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Heat the oil in a saucepan, fry the cumin seed for half a minute. Add the finely chopped onion and garlic and fry until the onion turns brown.
Add the lentils and the other spices, fry for 20 seconds, add the water and bring to a boil.
Simmer for one hour or until the lentils are tender.
Add the salt and a knob of butter and cook for another 5 minutes.
If you like a smooth consistency, you can blend the mixture with a blender.