Dal, Bengali style, for when you have company over!
Soak chana dal for an hour before boiling and setting aside. Heat a little oil and let dried red chillies, mustard seeds, ginger paste and whole garam masala (cardamom, bay leaf, nutmeg etc) sputter in it. Add coconut pieces at this stage, if you like. Add the boiled dal and a little water, and simmer till thick. Add a pinch and a half of sugar, and salt to taste. The half-Punjabi in me likes to add a pinch of coriander and cumin powder. Keep it thick! Done!!