1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook 3 minutes. Stir in cumin seeds, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, tomato paste, and honey; cook 2 minutes, stirring often.
2. Add lentils, salt, and 2 cups of the water to the pan. Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in sweet potato, figs, and remaining 1/2 cup water. Return to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until lentils are still firm but just tender and sweet potatoes are cooked through; add more liquid if needed. Remove pan from heat, stir in lemon zest, and let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and garnish with zest strips if desired and serve warm.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, January - February 2011