What I had for dinner:
I'm at a total loss how to name this soup. It draws from the resources of a belt of land extending from the eastern Mediterranean to Indonesia, with little or no respect for any tradition or recipe.
It all started with an onion, chopped and fried in olive oil, to which were added in quick succession a couple of bay leaves, a tablespoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon of turmeric, a dash of mace, a pinch of cinnamon, a teaspoon of cardamom seeds, a small handful of fenugreek seeds, a tablespoon of freshly grated coriander, and a teaspoon of ground Indonesian lemongrass (sereh).
The mixture was quenched with a pint of water, a cup of chicken stock (I keep it frozen and chop off a chunk when needed), and a cup of beer (I used my coriander homebrew, but any dark, not too bitter beer will do). When boiling was reestablished, I added 1/2 cup of red lentils (masoor dal) and a tablespoon of crushed red peppers (sambal oelek), and let it cook until the lentils and the fenugreek were done. I then added 3 tomatoes (seeded, peeled, and cubed) and a tablespoon of pomegrenate molasses and cooked for another 5 minutes.
Salted to taste, sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves, and served with sesame-seed Italian bread.
Surprisingly, it works quite well, and I'll have some more for lunch tomorrow!