1 or 2thai or serrano chilis sliced for extra heat (optional)
Heat up a pan to medium high. Dry fry (continuous stirring) the cumin seeds for approximately 30 sec - 1 minute, until the seeds are slightly browned and aromatic. Leave on the side to be used in a later step.
Rinse and sort the lentils. Place in a deep saucepan, and cover with about 1 inch of water. Bring to the boil (skim off any scum), and then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 12-15 minutes. Add additional water if necessary while simmering. At the end of the cooking time, taste the lentil to determine if it is tender. Continue to cook if necessary until tender. Once tender, turn off the heat, and then drain off most of the water, leaving just a little bit.
Mince the garlic, ginger, onion, and chilis (if using) in a food processor.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter (med high heat) in the pan that was used to dry fry the cumin. Add the minced garlic, ginger, onion, and chilis to the pan and stir fry for around 3 minutes. Add the curry powder, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne, along with about 1 tablespoon of water, and stir for around 1 min or so.
Add the mixture from the pan to the drained lentils, along with the rest of the butter (2 tbsp). Add in the cumin and cilantro if using, and then stir well. Add salt to taste at this point.
Serve the cooked green lentils as a side dish, or as a main alongside basmati rice. Add the roughly chopped tomato, some cilantro, and the onion salad to enhance the spiced green lentils. Enjoy this healthy vegetarian meal!