If you have time, soak the moong dal in cold water for 4 hours or more. Rinse moong dal in cold water 4–5 times until the water runs clear. Add to pressure cooker or saucepan along with water, a pinch of turmeric powder, and a pinch of salt.
Choose one of the following cooking methods
Instant Pot: Reduce the amount of water to 1 3/4 cup. Ensure the steam valve is on “Sealing,” and set the timer to cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes. After that, force release any remaining pressure by carefully opening the steam valve to “Venting.” Open the lid and remove it.
Stovetop pressure cooker: Use high heat to bring the pressure up to high (when you hear the first whistle), then reduce the heat slightly. Cook under pressure for 6 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 10 minutes, then open the lid safely.
Saucepan method: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes, or until the dal becomes very soft and broken apart. Add more water if necessary so that the dal remains covered.
Make the spice tempering with ghee
Heat ghee in a small skillet on medium-low heat. Add cumin seeds, and sauté until the cumin seeds turn a few shades darker.
Add the ginger. Continue to sauté gently, and on low heat, stirring continuously, until the ginger just starts to brown.
Add the turmeric powder and red chili, and stir for a few seconds to release the aroma. Turn off the heat.
Pour the tempered spices and ghee over the cooked dal, and add salt. Stir well, bring back up to a boil, and simmer for 2-3 minutes to combine the flavors. Add the fresh lemon. Taste, and adjust for salt, red chili, and lemon, and add more if you prefer. It should be very flavorful and perfectly balanced. Turn off the heat and enjoy.
For a complete meal, serve with basmati rice, and a cooked vegetable. You could either spoon the dal on top of the rice, or mix the rice and dal together to create the dish known as “dal rice.” For exceptional taste, add a dab of ghee on top of the dal just before serving.
Asafetida (also known as hing)
Asafetida is great flavor enhancer, digestive, and substitute for onions and garlic. Since it is a sticky resin, manufacturers often mix it with a little flour to reduce its potency. This recommendation is mixed with fenugreek, which is another spice. It is more costly than normal. At an Indian store you can buy this product for much less. See this link for a wheat-free recommendation.