Finely chop up the onion and cloves of garlic.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized saucepan and then add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Saute this on a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent, if it starts to brown, lower the heat.
Grate some fresh ginger into the saucepan and add the cumin, chilli, turmeric and asafoetida. Stir the spices into the onion mix for a minute or 2 until the are lovely and fragrant.
Add the lentils, as well as the cinnamon, curry leaves and water, stir to combine, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomato and tamarind pastes and continue simmering for a further 10 minutes until the lentils are nice and soft.
Add the lemon juice and mango chutney to season.
Serve with a small mountain of coriander over the top and an extra dollop of mango chutney on the side. If you want to bulk this meal up put some roti/naan or steamed basmati rice on the side.