Soak the lentils in water for 2 hours. Wash and take out the lentils from the water. Put them in a cooker along with salt and one glass of water. After one whistle, cook the lentils for another 6 to 7 minutes on a low flame. Turn off the burner. Let's prepare the masala while the cooker loses its pressure.
Grind tomato, ginger and green chilies in the grinder.
Put ghee in a frying pan and heat it. Add asafetida and cumin seed to the ghee. After the cumin seed is fried add turmeric powder, red chili powder and coriander powder to the pan. After frying for a little while, add the tomato paste to the mixture. Now fry the masala till the ghee starts floating on the surface. Turn off the burner when done.
The cooker must have released its pressure by now. Open the cooker and mix the masala in the cooked lentils. If the dal is too thick, you can add water. After it boils let it heat for another 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the burner. Mix garam masala and half of the coriander in the dal.
The delicious Chana Dal is ready now. Take it out in a bowl and garnish it with the remaining coriander leaves. Serve and eat the hot dal along with chapati, naan or rice.
If you want to add onions, then chop 1 big onion into fine pieces. Put oil in the frying pan and heat it. Put cumin seed and fry them, don't put asafetida. Now add onions and fry till they turn light brown. Now add all the spices and as mentioned above to make the dal.