Start by soaking the chana dal in warm water for about 1 hour.
While the dal is soaking, start making your masala in a pot.
Heat oil in a pot, and add the onion and fry until just light golden brown.
Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 30 seconds or so.
Add the tomatoes and spices.
Cook on medium high heat, until the tomatoes are completely softened and the oil has separated from the masala.
Now add the chana dal (after draining the water it was soaked in) and fry the dal for 6-7 minutes. Keep adding 1-2 tablespoons of water and stirring so that the dal doesn’t stick to the pot.
Once the oil has separated again, add about 1 cup of water.
Cover the pot, and cook on medium low heat until the dal has cooked through, stirring every few minutes.
The dal is cooked when you can easily squash one lentil with your fingers. But the trick for cooking good chana dal is to make sure that it’s just cooked enough, but doesn’t lose it’s shape and become mushy.
Depending on the quality of your chana dal, you may also need to add a little more water, until it is cooked through. Chana dal takes about 30-40 minutes to cook through, but this may vary a bit.
Once the chana dal is cooked, top it with freshly chopped coriander and a couple knobs of butter.