"Here is my recipe for Dhal based on my many experiences cooking with my friends over the years. We love this served over freshly made basmati rice. Don't skimp on the carmelized onions and garlic - it totally makes this recipe amazing!"
Wash lentils in strainer. Put in medium sized pot and add water. Put over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the sliced onions and garlic, reserve other half for later. Add turmeric, bay leaf, tomato and salt. (Optional) Add chilies whole for flavor, halved for heat. Allow to simmer. Cook until lentils break apart and thicken slightly, approximately 20 minutes.
In the meantime, in a medium skillet, heat oil until shimmers. Add remaining onions and cook until they turn soft and golden brown in color. Stirring constantly add remaining garlic - watch carefully that onions do not burn - cook until onions reach medium brown color and garlic is fragrant.
Pour contents of skillet, oil and all, into cooked lentils and stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro.