A spicy Indian curry with mushrooms and coconut made in the Konkani style from western India. This recipe is based on a mutton curry my dad made when we were kids and to me it really is the ultimate vegan comfort food. It's also vegan, nut-free, gluten-free and soy-free.
My Dad's Not-Mutton Mushroom Curry has lived on this blog since its infancy. I am resharing it today, and the rest of this post much as I had written it so many years ago, in memory of my father who passed away last week.
Dad stood apart from men of his generation in many ways (you can read more about him on my Facebook post), one of those being his willingness to help my mother around the kitchen--something men in India rarely did at the time. He was also a good cook in his own right and a mutton curry he made so lovingly for the family each Sunday was the highlight of our weekends.
The mutton curry was made in the style of Karwari konkani cuisine--Karwar being a beautiful coastal city in the south Indian state of Karnataka where Dad's family came from. Dad would do most of the work, right from buying the mutton (goat's 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 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 and that's why I came up with this not-mutton mushroom curry. I make it with the exact masalas Dad used, but because I use veggies instead of meat, I get to skip several steps involving marinating and tenderizing the meat.
I use two kinds of mushrooms in this recipe, fresh crimini and dry shiitake, which I reconstitute. The mix adds lots of flavor and texture. You can use other kinds of mushrooms, and you can also use eggplants. I swear you will not miss the meat in this curry, and even meat-eaters I've served it to love its robust flavors.
The curry is perfect either with brown or white rice or with any kind of Indian bread. We would eat the curry with rice or a soft roll called a pav, tearing pieces of the bread with our fingers and dunking it into the curry. You can just use a storebought dinner roll of something like this soft sourdough roll.
I hope you will try this curry and love it as much as we have, in memory of the man who taught me how to cook with love.
This one is for you, dearest Dad.
Try these recipes next:
- Malaysian Mushroom Korma
- Railway Mushroom Curry
- Tofu Makhani
- Mushroom Matar, Mushroom and Peas in a Creamy Sauce
- Vegan Malai Kofta Curry
My Dad's 'Not-Mutton' Mushroom CurryPrint Recipe Pin Recipe Review Recipe
- 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1-2 dry red chili peppers (use Kashmiri chili peppers for good color and moderate heat)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 5 pods green cardamom
- ½-inch piece dagad phool (stoneflower, optional)
- ½ flower mace (optional)
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns (use less for less heat)
- 1 large onion (half sliced, the other half finely diced)
- 6 large garlic cloves , sliced
- 1-inch piece ginger , thinly sliced
- ½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened. Use freshly grated or frozen)
- 2-4 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
- 2 medium potatoes (cut into 1-inch cubes)
- 2 cups dry shiitake mushrooms
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms (or button mushrooms are fine)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (plus more lemon wedges for serving)
- Soak the dry mushrooms in 3 cups boiling water for at least 30 minutes to help them reconstitute. Once they are plump and juicy, halve or quarter them. You can trim out any tough stems.
- Heat ½ tbsp of the oil in a skillet. Add the coriander, cumin, chillies. cardamom, cloves, daga phool and mace if using, cinnamon, peppercorns, poppy seeds and fennel seeds, Roast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the coriander seeds start changing color and become fragrant.
- Add the sliced onion, garlic and ginger and saute until the onions get brown spots. Remove to a plate to cool down.
- Without adding any more oil, roast the shredded coconut in the hot pan until some of the shreds turn quite brown but be careful not to burn. Coconut has oils and can burn easily. Place the coconut on the plate with the other roasted spices.
- Once the coconut and spices have cooled, add them to the blender with a cup of water (or use a cup of the water you soaked the mushrooms in). Blend into a very smooth paste.
- In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.
- Add the chopped onions and cilantro with about ½ tsp of salt and cook until the onions begin to brown.
- Stir in the potatoes and the shiitake mushrooms. Add the water remaining from soaking the mushrooms to the pot, stir, cover and let the potatoes cook until almost tender. Stir a couple of times while they are cooking to make sure there's some liquid in the pot.
- Once the potatoes are almost done, add the crimini or button mushrooms, stir to mix, and then add the ground masala from the blender.
- At this point add a cup or two of water or vegtable stock to thin out the curry to your liking. Stir well, check the seasoning and add salt, and let the curry come to a boil. Let it cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until you see some specks of fat pool at the top, about 10-15 minutes. You can add more water at any point if the curry gets too thick.
- Garnish with cilantro and turn off the heat. Serve hot with wedges of lemons to squirt on top of the curry.