Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan
or cast-iron casserole set over a low to
medium heat. Tip in the onions, garlic and
chilli and stir well. Gently cook for 10-15
minutes, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are soft and very lightly coloured.
Stir all the spices into the onion mixture and gently fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the
lentils and stock, then bring to the boil,
uncovered, over a raised heat. Reduce
to a steady simmer and cook for 15-20
minutes, adding a generous pinch of
sea salt halfway through.
Meanwhile, put the tomato into a mug or
heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water
and leave for 1 minute. Run under cold
water, then strip off the skin. Halve the
tomato, flick out the seeds, then chop the
flesh into a rough mush and set aside.
When the lentils are just tender but the
consistency of the mixture is still sloppy
and juicy (add more stock or water if
necessary), remove the pan from the heat
and fish out as many of the spices as
possible. Season with black pepper,
check to see if more salt is needed, then
stir in the tomato and the herbs.