Instant Pot Indian Onion Tomato Masala

Basic Indian Onion Tomato Masala aka Bhuna Masala made in the Instant Pot! This versatile masala freezes well and can be used in a number of recipes making it a must have for busy days!

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Indian Onion Tomato Masala in a glass jar with a spoon

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Happy new year guys! Wish you all a happy and healthy 2019.

Hope you all had a wonderful break. As for me, I really had a nice vacation. First we traveled to the east coast to be with family, also went to New York (which is always so special) and then we also went to New Orleans.

It was my first time in NOLA and I really enjoyed my time there. We came back home couple of days before the 31st and since then we have just been lazing around.

It is so tough to get back to work after holidays. Isn’t it?

I am trying to do little work today so that I can just start to get into the groove but it will take some time. I have a lot of things planned for the blog in 2019 so stay tuned and as always thanks for following along!

For the Instant Pot recipes, I am going to share some super easy meals this year. To start with, I am going to share some easy sauces with you which you can make in advance and freeze.

Once you have these sauces ready to go, you can make a number of Indian dishes in no time, like literally no time.

So, I am starting with the very basic Indian masala – the Indian Onion Tomato Masala.

What is the Indian Onion Tomato Masala

✓ This masala is the most simple and basic masala that is made everyday in Indian households.

✓ It forms the base for a number of recipes-  from curries to stews to rice. Once you have this masala ready to go, you can make a lot of recipes in less than 30 minutes!

✓ This masala uses onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and green chilies which are an integral part of Indian cooking.

onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and green chilies placed on a round black tray

✓ It also uses the most common Indian spices like coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric, garam masala and red chili powder

Some people also call it the bhuna masala. This onion tomato masala is very lightly spiced. I do not add a lot of spices here because that way we can add more while actually making the dish.

I make this masala in bulk and freeze it. This allows to have quick dinner on the table for those busy days. I am relying on this masala so much these days, especially after vacations when you are struggling to get back, this comes in so handy.

How to Freeze & Store The Onion Tomato Masala

Once I make the masala, I puree it in a blender, let it cool down completely and then freeze in large ice cube trays.

When you freeze in individual portions, it’s easier to use in recipes. For example, here I froze 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup of masala per cube. So this way, it’s so easy for me to take out the individual portion and use in the recipe.

If you freeze it all together, then it will be difficult to use it for different recipes at different times.

I love these OXO Ice Cube Trays, they come with a lid and perfect for holding 1/4 cup masala in each cube.

And how long does this onion tomato masala stay good for? I will say it’s good for 3 months in the freezer. In the refrigerator, around 2 weeks.

onion tomato masala in ice cube trays

How to Use Onion Tomato Masala

Once you have the masala frozen, you can take it out and use in your recipes as required.

I will be sharing some recipes in the coming weeks using the frozen masala to show you guys how quick and easy this is.

Recipes may require 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup or 1 cup of masala and that’s why it’s important to freeze in portions. Makes life much easier!

You can use this masala in pretty much everything- dal, pulao, curries, pasta – so much more! As a baseline, you can use this masala wherever the recipe calls for using onion and tomatoes and basic Indian spices.

Recipes Using this Masala

Black Eyed Pea Curry

Aloo Baingan (Potato-Eggplant)

Kale Garlic Dal

dal in a round copper bowl with spoons and napkin in the background

Stay tuned for recipes using the frozen masala and like I said this is just one of the basic Indian masala, I will be sharing more Indian sauces made in the Instant Pot very soon on the blog.

Method

1- Press the saute button on your Instant Pot, then press the adjust button to set saute to “more”. Once it displays hot, add the oil to the pot and then add the diced onion.

2- Saute the onions, stirring often.

3- After around 13 minutes, the onions will turn nice golden brown in color. You want the onions to reach this color.

4- Then add the garlic, ginger and green chilies and cook for 2 minutes.

step by step collage of making indian onion tomato masala in instant pot

5- Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.

6- Then add the spices – coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, red chili powder and turmeric. Also add salt and mix everything.

7- Add 1-2 tablespoons water to de-glaze the pot, scraping the bottom, there shouldn’t be any burnt bits. Remember to not add much water here as tomatoes will also release lot of water when pressure cooked. 1 or 2 tablespoons should be good and it’s mainly to de-glaze.

