Instant Pot Indian-spiced Simmer Sauce

Use it as the base of this Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma. For a creamy version of the sauce, add a generous splash of cashew or coconut milk just before serving. I've been using fire-roasted tomatoes, no regrets. If you can handle spicy, dial the cayenne up to 1 teaspoon.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large onions, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1- inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 28- ounce can whole tomatoes and their liquid (fire-roasted optional)
  • 1 cup water


  1. Press the SAUTE setting on the Instant Pot and heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and salt, and saute until the onions have softened, and are just beginning to take on some color, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, and garam masala. Wait a minute, and add the tomatoes and their liquid, breaking up and crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you add them to the pot. Stir in the water.
  3. Secure the lid, set the pressure release valve to SEALING. Press the CANCEL button, and then MANUAL for 15 minutes at high pressure. Let the pressure NATURAL RELEASE for ten minutes, then carefully QUICK RELEASE. The sauce can be used immediately, refrigerated for a few days, or frozen.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Serves 6 cups


Adapted from Coco Morante's The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. You can also find her at her popular Facebook Instant Pot Recipe group!

To make this on a conventional stovetop: combine the ingredients in the same order as above, and instead of pressure cooking, allow the sauce to simmer on low heat for as long as you can stand, at least 20-30 minutes. You can use the sauce right away, refrigerate it for up to a few days, or freeze it.

For reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1