Saar, the Maharashtrian spicy soup, is a delicious, light, brothy soup made mainly with tomatoes but also with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, or even beets. It is spiced with fresh coconut paste and seasoned with spices and curry leaves.

The sweetness from the coconut in the paste balances out the tanginess of the tomatoes and the spiciness from the chilies, making this soup lip-smackingly delicious!

There are a couple of versions of the recipe, one with the addition of roasted peanuts in the paste and another with the addition of coconut milk to thicken the soup. It is usually slurped on its own but can also be served with rice on the side or paired with Masale Bhaat.

Recipe Developer: Vasanti Bhadkamkar-Balan, author of Authentic Indian Cooking with Your Instant Pot, Classic and Innovative Recipes for the Home Cook

Saar (Spicy Tomato Soup)

Serves 2 to 4


Soup Base:

  • 4 medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small Yukon gold potato, halved
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) water
  • 4 to 5 black peppercorns
  • ½-inch (1.3-cm) piece cinnamon bark
  • 1 dried bay leaf


  • ¼ cup (4 g) roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ¼ cup (25 g) grated fresh or thawed frozen coconut
  • 1 to 2 green birds-eye chilies, broken into pieces (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • ½-inch (1.3-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled


  • 2 tbsp (30 g) coconut oil or neutral oil of choice
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • 5 to 6 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 to 2 dried round red chilies (see Note)
  • Salt, as needed
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 8 to 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves roughly chopped, for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp (12 g) grated fresh or thawed frozen coconut, for garnishing


  1. Start by making the soup base. Place the tomatoes, potato, carrot, water,
    peppercorns, cinnamon bark, and bay leaf in the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
  2. Close the Instant Pot’s lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
  3. Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and set the timer for 5 minutes at high pressure. When the cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally—which will take 12 to 15 minutes—and then open the lid.
  4. Take the inner pot out of the Instant Pot. Set the inner pot aside and let the
    cooked vegetables cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, make the paste. In a blender or food processor, combine the cilantro, coconut, bird’s-eye chilies (if using), garlic and ginger. Process the ingredients to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  6. Once the vegetables have cooled, transfer them and their cooking liquid to a
    blender. Puree the vegetables until they are smooth. Strain the puree through a sieve and set it aside. Rinse the inner pot and wipe it dry.
  7. To make the soup, place the cleaned inner pot in the Instant Pot and press the Saut. button. When the display reads “Hot,” add the oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and asafetida. When the seeds sizzle and the turmeric and asafetida froth, add the curry leaves and red chilies. Stir in the paste and salt. the mixture for 2 minutes.
  8. Pour in the vegetable puree and stir to combine the ingredients well.
  9. Season the soup with salt and sugar. Let the soup come to a boil, stirring it occasionally.
  10. Press the Cancel button. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, garnish each serving with the cilantro and grated coconut and serve the soup hot. Note: You can use long dried red chilies in place of the round red chilies if you don’t have them.

• Substitute potatoes with golden or red beets. Or feel free to keep the potatoes and simply add the beets for even more vegetable
• You can add. to. cup (60 to 120 ml) of coconut milk to the strained puree to thicken the soup.



Calories 276 | Total Fat 18mg | Saturated fat 14.9g | Sodium 41mg | Total Carbohydrate 29.3g | Dietary Fiber 7.8g | Total Sugars 10.8g | Protein 4.3g | Calcium 70mg | Iron 3mg | Potassium 1105mg |

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