1) Drain the chana dal and place in a large saucepan. Cover with water to an inch above the lentils and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds. When they begin to sizzle add the garlic and cook for a minute.
3) Add the spices and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy. Add the tomato mixture to the lentils and stir well.
4) Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and then serve with rice or flatbreads.