Start Instant Pot on saute mode - normal.
In the main pot of the Instant Pot, add 3-4 tablespoons of oil, and lightly heat it up.
When the oil is heated, add 1 bay leaf & a 1 inch long cinnamon stick, and lightly roast it for a few seconds.
To it, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, and lightly roast for a few more seconds.
Then add 2 tablespoons of chopped ginger & 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic, and lightly roast for a couple of minutes, till they start to change color.
After which add 1 chopped green chilli, and lightly roast for a few seconds.
Then add 2 cups of chopped onions, and about 1 teaspoon of salt, and saute till the onions soften & turn translucent. This might take about 7-8 minutes. There is no need to brown the onions for this recipe.
When done, add 1 tablespoon of garam masala, 1 tablespoon of coriander powder, ½ tablespoon of cumin powder & ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, mix it in, and lightly roast for a few seconds. At this point, it's best to also add a splash of water, to avoid the spice powders from burning.
Then add the tomato puree (made from 2 small tomatoes), mix it in, and lightly cook it for 1-2 minutes. You can also use chopped tomatoes here, I just prefer the puree because it does a good job of binding the curry together.
And when done, turn off the Instant Pot saute mode, and add in the masoor dal, along with 3 cups of fresh water, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Mix everything together, then close the Instant Pot lid, and ensure it's on sealing.
Pressure cook for 20 minutes on high, and then let all the pressure release naturally from the pot.
When done, open the Instant Pot lid, and check on the consistency of the dal as well as taste for salt, and adjust based on your preference.
For instance, if you prefer a thicker dal to serve with rotis, then you might not need to adjust the consistency, as the dal will be on the thicker side after pressure cooking, as masoor absorbs a lot of water.
But if you prefer a slightly more flowing dal, that can be paired with rotis or rice too, then you might need to add some water, and then taste for salt & adjust accordingly. If you are adding water, it's best to add hot water, to maintain the temperature of the dal when hot.
I usually add ½ cup of hot water & also another ½ teaspoon of salt to get the consistency I prefer. You can go with whatever you prefer.
Finally add ½-¾ cup of fresh chopped coriander leaves, mix it in, and serve hot.
This Whole Masoor Dal recipe pairs extremely well with rotis as well as rice.