We smash the garlic cloves carefully with the side of our knife, discard the peels, and mince with some salt. We peel the ginger carefully with our knife, slice, and then mince it. We get about a tablespoon each of garlic and ginger. We add these to the softening onions, along with the green pepper, stir, and continue to cook for a few minutes.
We spread the lentils out on a piece of wax paper and pick out any debris. We put the lentils into a large bowl, cover with water, stir with our hand, and carefully dump out the water. We repeat this process four more times – adding more water, stirring, and dumping out the water. At this point, the water that we dump out is clean.
The vegetables are cooking nicely so we add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne to the Dutch oven and cook for another minute. We add the rinsed lentils and cover with three cups of water. We also add the bay leaves and raise the heat to medium.
We rinse our carrots, peel with our peeler, and then grate with our box grater. We add about ½ cup of carrots to the lentils, along with some salt and pepper. When the soup comes to a boil, we lower it to a simmer, and cover for about 20 minutes. We want all the vegetables and the lentils to be very tender. We taste for salt and pepper and, when we are ready to eat, we add the lemon juice.