Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat and add a splash of water, the onion, garlic, green pepper and tomato. Allow to cook until everything is very soft, adding more water if necessary. You want these ingredients to meld into the stew and not be detectable so let them get really, really soft.
Allow any excess water to simmer off and add the paprika and bay leaf. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes to bring out the flavour while stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add the water, carrots, potato and lentils. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and creamy.
When the lentils are ready, add the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
This stew can be served thick or thin. Add more water if you want it soupier. I thickened mine ever so slightly with a couple blitzes of an immersion blender, but it’s totally optional. It will also thicken as it cools. I garnished mine to make it photographic; garnishes are optional and of your choice.