Although dry lentils cook far more quickly than other pulses, a can of lentils can make almost instant dal—a creamy, comforting dish. If you like, add a chopped tomato, or a handful of cauliflower florets along with the lentils.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil or ghee.
Sauce the onion for a few minutes, until soft, and then add the ginger, garlic, curry paste and chili powder and cook for another minute or two.
Add the lentils, coconut milk, lemon juice and sugar and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and becomes more uniform.
Season with salt. Serve with rice or naan, topped with cilantro if you like.