My Dad’s ‘Not-Mutton’ Mushroom Curry

Vegan mutton curry
I grew up in a meat-eating household and one of our family’s long-standing traditions was a mutton curry that my dad prepared each Sunday.My dad, who was very handy around the kitchen unlike many men of his generation in India, would do most of the work, right from buying the meat in the morning to actually cooking it, as well as supervising everyone in the household who had some role to play in the actual preparation. My job was peeling a whole bulb of garlic and grating two kinds of coconut, fresh and dry. I hated both jobs: the juices from the garlic set my fingernails on fire, and I don’t remember a time when I didn’t grate my hand along with the coconut!But I did love that curry. I can close my eyes and still see my dad standing over a two-burner stove in our Bombay kitchen, carefully roasting the spices and then grinding them to perfection in a little blender. He loved making that curry, just as much as we loved eating it.After turning vegetarian, I sometimes would crave the spices in my dad’s mutton curry. But neither Desi nor I are fans of meat substitutes. Enter the mushroom. This wonderful veggie is like a blank palate and a better-than-meat substitute because it absorbs the flavors of the myriad spices beautifully while retaining its robust texture.To recreate my dad’s curry without the central ingredient, mutton (goat’s meat), I used two kinds of mushrooms, crimini and shiitake. My version, which I’m calling My Dad’s “Not-Mutton” Mushroom Curry, doesn’t take as long and I can skip all the steps that involve marinating and tenderizing the meat (ah, the many joys of being vegan!)

The dish is quite delicious, and I swear I have never missed the meat in it. I am certain even meat-eaters would love its robust flavors.

The curry is perfect either with brown or white rice or with any kind of Indian bread. A perfect accompaniment would be a simple avocado-tomato-onion salsa with some cilantro and a spritz of lemon juice.


I cannot wait to make this for my dad next time I see him!

My Dad’s ‘Not-Mutton’ Mushroom Curry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
My Dad’s “Not-Mutton” Mushroom Curry
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
  • 3 cups of assorted mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into chunky strips (I used crimini and shiitake, but you could use portabella or even button mushrooms)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed and microwaved with some water for about 5 minutes until they are barely tender.
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 red chillies
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 pods of green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (I use a packaged kind I buy from Whole Foods)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  1. Heat ½ tbsp of the oil in a skillet. Add the coriander, cumin, chillies. cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and roast until they start changing color and become fragrant. Remove and reserve.
  2. Heat another ½ tbsp of oil stir fry half the sliced onion, garlic and ginger until they are golden brown. Reserve.
  3. Without adding any more oil, roast the coconut shreds for just a few seconds until they start turning golden-brown. Remove immediately. Be vigilant because coconut can burn easily.
  4. Put the spices, onion, garlic, ginger and coconut in a blender and using ½ to 1 cup of water, grind to a smooth paste.
  5. In the same skillet used for toasting the spices and onions, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.
  6. Add the remaining onion and cook until the onion starts turning golden-brown.
  7. Add the diced tomatoes and turmeric. Cook until the tomatoes start to break down.
  8. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir to coat with the spices. Add the potatoes.
  9. Cover and let cook until the veggies turn quite tender.
  10. Now add the ground spice-onion mixture. Stir thoroughly.
  11. Cover and let it cook another 10 minutes for the flavors to meld together.
  12. Garnish with some cilantro or, like I did, add about ½ cup watercress in the last few minutes of cooking.
  13. Serve hot!
Mutton Curry, a vegan version
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

50 thoughts on “My Dad’s ‘Not-Mutton’ Mushroom Curry

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 2, 2008 at 12:05am

    That looks yummy. will try it with mutton.

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    February 2, 2008 at 3:39am

    Thanks, Vimmi, but the whole idea is that it tastes as good WITHOUT the mutton.

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    February 2, 2008 at 6:38pm

    Been a vegetarian all my life and trying to develop a taste for mushroom. Guess this dish will help me along the way. Looks yummy!

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    February 3, 2008 at 4:55am

    Happy Cook, Thanks. I hope you will try it.

    a-kay: mushrooms are wonderful- there are so many types of them, and each with its own unique flavor. Hope you enjoy them in this dish!

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    February 3, 2008 at 12:02pm

    What an irony, just posted about mutton kurma – have never eaten kurma at home growing up, so made it by tweaking the recipe Amma used for veg kurma!

    Your mushroom recipe looks delicious

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    February 3, 2008 at 2:19pm

    That looks delicious… Thank you for a vegetarian version.

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    February 4, 2008 at 8:02pm

    this sounds enticing. the spice mix is fabulous. a must-try :-)

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    February 5, 2008 at 11:05am

    what a wonderful post…you got me visualizing your dad cooking over the stove!…the curry looks divine…thanks for the Veg version…will try it sometime!

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    February 6, 2008 at 1:38am

    Miri, that really is ironic!

