For the Dal: Place the rinsed lentils, vegetable stock, tomatoes, and salt in a stock pot.
For the Chaunk: Heat the oil in a small skillet over high heat and add the mustard and cumin seeds. Fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop, about 10 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the chilies, garlic and ginger. Fry for another 20 seconds. Add the onion and fry until soft and a light caramelized brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the turmeric, chili powder, asaefoetida, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon and cloves and stir to combine.
Combine the Dal and Chaunk: Scrape the contents of the skillet into the stock pot. Stir to combine and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are done the soup is a thick consistency, stirring occasionally.
Before serving, add the lime juice, a little at a time, according to taste. Add more salt as needed. Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped cilantro.
Serve with fresh naan, rotis or chapatis. .
Traditionally water is used, not broth, but we prefer using broth for the added flavor.