Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 4 smashed garlic cloves and 1 diced red onion; saute 6 minutes. Add the contents of the spice bag, the bay leaves and chile pepper from the Curried Lentil Soup Mix and cook about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the soup mix and 8 cups water or chicken broth; simmer until the lentils are soft, about 1 hour. Season with salt.
Curried Lentil Soup Mix: 2 bay leaves 1 dried chile pepper 2 teaspoons turmeric 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (sealed in a plastic bag or sachet) 5 sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) 1/2 cup red lentils 1/2 cup yellow lentils 1/2 cup red lentils 1/2 cup yellow lentils 3/4-liter glass jar