Olan ( Kerala Style Stew With Ash Gourd And Black Eyed Peas )

          We love Kerala food at home, both the husband and I love the Sadya served during Onam, in fact I want to cook a complete sadya, at least once. I don't know when that's going to happen, might be by next Onam, but I do make Kerala dishes once in a while, especially the moru kuzhambu. Olan had been on my do list for a long time, and finally I made it, a couple of weeks back. I don't know why it took me so long to try it, this being such an easy dish, the only major task, might be extracting the coconut milk, even that I wouldn't say is a big task. Anyway, this is a mild stew with pusinikkai or ash gourd/ winter melon and black eyed peas and the seasoning is done with coconut oil which gives a wonderful flavor to the dish. It goes very well with plain rice, but I think it might also taste good with dosas and adais too..

Need To Have

  • Ash Gourd/Pusinikkai Pieces - 2 cups
  • Black Eyed Peas - 1/4 cup
  • Green chillies - 4
  • Grated Coconut - 1 cup
  • Curry Leaves - 15 to 20
  • Coconut Oil - 1 to 2 teaspoons


          Wash, pressure cook the black eyed peas and keep. Cook the ash gourd pieces ( about 1" long and 1/2" thick pieces ) with half the curry leaves, slit green chillies and salt. In the meantime, blend the coconut with 1/2 cup of warm water and extract the first coconut milk, then again blend it with 1 cup of water and squeeze out the second milk and keep. Once the ash gourd pieces are cooked, add the cooked black eyed peas and the second coconut milk and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the first milk, warm it through and remove.

          Heat the coconut oil, add the remaining curry leaves to it and saute for half a minute, then add it to the cooked olan. Serve it warm with some cooked plain rice and any spicy curry like a potato or colocasia fry.

You can also add some yellow pumpkin/ parangikkai pieces in this dish.


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