1 c masoor dal (peeled orange lentils)
4 c water
3 thick slices ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, sliced into rounds
1 handful green beans, trimmed, parboiled, and refreshed
1 small onion, halved and sliced thinly
1/2 c grated coconut
1-2 tbs tamarind paste
1/4 c chopped clinatro
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs black mustard seeds
5 or 6 cherry tomatoes
2 or 3 green chilies (serrano or Thai), minced
Rinse dal in cold water and drain. Add to 4 c boiling water, along with the turmeric, a slice of ginger and about 2/3 of the garlic and onion. Cook over low heat for 1/2 hour or until the lentils have lost their bright color and are falling apart. Run an immersion blender through lightly (the soup doesn't have to be ultra-smooth). Add carrots and coconut, continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the carrots are not quite done. Add the green beans, the remainder of the onion, the coriander, the tamarind paste, the cayenne, and the cumin. Cook until the carrots are tender.
Slice the tomatoes in half, add to the soup. Mince the remaining ginger. In a small fry pan, heat a tablespoon or two of oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Add the garlic and ginger. While the spices are cooking, toss the cilantro into the soup. When the ginger and garlic begin to brown, pour the pan contents into the soup (it makes a satisfying "Koooosh!" sound). Mix in well, add a teaspoon or two of salt. Check seasoning, adjust salt if necessary, then turn off the fire and squeeze in the juice from half of the lemon. Make slices from the other half for garnish.
Top each bowl of soup with some cilantro leaves and a lemon slice. This soup is particularly good with idlis (steamed farina/coconut dumplings).