I'm vegetarian, but I cook vegan meals pretty regularly. When preparing South Indian dishes, coconut oil is my preference. For North Indian meals, like the following Masoor Dal (Red Lentil Curry), I often substitute olive oil for the ghee (clarified butter).
Masoor Dal is what I cook when I'm in the mood for dal, but don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Red lentils are the fastest cooking dried legume of all.
Masoor Dal with Nigerian Akara topped with Sriracha
The akara was from a batch I made back in February. They freeze incredibly well. You can reheat them in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees F, but I also like to steam them right on top of boiling rice. When reheated this way, the akara has the taste and texture much like South Indian idlis.