Wash and soak the lentils for at least 15 minutes
In a pressure cooker, add lentils and water. Water should be around 2 inches above the level of lentils. Switch on the flame and keep it to medium.
When water the lentils starts to boil, collect the forth that gathers at the top and discard it.
Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, turmeric and salt. Add 1Tsp of finely chopped ginger. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook lentils till 2 whistles.
Meanwhile, finely chop onions, tomatoes, garlic and green chilies(if using).
In a pan, heat ghee/oil, add, asafoetida, cumin seeds, when the seeds start to crackle add chopped garlic and rest of the ginger. Saute till the garlic starts to turn brown.
Add finely chopped onions, and saute till it turns pink.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
Add garam masala, red chilli powder, mix and cook masala for 2-3 minutes. Once done, keep aside to add to the cooked lentils/dal.
When the pressure in the cooker subsides, check whether lentils are cooked, add some water to adjust the consistency of lentils. Add the onion-tomato masala and mix well in lentils.
Switch on the flame and cook lentils for 2-3 minutes. You can add more water around 1/2 cup or as per your required consistency of lentils.
Before serving, you can temper dal. For that in a pan, add ghee/oil, add 1/4 Tsp of cumin seeds, 1 whole red chili, 1/4 Tsp of Red Chilli Powder and add this to the dal. This optional step, if don't want tadka, skip this.