8- Close the pot with its lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes with natural pressure release.

step by step collage of making indian onion tomato masala in instant pot

9- Open the pot once the pin comes down. If the masala looks too watery, press the saute button again and then then use the adjust button to set saute to “more”. Saute (on more) for 3 to 4 minutes to get rid of excess water.

10- I did saute for 3 minutes.

11- Unplug the pot and let the masala cool down a bit and transfer to a blender. You may also use your immersion blender.

12- Grind the masala to a smooth paste using your blender.

step by step collage of making indian onion tomato masala in instant pot

Let the onion tomato masala cool completely and then freeze in individual portions. I used these large ice cube trays to freeze the masala which holds around 1/4 cup/4 tablespoons masala in each compartment.

Use the masala as needed for your sabzis, dal, stews etc. You may thaw the masala before using. I mostly use it frozen, directly from the freezer.

Indian onion tomato masala in round bowl with a spoon and a small placard on the side with its name

If you’ve tried this Instant Pot Indian Onion Tomato Masala Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Instant Pot Indian Onion Tomato Masala

The basic India masala made with onion, tomatoes & bunch of spices. This masala is the base for a number of Indian recipes! Make it in bulk and freeze for quick meals on busy days!

Indian onion tomato masala in round bowl with a spoon and a small placard on the side with its name
Course sauce
Cuisine Indian
Keyword onion tomato masala
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 3 cups
Calories: 255 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons oil, 60 ml, use oil of choice, I used avocado oil
  • 4 medium yellow onion, 500 grams, diced
  • 10 large garlic cloves, 22 grams, chopped
  • 2 inch ginger, 22 grams, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 5 medium tomatoes, 600 grams, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or adjust to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons water, as needed

Instructions

  1. Press the saute button on your Instant Pot, then press the adjust button to set saute to "more". Once it displays hot, add the oil to the pot and then add the diced onion.


  2. Saute the onions, stirring often. After around 13 minutes, the onions will turn nice golden brown in color. You want the onions to reach this color.


  3. Then add the garlic, ginger and green chilies and cook for 2 minutes.

  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.


  5. Then add the spices - coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, red chili powder and turmeric. Also add salt and mix everything.


  6. Add 1-2 tablespoons water to de-glaze the pot, scraping the bottom, there shouldn't be any burnt bits. Remember to not add much water here as tomatoes will also release lot of water when pressure cooked. 1 or 2 tablespoons should be good and we only need it to de-glaze the pot.


  7. Close the pot with its lid and press the manual or pressure cook button. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. 

  8. Open the pot once the pin comes down. If the masala looks too watery, press the saute button again and then then use the adjust button to set saute to "more". Saute (on more) for 3 to 4 minutes to get rid of excess water. I did saute for 3 minutes.


  9. Unplug the pot and let the masala cool down a bit and transfer to a blender. You may also use your immersion blender.

    Grind the masala to a smooth paste using your blender.

  10. Let the onion tomato masala cool completely and then freeze in individual portions. I used large ice cube trays (see post for reference & link to the ones I use) to freeze the masala which holds around 1/4 cup masala in each compartment.


  11. Use the masala as needed for your curries, sabzis, dal, stews etc. You may thaw the masala before using. I mostly use it frozen, directly from the freezer.

Recipe Notes

The nutritional value is for 1 cup of this masala. Each recipe would need a different amount.

The masala will stay good in the freezer for 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Indian Onion Tomato Masala
Amount Per Serving
Calories 255 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 888mg 37%
Potassium 381mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 9.6%
Vitamin C 27.8%
Calcium 5.1%
Iron 5.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

4 thoughts on “Instant Pot Indian Onion Tomato Masala

  1. Hi Manali, love reading your blog and the pictures are so mouth watering…
    This is such an awesome time saving idea! Have often thought of doing this… Couple of questions:
    1. How many cups does this recipe yield?
    2. Can I double the quantity if I am using a 6 quart IP? Also, how much quantity can be made in the 8 quart IP, you think?

    1. Hi Shefali, this recipe yields 3 cups, its mentioned in the recipe card. This recipe is made in the 6 quart. You can double it just don’t double the water. You would still only need 1-2 tablespoons to scrape the bottom. 8 qt is huge, so you can obviously make a huge batch. Not sure about the exact quantity…

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