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Cook the lentils: In a large stock pot, add soaked and rinsed lentils and 6 cups of water. Add 2 tsp of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and then cook partially covered for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt the oil, and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 7-9 minutes, or until the onions are golden and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, and chiles and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the curry powder and garam masala and stir to coat, for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
When the lentils are soft, add the tomato, shredded coconut, and the onion mixture to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook another 5-10 minutes uncovered, until desired consistency. If at any point the dal gets too dry, you can always add more water.
Squeeze in lemon juice, taste, adjust seasoning if desired. Add the cilantro to garnish, and serve hot with basmati rice.