Fusion. It’s the rage in food these days. Instead of sticking to one ethnicity on our plate, we go for regional fusion. Taco pizza. Hamburger sushi. Latke sliders. I’m not sure if these experiments stem from boredom or extensive world travel and the globalization of everything. In either case, our tongues are often left with con-fusion. Sometimes, though, the dish just works.
It’s another one of those days. 5:40 pm and I don’t know what I’m trying to have on the table at 6 other than cucumber sticks. The kids have already had pasta, eggs, and grilled cheese this week. Is there anything healthy I can throw into their diet for a little variety in just twenty minutes? Enter: Red lentils. One of the fastest-cooking and least bean-y legumes in my pantry. For some odd reason, I was thinking of making red lentil burgers, even though I knew there was no time. That idea morphed into sauce at some point between cutting an apple for one child and pouring a drink for another, with the baby tugging on my skirt while I was looking for a pot. I should just make supper at 11 am, right? 😛
Any good supper starts with sauteed onions and garlic. After I added the lentils, water and some tomato paste, I looked up a red lentil recipe to check how long to let it simmer, and a dahl recipe popped up. Two of the kids liked the photo, the same ones who liked the curry chicken I made a few weeks ago, so the lentils that were going to be in a tomato sauce became dahl, which became curry when I decided it needed more texture and might be more enticing for the kids with corn in it. This is rather old-fashioned of me–400 years old-fashioned, actually–but I still think of corn as a North American food, the American Indians teaching the starving Pilgrims how to plant corn and survive their first winter. So, even though there are recipes for corn curry, I still think of this dish as a fusion food. Especially because I served it on couscous, not rice.
P.S. Three kids tasted it, and they all ended up eating couscous with ketchup and cottage cheese. More left for the grownups! 🙂
Red Lentil Fusion Curry Recipe
serves: 8-10 as side dish, 4-6 as main dish
Ready in 20 minutes
1 teaspoon oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
100 grams tomato paste (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups dried red lentils
5 cups water
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried or freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 can corn, with liquid
fresh green herbs such as scallions, parsley, or coriander, for garnish (optional)
- Sautee onion and garlic in oil about 2-3 minutes.
- Add lentils, spices, and tomato paste. Stir for a minute until well combined.
- Add water. Stir. Simmer 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, make couscous.
- Turn off stove. Add coconut milk and can of corn, with liquid. Stir and Let sit for a minute for the flavors to soak together while you dish out couscous and chop herbs, if you’re feeling fancy.
- Serve hot, over rice, or go fusion style and try it with quinoa, couscous, bulgur, or other grain of choice. Garnish with green herbs.