Okay here is the deal with dhal. I looked for a really long time to find a decent recipe a few years ago. What I came up with and what I generally use is a really pared down and decent yellow dhal recipe.
what you need:
-yellow dal (split channa/dried tiny little chickpeas split)
-onion of some kind
-various spices to your liking
-a little oil
~I recommend a little garam masala and maybe some coriander
-A BLENDER this is really important
-A MESH COLANDER equally important. It doesn't have to be mesh but the holes need to be tiny
Ok. Soak your channa for like 2 hours so it gets a lot softer. Throw it in a pot with enough water to cover it and all the spices you are going to use (including the onion etc) and bring it to a boil. Simmer it until the channa will smoosh on the side of the pot when pressed gently with a spoon. Drain your channa with the colander and transfer it directly into the blender. Blend it and add a little oil to your liking. Adjust the spices at this point. You can make it as utterly bland or as overwhelmingly spicy as you like. The main point of this recipe is that it gives you the right consistency for dhal without a pressure cooker. Anyways. This is what I do when I want dhal. It is decent, basic, and reliable. The alternative recipes out there seem to involve pressure cookers and they take forever.