Wash all the dals in a large colander and place them in a bowl or any utensil with a lid. Pour enough water to cover the dals nicely and allow the dals to soak in all the water overnight or for 7 to 8 hours.
Drain the excess water off the dals and place the dals in a pressure cooker. Add 5 cups water, the turmeric and pressure cook until the first whistle. After the first whistle, turn down the heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. After the dals are cooked, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down.
In a large wok or pan, heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, put in thw whole spices, cloves, cassia and cumin seeds and stir until the cloves puff up and the cumin seeds are golden. Make sure that the cumin seeds don’t turn black.
Into the sizzling spices, add the tomato puree and turn down the heat. Put in the coriander powder, red chili powder and cook until the tomato puree absorbs all the flavours from the spices, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the cooked dal, add the salt and extra water if required and mix well.
Put in the optional garam masala and finish with fresh coriander. You can also sauté some cherry tomatoes and place them over the dal for extra flavor and colour.
You can use a mixture of different kinds of dals you have on hand.
If you have not soaked the dal overnight, you can use split dal and/or other quick cooking dals
Use a variety of different kinds of dals to see what you or your family like the most.
I do not use garam masala powder for my regular cooking and reserve it for use occasionally.