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Smoked haddock with Indian scented lentils

Serves 4-6

This, with its English and Indian flavours, was inspired by kedgeree. There is a little cream in it. You can either reduce it if you’re bothered about your fat intake, or increase it a little if you’re not (remember, fat is not as demonized as it once was).


You will need:

  • 2 large onions
  • 15g (½oz) butter
  • 3 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ground seeds of 10 cardamom pods
  • 125g (4 ½oz) waxy potatoes, peeled (if you can be bothered) and cut into chunks
  • 100g (3 ½oz) bulgar wheat
  • 1 litre (1 ½pints) well-flavoured chicken stock (preferably home-made)
  • salt and pepper
  • 150g (5 ½oz) Puy lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 50ml (2fl oz) double cream
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) smoked haddock fillet, skinned, cut into big chunks
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp groundnut or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • juice of ½ lime, plus lime wedges to serve


  1. Finely chop one of the onions and cut the other into fine slices. Heat the butter in a saucepan and sauté the chopped onion until soft and slightly coloured. Add the spices and cook for another two minutes. Add the potatoes, bulgar and stock and bring to the boil. Season. Reduce the heat to medium and leave to simmer gently until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the lentils into a pan on their own and cover with water. Bring to the boil, add the bay, then reduce the heat and simmer the lentils until just tender. This could take 15 minutes, it could take 30 (it depends on the age of the lentils). When they are ready, drain them and season well. Add the lentils and the cream to the potato and bulgar wheat ‘broth’ to heat through, then add the fish and allow it to poach gently until cooked, about two minutes. Stir in most of the coriander.
  3. While the fish is cooking, quickly fry the sliced onion over a high heat in the oil until golden. Add the sugar and allow it to caramelize and the onions to get darker. Squeeze on the lime juice.
  4. Divide the stew between warmed dishes, spoon the caramelized onions on top of each serving and scatter with the remaining coriander. Offer wedges of lime alongside.

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