1/2 pound brown lentils (about 1 1/8 cups)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
2 vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 tablespoons curry powder, depending on your taste
cilantro for garnish
1. Finely chop the garlic cloves and the onion.
2. Combine the lentils, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and 4 cups water in a medium soup pot or heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
3. Add salt to taste (under-salt slightly because you will be reducing the liquid), and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, until the lentils are falling apart tender and fragrant. Remove the bayleaf and discard.
3. Heat the broth in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spices and stir as they sizzle for about 30 seconds, until very fragrant.
4. Add the beans with their liquid and cook, stirring and mashing with the back of a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, like refried beans. Once the mixture has reduced to the desired consistency, spoon onto plates and top each serving with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.