    Lavanya, Anke, Srivalli- Thanks!

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    February 17, 2008 at 1:00am

    this is really delicious! I saw your post at ppk and made this tonight, as well as your rice with cumin, pistachios, and raisins – fabulous! thanks so much for posting it.

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    July 14, 2008 at 2:35am


    I tried this recipe for afternoon ..It tasted very good with paratha….Thanx for the recipe.

  12. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    February 6, 2009 at 1:21am

    Gosh,that’s so spicy and flavorful,you bet I won’t miss the meat.You are right about the texture of mushrooms,perfect to substitute for meat.

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    March 27, 2009 at 10:17pm

    Thanks Vaishali for the recipe.This dish turned out superb. It tasted like mutton curry. My husband liked it very much. I have posted it in my blog too :)

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    May 30, 2009 at 1:15pm

    As some one who is practically brain dead and lazy, I tried this recipe cos I was unemployed and hungry. I took several short cuts couldn’t remember (brain dead), but turned out great!! I think this is one of those idiot proof recipes. One thing I couldn’t fathom is mine turned out yellowish in color while it looks dark brown on your page! Probably I went overboard with turmeric. Thanks vaishali for publishing a dish suited to my needs.

  15. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    July 14, 2009 at 9:08pm

    Tried this last week and i must I loved the taste.Thanks.


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    August 14, 2009 at 11:46am

    my harddrive died about 3 months back, ive been looking ever since for your blog. i was lying in bed and just remembered “my dads not mutton mushroom curry”. THANKYOU SEARCH ENGINE :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

  17. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 10, 2010 at 5:54pm

    Looks good probably it will taste good, but you did not mention anything about salt? how much to add and when to add? what’s up with that? Please clarify cos I want to try it!!!

  18. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 10, 2010 at 6:04pm

    Bhanu, I don’t usually give explicit directions on salt because that’s one ingredient people tend to use according to taste and, sometimes, health. For any dish on my blog, including this one, I’d advise adding the salt toward the end, unless I indicate otherwise. I find I tend to use less salt if I add it toward the end. Also, I don’t usually add salt before tomatoes in a recipe are completely cooked, because there’s something about salt that keeps tomatoes from cooking thoroughly.
    Hope that helps :)

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    June 11, 2010 at 6:02pm

    I made this yesterday and it is yummy. It is easy to make. I made with a half dried mushroom (reconstituted) and half button mushroom. Tastes fantastic with both rotis as well as rice. Thanks Vaishali for this wonderful recipe.


  20. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    October 22, 2010 at 3:27am

    Thanks Vaishali,

    Of course I remember Dad’s Mutton Curry and since I would sometimes help him around, during our Pune days, I mastered it myself. I often make Dad’s Mutton Curry myself but since we are confirmed die-hard carnivores, I prefer the real stuff- Mutton.

    And guess what…Ingmar also calls it Dad’s Mutton Curry because now its his dad who makes it.

    Mushrooms are pretty pricey out here at the moment, so I had tried one veggie version of this curry…using Suran…known better as Yam. It tastes similar to mutton when cooked that style. Only, you need to soak the Suran in a good quantity of water-tamarind solution to remove whatever stuff it has that causes itching.

    So, next time, try the recipe with Suran instead of mushrooms !!!

  21. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    single dad

    February 3, 2011 at 9:46pm

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!

  22. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Give Peas A Chance

    March 14, 2011 at 6:06pm

    this sounds delish! I’m going to try it without potatoes I’m not a fan but we love watercress here even my 2 year old

  23. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 4, 2011 at 2:29am

    Tried this with potatos and nutrela (soybean). Wife loves it. She says this one’s a “keeper”. Thanks for the recipe.

    It tastes very similar to mutton xacuti.. any Konkani / Goenkar connection ?

  24. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 4, 2011 at 3:14pm

    Surya, glad you and your wife liked it. My stepmother’s Goan, and although I think it’s originally my dad’s recipe, I can imagine some Goan influence could have crept in :)

  25. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    June 3, 2011 at 1:50am


    Tried it with couple of extra chillies, and curry leaves, came out well. Thanks


  26. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 1, 2011 at 1:11am


    I just made this and the color was different but I think it’s because I used a can of diced tomatoes. Anyway, the flavors are definitely very strong and this was different than most Indian dishes I’m used to making. The only problem I had was with the texture. I made the paste in my new Preethi and so when I put it in my mushroom mixture it ended up extremely thick. I just added some water to get a better texture and it ended up great. Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

  27. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    September 2, 2011 at 3:33pm

    Lovely recipe. A big time keeper. Me and hubby totally adored this.

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    October 4, 2011 at 7:40am

    Hi vaishali,
    this recipe reminded me of my mothers cauliflower. potato and peas curry (she use the same ingredient to create the curry masala). she uses the same masala, for making drumsticks and potato curry.

