Kerala Olan is a a very simple side dish made of ash gourd, pink cowpeas/ vanpayar and coconut milk. It forms an important part of any sadya. Commonly, olan is prepared using the ash gourd/ winter melon and cowpeas, one or two chilies, simmered in coconut milk with a dash of coconut oil. But my mother prepare using a combination of both ash gourd and pumpkin. I guess every part of Kerala has its own version. But today I am posting the recipe of common olan with ash gourd and cowpeas. It is an important side dish in onam sadya menu. Here goes the recipe with detailed step by step cooking pictures, do try and let me know your valuable feedback in comment section below.
Onam is the biggest and the most important festival celebrated in Kerala state, India. It is considered to be a harvest festival. It is the festival celebrated with most number of cultural elements such as vallam kali, pulikali, pookkalam, onathappanm thumbi thullal, kummati kali, onathallu, onapottan, onavillu, kazhchakkula, atthachamayam etc. The most impressive part of onam celebration is the grand feast called onasadya, prepared on thiruonam day. It is a nice course meal consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. The feast is served on banana leaves and people sit on a mat laid on the floor to have the meal.
Tips- Olan curry can also be made with black- eyed peas instead of pink cow peas/ van payar. Use coconut oil and fresh coconut milk for better flavor. You can also add yellow pumpkin along with ash gourd. While preparing olan, there is no need to pre-soak the beans before cooking. Make sure that the olan beans are not over cooked. It sould retain its shape.
How to Make Kerala Olan Recipe- Kerala Sadya Recipe- Onam Sadya Special
Pressure cook cowpeas with enough water. Cook in medium flame for 1-2 whistle and off the flame.
Once the pressure settles, upon the lid and drain out the water from the beans. Wash out the beans with warm water for 1-2 times. Otherwise the brown color from the cowpeas will make the olan brownish. The traditional authentic olan is white in color, maintain its color and beans should not be over cooked, it should hold its shape. Drain out the water and set aside.
In a clay pot add ash gourd, little water, salt and green chilies. Cook in medium flame until ash gourd is tender, do not over cooked or mashed.
Add cooked cowpeas and combine well.
Add thin coconut milk and cook for 3-4 minutes in medium flame.
Add thick coconut milk and cook for 1-2 minutes in slow flame and off the flame.
Pour coconut oil and curry leaves. Adjust salt at this level and serve along with rice.
Enjoy!! Happy cooking and stay healthy.