Place the lentils in a medium sauce pan with the water, onion, cloves, ginger, tomato, and serrano chiles.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, combine the cumin seed and mustard seed in a small bowl. Combine the turmeric and paprika in another bowl.
Whisk the lentils with a balloon whisk to release some of their natural starch. The mixture will thicken. (Do not mix so much that all of the texture goes away – some split lentils should maintain their shape.)
Season with salt to taste.
In a small pan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat.
When the oil is shimmering, add the cumin and mustard seeds. (Watch out, they may pop out of the pan).
Add the turmeric and paprika. Stir the spices – they will sizzle and bubble, but should not burn. After 30 seconds, remove from heat and pour into the lentil mixture.
Add the cilantro and stir to combine.
Serve plain or over rice.