Olan is one of the simplest and the easiest recipes in the Keralite cuisine. It’s a very traditional recipe, and is served as a part of the sadhya. Though very minimal ingredients are used it is very flavorful and delicious.

Ash gourd is thinly sliced and cooked up with chillies and salt. Then cooked cowpeas are added and finished off with thick coconut milk. The flavor mainly comes from the coconut oil drizzled along with curry leaves.

I have used cooked cowpeas here as I had some reserved cowpeas from the mathanga erissery recipe. Cowpeas is pressure cooked with a bit of salt, a few drops of oil, and 3 times water. There is no need for prior soaking.

Olan has been my favorite since childhood. Mom always used to make it with a combination of ash gourd and pumpkin. So for me, olan was always with these two vegetables 🙂  .

But after marriage, I got to know that olan is generally or almost always made with white ash gourd or winter melon and cowpeas. So now I make my olan this way.

Give it a try once when you come across ash gourd and you will definitely love it.

Over to the recipe….

A very simple Keralite dish made with ashgourd and coconut milk
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Keralite
Keyword: Kerala olan recipe, Olan with ash gourd
Servings: 2
Author: Hema Magesh
  • cups chopped ash gourd (app ½ of a small ash gourd)
  • ½ cup water(or as needed)
  • ¼ cup cooked cowpeas
  • ¼ cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 nos green chillies
  • 2 tsps coconut oil
  • salt as needed
  • few curry leaves
  • Remove the skin and center part of the ash gourd and chop into flat thin pieces. Grind ¼ cup tightly packed (50g) coconut with warm water and strain to get ¼ cup thick coconut milk. Keep aside.
    olan prep steps 1&2
  • Take the chopped ashgourd in a vessel and add the chillies and salt as needed. Add water to immerse the pieces and cook till the vegetable becomes soft.
    0lan preparation steps 3&4
  • Once it cooks and the water almost evaporates add the cooked cowpeas. Mix up gently and let it simmer for a minute.
  • Finally, add the thick coconut milk. Stir without breaking the pieces so that the mixture thickens a bit. Turn off stove before it starts boiling.
    olan prep steps 7&8
  • Drizzle coconut oil and garnish with fresh curry leaves.

Hema’s P.S

  • The ash gourd pieces are generally cut into flat thin rectangular pieces so that they can cook quickly.
  • The addition of green chillies is based on personal preference.
  • Do not boil the curry after the addition of thick coconut milk, as it can split.
  • Do not skip the coconut oil as it gives a distinct flavor to the preparation.

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Do look up my other Kerala recipes

Nendran pazham pulissery thumbnailMathanga Venpayar erissery thumbnail








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