Wash the dal well and drain. If you are using a pressure cooker, put the dal, salt, water, turmeric, ginger, and garlic in the cooker and cook until the second whistle. Remove pressure.
If you are not using a pressure cooker, boil the water and add the dal, salt, turmeric, ginger, and garlic. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the dal cooks, heat the oil in a skillet and add the cumin. Fry until golden brown and add onions. Stir until onions start to brown. When the dal is done, pour the contents of the skillet into the dal and heat on low heat, until the dal thickens.
From the Dinner Co-op