We can pretend that the sweetness of the sauteed onions is accentuated by the seemingly out of place nutmeg and cinnamon in this soup. Really, convince yourself. Or maybe the odor of the nutmeg will unexpectedly please you. Or maybe you don't care, and you will look at this recipe only for its proportions of water, lentils, and salt (the last of which isn't provided). Which is all you need anyway I'm sure.
1/2 pound lentils
one small onion
one or two cloves of garlic
one or two fresh chiles (something medium hot, like serrano)
one tomato (roma, but any kind will do)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cooking oil
three teaspoons coriander powder
two teaspoons cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
a pinch of freshly shaved nutmeg
salt to taste (a guess: 3 teaspoons)
Put a medium pot on medium-low heat, pour in the cooking oil, and melt the butter in it. Meanwhile, chop the onion into 1cm square pieces or smaller, the garlic as finely as possible, and the chile(s) into lengthwise quarters and then fine slices. Transfer all three into the pot and spread evenly for frying. Make sure that the heat is low enough that it doesn't burn the onions. Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slice the tomato into quarters and then fairly thin slices. Once the onions are translucent, soft, and somewhat sweet, add the lentils, the tomatoes, and roughly a quart of water or twice as high as the lentils in the bottom of the pot. Turn heat to medium-high until the water boils, and then turn back down to medium-low. Let it mildly boil until lentils expand to the top of the pot, then add more water to create your desired consistency (I like to keep at least a 1/2 inch of water above the mass of lentils). Add salt. Continue cooking on low heat until the lentils are soft. You may need to add more water.