Serves 4 to 6.
4 cups red lentils (Masoor Dal) picked over for stones
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion sliced and 1/2 an onion diced
4 bay leaves
4 3inch cinnamon sticks
1 diced garlic clove
1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger
1 tps. cayenne pepper
1 lemon - squeeze out the juice, but save the halves
8 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock (and maybe more hot water or stock as it cooks)
maybe salt depending on your stock (don't add it until the end because most stock is really salty)
Step 1: Saute the Onions and Garlic
Step 2: Toast the Spices
Step 3: Simmer
I often have to add 2 more cups of hot water because I like it like a soup. If you want it to be a side dish you just have to stir it more frequently at the end to avoid adding the extra water.
I freeze this for lunches later, but it's very important to remove the lemon halves (and cinnamon sticks) after it has cooked or else they can make all the leftovers bitter.