An anchor for New Beer’s Day

Melding Jamie Oliver, Indian nuances and brewing on New Year’s Day

Some people were feeling a little rough on New Year’s Day. With luck in my court, I was good enough to spend the day brewing. Quality, not quantity, after all. My extract-brewing cousin Matt came down for the weekend and we fired up a few beers, some cheese, and whatever else came to mind in an easy to put together way. New Year’s Day was all about brewing the Munich dunkel, and bumping Matt up to all-grain (and tutoring Todd–who’s got his first batch on the horizon.)

My buddy Todd came over in advance of his first brew day--his equipment is on the way!

But it was the morning after. If you’re like me, you buy celery pretty much once a year. And after you’ve sorted your dressing, you have some left. Day after Thanksgiving Bloody Mary’s are good, and use up excess celery. But here we were with another good Bloody Mary Day, friends gathered and the need to put a lager in the fermenter.

But what to eat? Yes, the perfect hangover food: kedgeree. I suppose I first heard of kedge after my Buzzin’ Cuzzin, Suzannah, brought be back the January 2004 debut issue of Delicious magazine on her return from what must have been a semester studying in London.

My buddy Jamie Oliver fires up his New Year’s Eve plan in said issue, and I’m pretty quickly all over this one, as it truly sounded a good post-imbibe chow. Michelle didn’t believe me; she was wrong. Along with with day-after cask ale, kedge has the brewvana stamp of approval for Hangover Goodness.

Huh?

For those unacquainted, what is kedgeree? Kedgeree is an Anglo-Indian rice and delicious-ness addled dish, inspired, it would seem, by Indian kitchari (though it’s spelled a million other ways).

Kitchari is an Indian Indian comfort food used to purify digestion and cleanse systemic toxins, according to Yoga Journal. Basically, it consists of basmati rice, dal, ginger, cilantro and a flexible handful of soft, lovely spices. Kitchari means “mixture,” and this dish can take a number of forms, depending on your healing needs. Ayurvedic (Indian science of life) medicine says it’s simple, nourishing and easy to digest.

To me, this has hangover cure written all over it.

The Anglo-fied kedgeree incorporates smoked haddock and eggs. Jamie’s wowed me, though I’ve tweaked the recipe some to meet my needs. One, I don’t measure stuff in grams. Two, my fish choices in Iowa are sorta bass and bullheads. I’ve taken to using smoked salmon–though I saw tins of kippers, smoked herring, the other day and bought some for a snack, and I’ll quickly switch to that next time around. You can find it right by the sardines, which most Americans don’t really buy. My boys like to chow them on camping trips for the novelty factor, but the fact is: they’re tasty. I’ve thought about tossing in bacon, for the smoke and yum factor, though I don’t know if that will do as good a job of cleansing my system.

Anyway, here’s the flexible plan:

basmati rice, hard-boiled eggs, onions, butter, coriander seeds, cumin, black mustard seeds, fresh ginger, fresh red chilis, cilantro, fresh bay leaves, black pepper corns, juice of one lemon, smoked haddock

Whatever looks and tastes right to you. This ain’t no anal recipe. It’s good and good for you. I started the day with a Bloody Mary, then switched to Ommegang’s Hennepin Saison and Metropolitan’s Dynamo Copper Lager, and both were good matches, but you and I both know the saison really shined. However, maybe an Anchor Steam would have been most appropriate…at least if you’re into etymology.

PS–I’m curious what you Brits have to say on this one. I am but a humble American. Wikipedia says there are disputed sources that say the dish actually originated in Scotland. Then became popular with the English in India and returned to the UK. What the hell do I know? What do you know?

4 Responses to An anchor for New Beer’s Day

  1. Bailey says:

    Boak’s the real expert on kedgeree (she always makes it in our house) but, as far as I know, it originated in India. Jamie Oliver puts spice and chili in his, which we don’t.

    Here’s Mrs Beeton’s recipe:

    Ingredients. Any cold fish (dried haddock is generally preferred) ;
    to i Ib. of fish allow of a Ib. of rice, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 ozs. of butter,
    salt and pepper, cayenne.

    Method. Boil and dry the rice, divide the fish into small flakes,
    cut the whites of the eggs into slices, and rub the yolks through a wire
    sieve. Melt the butter in a ste’wpan, add to it the fish, rice, whites of
    eggs, salt, pepper and cayenne, and stir the ingredients over the fire
    until hot. Turn the mixture on to a hot dish, press it into a pyra-
    midical form with a fork, decorate with the yolk of egg, and serve as
    hot as possible.

    Time. From 40 to 50 minutes. Average Cost, lod. to is. 2d.
    Allow i Ib. fish for 5 or 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.

  2. Wilson says:

    Thanks, Bailey.

    After I posted this, I got to thinking about another New Year’s Day tradition, which I guess is an American South thing: Hoppin’ John. It’s basically rice and black-eyed peas, and seems to me yet another morphed version of kitchari, utilizing ingredients at hand, though this one promises good luck if consumed on New Year’s Day. For those with a penchant for a little kick of heat, you can spank it and call it Hoppin Juan.

  3. Bailey says:

    My Dad (likes loads of British blokes of his generation) is obsessed with Blues music and he came across a recipe for Hoppin’ John in some book or other. He used to make it a couple of times a year when I was a kid. I liked it, especially when he got heavy handed with the Tabasco….

  4. Boak says:

    Just to add that my dad’s recipe is a lot closer to Mrs Beeton than to Jamie, except we add celery salt, not cayenne. I guess more Anglo than Indian in this interpretation. But I’ve had other, spicier versions.

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