Sort through the lentils and discard any stones or grit. Rinse thoroughly.
Place the lentils, bay leaves and 6 cups of water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes as you skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest, turmeric, cumin and chili flakes, and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Add the carrot and celery and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add the vegetable mixture to the lentils, along with the sea salt (or to taste), and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the lemon juice just before serving.
Serve garnished with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of chopped coriander. Variations:
- You can vary the vegetable combination used. Carrots, fresh corn and zucchini or leek, pumpkin (squash) and cauliflower are a couple of the many possibilities.
- In place of salt, you could use white miso or vegetable stock cube or bouillon to season. If using miso, add at the very end and simmer for about a minute after adding.
- You can make an herbed version by adding fresh or dried thyme, oregano or rosemary in place of the spices. In this case, garnish with parsley instead of coriander.
- To spice it up, you can either add curry powder or Thai curry paste, or use some chopped fresh chili.