    God bless,

  29. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 7, 2011 at 7:26pm

    I made this yesterday, and it wasn’t as rich-looking as yours, or as dark. I too used a can of diced tomatoes. Was that part of it? Did I need to cook it longer. I’m not sure it had the curry flavor that I was expecting, either. Perhaps I didn’t toast the spices long enough?

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    November 8, 2011 at 7:50pm

    Carolann, the color can vary if you don’t roast your spices, or use less chilli. I use more because that’s how I like it. Also be sure to roast the onions until they are golden-brown. Perhaps the reason you are unsure about the taste is because your perception of curry is based on what you eat at restaurants where food is modified to suit local tastebuds. This is a truly traditional recipe from my parents’ part of India.

  31. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Gemini Xettigar

    January 31, 2012 at 8:31am

    Hi Vaishali

    Tried your recipe during the weekend. It was fantastic. It is very similar to the way Mangaloreansmake their version of garam masla gravies. Thanks A Million for a great recipe.

  32. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 19, 2012 at 12:18pm

    Hi Vaishali! I’m an avid reader/recipe follower of your blog!! I was wondering, if I’m making this at a friends place, is it possible to make the paste-with the spices, onion and coconut beforehand (like a day before) and just bag it and bring it with me, and do the rest of the prep at her place? I guess I have the same question for the ‘railway mushroom’ recipe as well? I’m just trying to figure out how to cut cooking time at her house. Thanks so much for your help!

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    April 19, 2012 at 8:07pm

    Hi Shilpa,absolutely! You can make the paste beforehand for both curries beforehand. You can even make it a couple of days before– just be sure to refrigerate it.

  34. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    November 16, 2012 at 11:41pm

    Hi, this Recipe looks and sounds divine, but I just wanted to know if the Shredded Coconut you use is dried or not? Many thanks from New Zealand :)

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      November 19, 2012 at 6:04am

      Hi Tikva, fresh or frozen coconut is best because of the moisture. At a pinch, use the dried coconut but if you can find coconut milk, add some.

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    December 22, 2012 at 2:02pm

    Hi Vaishali, I’m a new vegan and I’m so happy to find our site. I made this lovely curry and found it to be delicious. I am going to try many more of your recipes in the coming weeks. Thank-you for sharing them. Blessings, Kath in England

  36. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 25, 2013 at 8:08pm

    Stumbled upon your blog hunting for an eggless mango cake recipe and I really liked the way you write…so cheerful and energetic.
    And I really liked the name you coined for this dish! I love mushrooms and I definitley want to try this recipe. Sounds awesome.

    and your dad reminds me of my dad too, who loves to cook occassionaly and comes up with lipsmacking curries :) So glad to have met you here in this virtual world!


  37. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    April 5, 2013 at 3:54am

    made this tonight, absolutely scrumptious! i’m adding this to my heavy rotation, thank you for a great blog and delicious, well written recipes!

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    April 18, 2013 at 3:49pm

    wow!!! I made the curry . It is really good!!!!

  39. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 19, 2013 at 6:09pm

    Hi, I made both versions , one with mushrooms and potatoes and the other with chicken. Chicken wins outright. But that may be because we are die hard non vegetarians. :D This has been my go to recipe for chicken curry for over 2 years now. Thank you. And my to go mushroom curry on vegetarian days. yummmm. And we finish with curd rice and this curry.

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    December 11, 2013 at 8:24pm

    Hi Vaishali, Your Mushroom recipe looks yummy! Have you tried cooking with vegan meat?? I have some vegan stewed lamb chunks and am thinking to try it with your recipe.

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      December 11, 2013 at 9:58pm

      Hi Swati, yes, you definitely can use vegan meat in this recipe. Where did you find vegan lamb chunks?

      • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


        December 17, 2013 at 2:32am

        There is a restaurant in Falls Church (VA) called “Loving Hut”. They sell vegan products too. Absolutely love their vegan meat! Heres the link for the same

        • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


          December 17, 2013 at 3:03am

          Wow, that’s good to know Swati. Gotta make a trip there soon. Thanks for the link.

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    April 15, 2014 at 7:28am

    Hallo vaishali, do you remember how your dad marinated the mutton? My husband doesnt like mushroom so i wanted to try this recipe with tempeh or seitan instead! And i thought maybe those substitutes would taste better marinated? What do you think?

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      April 15, 2014 at 1:12pm

      Hi there, yes marinating tempeh or seitan first is a good idea. My dad used ginger, garlic, green chilies, turmeric and salt, all blended to a paste. You might want to reduce the ginger and garlic in the rest of the recipe proportionately. Good luck! :)

      • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


        April 19, 2014 at 1:47am

        Thank you so much, Vaishali! Greetings from Germany, org.

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      April 15, 2014 at 1:14pm

      Hi, I am not sure since I don’t live there, but you could try this recipe with other greens like spinach.

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