A key pattern to understand in Indian cooking (which I have found in variations in Italian, Persian cooking), is the base of a dish, in this case, called a tadka.
Tadkas vary from having onions, no onions, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, cumin seeds.
Try one for yourself (below I use examples of items I use when I am being creative in the kitchen):
1. Sautee either or all ginger, garlic, onion
2. Add a seed: cumin, mustard,
3. Sprinkle spices: turmeric, asofetida, garam masala, paprika
3. add tomato
NOW, once you master this, then add either pre-cooked lentils, pre-cooked beans or veggies. Include Nutrela as your protien.
Please share your favorite variations and combinations. Im also on the lookout for Thai and Chinese variations as I haven't mastered those flavor profiles.