momofuku method for the slow-cooked eggs – this is very easy, but you do need a thermometer to keep the temperature steady. Alternatively, use regular poached or boiled eggs.

4 eggs, at room temperature
vegetable oil for frying
small handful fresh curry leaves
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups basmati rice
75g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder
400g can lentils or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
150g creme fraiche
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoon chopped chives
juice of 1⁄2 lemon plus extra
wedges to serve

Put a steamer rack or upturned saucer in the base of a large saucepan of water then bring to 60°C. Put the eggs on the rack or saucer then cook, fully submerged, for 45 minutes. If the temperature fluctuates, top up with cold or boiling water. The eggs can be cooked in advance then reheated in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes just before serving.

Heat about 2cm oil in a saucepan. Fry the curry leaves, a few at a time, for 10 seconds – take care as they will spatter. Drain on kitchen paper.

Put 3 cups water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the salt and rice and return to the boil. Stir then cover and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook, without uncovering, for 12 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for a further 5 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and leave to cool.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes until softened. Add the chillies, cardamom and curry powder and fry for 2 minutes, stirring, then add the rice, lentils and paprika and stir to coat and heat through. Finally, stir in the creme fraiche, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt.

Divide the kedgeree among 4 warmed plates. Break a slow-cooked egg over each plate then top with fried curry leaves. Serve with lemon wedges.

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