My Dad’s Not-Mutton Mushroom Curry with No Added Fats

My favorite dish to cook and eat has always been My Dad’s “Not-Mutton” Mushroom Curry— a recipe I shared long ago here at Holy Cow! It is a spicy, saucy vegan curry made using the same flavor base my father used when he cooked his very special mutton curry for our family each Sunday, when I was growing up.

The vegan version I first shared contains far less fat than my father’s curry did, because I both cut down on the amount of oil added to the dish and because, of course, I cut out on all that fat that meat inevitably introduces to a dish. As I explore ways to make my recipes even leaner than they already are, I decided to challenge myself this weekend: to see if I could make a version of my dad’s not-mutton mushroom curry with no added fats whatsoever, without losing any of that wonderful flavor.

I must say I surprised myself– very pleasantly. I left out completely the two tablespoons of oil that I had used in my earlier version, and I cut down on the coconut milk. But I also modified the process to add more flavor without adding more oil. For instance, I roasted the garlic and the chillies, and I added green bell peppers. It had been a suggestion from a reader who’d tried the recipe, and it was a really good one.

I also used a different spice mix: instead of the garam masala that my father mixed up each time he made the dish, I used Kolhapuri Masala. This is a zingy red masala from Kolhapur, a city in the Indian state of Maharashtra known for its fiery chillies. I chose it because it has more ingredients than garam masala does, and therefore it adds more depth to the dish– very important when you’re cooking without fat. Since Desi can’t stand too much heat in his food, the chillies I use to mix up my Kolhapuri masala are just the moderately spicy dry red chillies I keep in my pantry and not the super-spicy ones. Still, the flavor’s quite special. I always keep a jar of Kolhapuri masala around for those evenings when I need to come up with something really special really fast.

Here are the recipes, then, for my no-fat-added version of My Dad’s “Not-Mutton” Mushroom Curry, and for that very special Kolhapuri masala. Enjoy, all!



Kolhapuri Masala
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Spice paste
Cuisine: Indian
  • 8 dry red chillies
  • 1 cup coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 12 cloves
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp mace
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 2-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 4 large bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  1. Roast all the ingredients one at a time (except the turmeric), until they are a couple of shades darker and aromatic. Roast the garlic and the onion until dark spots appear, but don't let them burn.
  2. Remove everything to a dish to cool, and then place in a blender. Blend into a coarse powder. I sometimes add some coconut milk, blend the masala into a paste and then freeze it, but you can skip that because we are trying to cut out fats from our diet.

My Dad's Not-Mutton Mushroom Curry with No Added Fats
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A healthier version of my already healthy recipe for My Dad's Not-Mutton Mushroom Curry. There are no added oils in this recipe.
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut in ¾-inch cubes
  • 1 large green pepper, cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1-inch finger of ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 green chillies
  • ¼ cup Kolhapuri Masala
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  1. Heat a large pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onions. Roast, stirring frequently, until brown spots appear.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and saute another two minutes.
  3. Remove the onions, ginger and garlic to a blender. Add the tomato puree, green chillies, and half the coconut milk.
  4. Add enough water and blend into a smooth paste.
  5. Heat the same pan and add the kolhapuri masala to it along with the rest of the coconut milk. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes, mushrooms, and green bell pepper and stir to coat everything.
  6. Add the blended masala paste and add enough water so the veggies are almost but not quite submerged. Bring everything to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Slap a lid on the pan and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  7. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with some fresh coriander and serve hot with rice, roti, naan, or a crusty bread.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Get new recipes by email. Sign up below.


  1. says

    Do you just fry the onions in a dry pan? Do you use a non-stick pan? I know frying mushrooms without oil is pretty easy, because the mushrooms start to lose their water into the pan and that helps to keep things moving so you can saute without burning. Maybe onions do something similar. I love that you’ve reduced the coconut milk dramatically. I like coconut milk, but there’s no getting around that it’s a high fat food.

    Also, a minor comment, but you might consider listing the ingredients in the order that they appear in the recipe, because I often prep veggies as I make the recipe.

    I love these fat-free revamps. I had gotten a little too free with the oil lately, and these recipes are a tasty way to rein in that habit. Thank you!

    • says

      Yes, I roast them in a dry cast-iron pan, but you can roast them in a nonstick pan too. Just “saute” them until dark spots begin to appear. If they get too dry, add some salt to sweat them.

  2. Anonymous says

    In the Kolhapuri Masala recipe, can you elaborate on roasting the onion and garlic? Are they roasted in an oven or in a dry pan? Are they roasted whole or chopped? If in a pan, won’t the onions ooze liquid and prevent the roasting process and rather cook the onions instead?

    I second Jeannie’s comment about listing ingredients in the order they are used.

    • says

      Chop the onions before roasting in a dry pan– a coarse chop will be fine. Let brown spots appear on the onions and garlic and stir them frequently to prevent from sticking. The onions won’t ooze liquid if you don’t salt them. They will soften a bit.

  3. says


    Mushroom is something I still have not gotten used to somehow, but I must admit, from picture I am tempted. Looks like Your dad’s good cook too, runs in a family.

    I am eating eggplants now though :-) You’re changing me:P


  4. says

    This too looks good, I might cheat and use a teaspoon of light olive oil. I hope it’s as good as your caribbean chick pea dish which my spouse, the Education Tipster raved about.
    By the way those salwars and sarees look beautiful, those vibrant colours are magnificent but they are expensive though.
    Take care.

  5. says

    Vaishali– Possibly silly question but when you say the moderately spicy red chiles you keep…..if I go the the Indian grocery near me and get a bag of the dried red chiles—will they be moderately spicy? Yes it sounds stupid as I type it. I mean –I know you can’t predict the heat of a pepper but are these usually not terribly hot? I am quite the novice with Indian cooking. Apologies for my goofiness!

    • says

      Dawn, that’s a very good question and it really is very difficult to tell the spiciness of chilies because at the Indian store they sell them in large bags usually just marked with the words “red chillies”– there is no indication of the level of spiciness. If you are sensitive to heat and can’t take a chance, just use smoked paprika, which is quite mild and already has a smoky flavor so you don’t need to toast it. Add it to the masala with the remaining ingredients. If you can’t find smoked paprika, use plain paprika, but again, don’t toast it.

    • says

      Thanks for the feedback. We (my husband and I) like things spicy but I was just wondering how SPICY. I will make the recipe with the ingredients I can find and go from there! LOL. At the Indian restaurant we frequent I order my dishes “medium”, sometimes “hot” and my husband orders “hot” sometimes “Indian hot”. I know we will enjoy this curry. Thanks for the yummy recipes. I have tried some of your breads and enjoyed them too!

Leave a comment!