Take all the ingredients listed under for the dal in a pan and cook for about 15 minutes till most of the water evaporates and the dhal is cooked.
Transfer this to a container, and in the same pan heat up 1 tbsp of oil. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, clove, fennel seeds, thinly sliced onions, garlic and green chillies. The first four items can be omitted if you are adding roasted curry powder.
Once the onions become fried, add the coriander powder, cumin powder, chilly powder, turmeric powder and hing. Again omit the coriander, cumin and chilly powders if you are using curry powder.
Fry the powders for few seconds and add the dhall. Mix up well and let boil for around 3 minutes. Now add the coconut milk, let boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes. You may want to add water if you are looking for thinner consistency. Taste check for spices and switch off.
Heat up 2 tsps of oil, add the tempering items in order.Turn off flame once it splutters and finally add the curry leaves. Pour this over the dhal. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice. Mix well and serve with rice or flatbreads.