Wash 1 cup of red lentils and discard the water. Do this 2-3 times. Soak lentils in room temperature water for 1-2 hours to expedite the cooking process.
Discard the soaking liquid—this reduces phytic acid present in many grains and legumes, which acts as an anti-nutrient and can prevent mineral absorption.
In a medium pot, add soaked lentils, 5 cups of water, ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric, 2 black peppercorns, and a pinch of asafetida. Bring the mixture to a boil, skimming any foam that arises. Boil vigorously for 5 minutes, continuing to take off the foam—this will reduce gassiness!
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover partially, and cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are dissolved. Note: If using a pressure cooker, use 3 cups of water, allow 1-2 whistles and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
Thoroughly wash 1 tomato under cool, running, drinkable water then grate.
Once the lentils are cooked, add grated tomato and kosher salt to taste and continue to simmer on very low heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the seasoning, also known as tadka. In a small pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until shimmering. Add ½ teaspoon of whole cumin seeds and stir for about a minute until sizzling and aromatic (but not burnt). Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and stir until just barely pink, about a minute. Transfer the seasoning to the daal (expect a loud sizzle!) and stir well.
Fish out the peppercorns, especially if feeding kids. Check for salt and adjust seasoning.
Thoroughly wash 1 handful of cilantro and 1 lemon (including the rind) under cool, running, drinkable water. Finely chop the cilantro.
Top with chopped cilantro and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Eat up, Mama!
Once cooled completely, pour leftover soup into silicone molds to freeze into pre-portioned blocks. Your future self will thank you kindly.