Begin by frying the onion in a large saucepan. Keep the temperature fairly low and allow the onions to soften, sweeten and turn gold, this may take about 20 minutes. Be patient.
Set aside half of the onions from the pan, turn up the heat and throw in the garlic, cumin and chilli. Stir and, as soon as you can really smell the garlic, add the lentils and enough water to cover them by about 5 cm.
Bring the pot up to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook until the lentils soften and begin to break down. You may have to add a little extra water from time to time if they are getting dry but go carefully, remember that you don’t want to drain away any delicious juices later.
Once the lentils are really soft, and this can take over an hour, have a taste and season with salt, pepper and enough lemon juice to really freshen up the dish. Stir in the coriander leaves and garnish with the remaining sweet fried onions.
Serve piled onto toasted wholemeal bread with a good dollop of natural or soya yoghurt.
Wilt 200 g spinach or Swiss chard per person and serve with the lentils.
Cook 50 g white rice per person, stir in with the lentils and top with a spoonful of zippy harissa and some natural or soya yoghurt.