This gingery soup is really easy to make and has great taste. Red lentils cook very quickly. There is no need to soak them. The trick is to cook the onions and carrots slowly... so that they caramelize slightly and take up the flavor of the aromatics. Although the soup is blended at the end, cut the veggies quite small so they cook faster at the saute stage. Watch the video to learn how.
Top and tail the carrots. Cut them into pieces about 1½-inches long, then cut those pieces into 4 to 6 sticks, all about the same thickness for even cooking. Cut the onion halves into ⅓-inch slices lengthways. Set both aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or pan over a medium-high heat. Add the ginger and let it sizzle for a few moments, then add the garlic. Stir-fry until the garlic turns a very pale gold, infusing the oil.
Add the onions and saute until they begin to soften. Add the carrot sticks and saute for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium and partially cover the pan. Sweat the vegetables, stirring from time to time, until they are soft and have taken a golden color. This will take about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not let them burn!
Add the cleaned and rinsed lentils to the vegetables and mix them in well. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the stock, and turn the heat up to bring the soup to a boil. Cover, turn the heat down to low and simmer the soup until the lentils are soft and are easily mashed when pressed with the back of a spoon against the side of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes. Blend the soup and return it to the pan. If the soup seems too thick, add a little more stock, water, or milk (unsweetened soy milk works well here too).
Add the lemon juice, mix, adjust for salt then heat gently until the soup starts to simmer. Turn the heat off, cover, and let the soup sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with a liberal grinding of fresh black pepper on top and a swirl of yogurt if desired.