Begin by making the soup. Rinse the lentils under running water. Then place them in a large pot and cover them with the 8 cups water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. The lentils will be almost tender. Add the vegetables, bouillon or salt, garlic and black pepper Stir gently and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes more. The vegetables and lentils wll both be tender. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Now look over the amount of liquid in the pot. Add enough extra water so that all of the solids are well covered with liquid. They don't need to be swimming over their heads, but they should be wading up to their waists. Bring the mixture to a slow lazy simmer, not a boil. If the soup boils, it will cause the dumplings to disintegrate instead of cooking up into fluffy, glimmering jewels.
While the soup is simmering, prepare your dumplings. Get out a big bowl. In it combine the oil, egg and milk until they are well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix it up to a stiff batter, like for drop biscuits. Set it aside until you need it.
When the soup is simmering slowly, it is time to drop in the dumplings. Take small rounded scoops of the dough with a teaspoon and drop them into the simmering broth, on top of the vegetables. Keep dropping the dough blobs until you have scraped the bowl clean. Now cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Do not peek. Let the dumplings simmer covered for the full 20 minutes. The thing about dumplings is that they cook partly from the soup and partly from the steam. The steam is what makes them fluffy, and the broth is what cooks them through. If you peek while the dumplings are cooking, they will turn into lumpy, doughy rocks. When the time is up, serve the soup and dumplings as soon as possible. The soup will be thickened and the dumplings will be light and fluffy.