Onion Tomato Masala

Onion Tomato Masala

Servings: 250g masala will make a curry for 3-4 people, this recipe will make around 6 portions of 250g
Time: 2 hours


500g chopped white and red onions
2 tins Chopped tomatoes
140g tomato purée
85g ground cumin and coriander mixed (or 42g of each)
10g ground turmeric
3 bay leaves
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick (2/3inch)
1 star anise
20g grated fresh ginger
25g crushed fresh garlic
15g finely chopped green chilli
Salt to taste
1 tin full of water (use one of the tomato tins)


  • Add all the ingredients into the Instant Pot and give them all a good mix around
  • Place the lid on the pot, set the pressure release handle to ‘sealing’ and then press manual, adjust to high pressure and 20 minutes.
  • Once it’s done, release the pressure and it’s pretty much ready to use if you like your dishes quite saucy. If not, you can do what I did and either hit saute until it reduces down to your liking OR set it to slow cook for 1 hour with the lid off – this is the way I prefer as I feel like it really brings all the flavours together, and it means I don’t have to stand around stirring!
  • I usually freeze this up into 250g freezer packs, you can easily make a curry for 4 with each pack 🙂
  • Once it’s done it can be used it an abundance of recipes to create loads of varieties of meals.. More to come on those soon..

So far with this base, I’ve got the below recipes:

Jeera Chicken 

Quick Chicken curry with Rice (Instant Pot recipe)

Lamb Kofta curry 

Fish curry 



  1. Maire
    August 3, 2017 / 9:12 am

    Hi Priya
    How would I adjust recipe to use fresh tomatoes please ?
    Best regards

    • August 3, 2017 / 9:15 am

      Hi Máire, you could use fresh tomatoes but you would need around 1kg I think and they would need to be skinned and mashed/blended. What I tend to do is make the masala and then add fresh tomatoes when i’m cooking with it to add texture to the curry I’m cooking.

      Let me know if you need anything else.
      Thanks, Priya

    • Linda
      October 2, 2017 / 9:25 am

      I grate my tomatoes cut each half and with palm of your hand rub on grater, your left with just the skin on your hand.

      • October 2, 2017 / 9:26 am

        That’s a great tip! Thanks Linda 🙂

  2. Máire Bourke
    August 7, 2017 / 10:43 am

    So I made this today Priya so posting this info for others trying it – not an issue at all with recipe just caught out by my own laziness 🤦‍♂️ I didn’t skin/mash tomatoes (as I also have a Thermomix so can blitz after to a perfectly smooth sauce) so it did stick/overheat –
    my own fault just needed to add more water, caught it it time thank goodness as all homegrown ingredients and freshly ground spices so didnt want to ruin it and its cooking now and smelling fantastic. Can i ask you guidance on how to use it as a base for other dishes, not fully sure what I need to do – thanks. Máire

    • August 7, 2017 / 10:51 am

      Hi Máire, so glad it’s worked out with fresh tomatoes! With regards to recipes, it’s completely up to you how you use it, you can use it any meat or fish dishes you like.

      I have 1 recipe already published, this is for lamb meatballs, but you can easily use the same process with meat (same spices and marinate the meat then seal and follow the process). I’ll be posting more recipes in the coming weeks but feel free to reach out if there is something specific you wanted to try and I’ll be sure to give you advise on how to use it 🙂

  3. Jackie
    August 21, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    So delughted to have found this as I always live your recipes on the instant pot community fb page

  4. Carole
    August 24, 2017 / 10:43 am

    Like Jackie, I am really glad to have found this page. I have made your chicken biryani from the IP page several times and we both love it. In fact, I have to make extra so hubby can have it the next day for lunch. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • August 24, 2017 / 10:51 am

      I’m glad you enjoy the biriyani Carole! Hopefully you’ll enjoy lots more dishes too 🙂

  5. October 2, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Priya, I would like to make masala chicken like those from Sammys curry in Dempsey. Do you fry the chicken first n just add the masala? Thank you for the masala recipe it’s a sure good way to cook!

    • October 2, 2017 / 10:06 am

      Hi Pearl, I’m in the UK so I have no idea what Sammy’s curry in Dempsey would taste like. If the chicken has a crust, then yes I would fry it first then add to the masala which is cooked, if it’s soft and flavourful chicken you are looking for, then I would cook it directly in the masala for the best results 🙂

  6. Pam Mitchell
    October 2, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    How much in ounces and cups please. How much is in a tin of tomatoes?

    • October 3, 2017 / 8:44 am

      Hi Pam – 2 cups chopped white and red onions
      2 tins Chopped tomatoes (each tin here in the UK is around 1.5 cups
      2oz cup tomato purée
      2oz ground cumin and coriander mixed (or 1oz of each)
      1 tablespoon ground turmeric
      3 bay leaves
      6 cloves
      1 cinnamon stick (2/3inch)
      1 star anise
      2oz cup grated fresh ginger
      2oz cup crushed fresh garlic
      1oz finely chopped green chilli

      • Shahira Karmali-Kassam
        February 15, 2018 / 12:18 am

        so pleased to find your website from FB instantpot community. Cant wait to try out these dishes!

        • February 15, 2018 / 7:25 am

          Do let me know how you get on Shahira 🙂

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