1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
3 cups water
4 cups soy or almond milk
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups red lentils, rinsed
3 carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/3 cup unsweetened grated dried coconut
1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
Heat oil in soup pot over high heat. Add mustard, cumin and fennel seeds, cover and sizzle until mustard seeds begin to pop and become aromatic, about 15 to 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let sit, cover, until seeds stop popping.
Bring pot back to burner. Stir in onion, ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute over medium-high heat 1 minute, stirring frequently scraping up any seeds that stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add water, soy milk and tomatoes with their liquid. Cook until hot but not boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in lentils, carrots and coconut. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add salt and continue cooking until lentils have melted into a coarse puree, about 15 minutes more.