Sunday, 28 October 2012

Kerala Onam Special Recipe: Olan

Authentic onam sadya olan is made from ash gourd [kumbalanga] and black eyes beans. It is a mildly spiced dish made with coconut milk, cumin seeds and coconut milk. Like the kalan, olan is a standard on the onam menu. No sadya is complete without the olan, whether it is onam, vishu or any kerala wedding feast.

Olan can also be made with pumpkin and cowpeas. Check my Onam sadya recipes section for other tried and tested Onam recipes like pulliserry, erissery, cabbage thoran, pachadi, etc.


1.       Black eyed beans – ½ cup

Soak the beans for 3-4 hours. Cook the beans with enough water and salt.

1.       Ash gourd – 2 cups
2.       Green chillies – 3
3.       Thin coconut milk- 1 cup
4.       Cumin powder – ½ tsp
5.       Salt – to taste

Slice the ash gourd into half inch cubes. Add cooked beans, green chillies, cumin powder, salt and thin coconut milk. Cook on low fire till the vegetables are well cooked.

6.       Thick coconut milk – ½ cup
7.       Curry leaves- 1 sprig

Add the thick coconut milk and curry leaves. Simmer for few minutes. Do not boil.

8.       Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

Pour the fresh coconut oil over the curry and mix lightly. Tasty olan is ready.

Grandma’s Secret Tips:

  • The dish is tastier when the vegetables are cooked in thin coconut milk rather than water.
  • You can make the same recipe adding ½ cup pumpkin pieces to 1½ cups of ash gourd. It is tastier and prettier.
  • Do not overcook the ash gourd or the beans; should not get mashed.
  • Do not boil after the thick coconut milk is added, the gravy will curdle.
  • Cumin is the only spice added to olan. even the green chillies are optional.

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