Grandma Melba's Red Lentil Soup

1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 TBS whole cumin seeds
1/2 TBS ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
2 medium onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 quarts water
2 cups red lentils, washed
1 can whole tomatoes, crushed with a potato masher or by hand
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
7 sprigs cilantro washed and tied together
3 TBS chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice

1. In a large saucepan combine oil, cumin seeds, coriander and tumeric. Cook over low heat until seeds darken.
2. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes and sautee.
3. Add water, lentils, tomatoes, paste, cilantro sprigs, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer 20-30 minutes until lentils are very soft.
4. Remove from heat, take out cilantro sprigs, and beat soup with a large wisk. DO NOT PUREE.
5. Stir in lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Taste for seasonings and texture. Add more water if necessary.
~*~ From Grandma Melba ~*~