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In a large saucepan, on a low heat, toast the mustard and cumin seeds until they give off a nutty aroma; be careful not to burn them. Set aside in a bowl. In the same pan, heat the oil over a low heat and soften the onion, garlic and ginger with the cardamom pods for 10 mins, adding a little water if they look like they might burn.
Tip the lentils and toasted seeds into the pan, then stir for a couple of mins before pouring in the coconut milk and enough water to cover it all well. Bring to the boil, immediately cover the pan, turn it down to a low heat and leave to simmer for about 45 mins, stirring every now and then to make sure the mixture is not sticking. If it starts to become too thick, add a little more water. Serve with warmed pitta bread.