Sunday, December 10, 2006

Recipe: Olan

Olan is the simplest and a unique dish of Kerala with no spice at all in it(except green chillies, which is optional) flavoured with coconut milk and coconut oil and fresh curry leaves. Yet, when made with the right ingredients in the right proportion, it tastes heavenly. It is made with simple gourds and cowpeas which makes it a very healthy diet even for invalids. No big feast is complete without olan on the menu.

The vegetables used have high medicinal value and are easily digestible and low in calories. Ash gourd, for example is rich in calcium and vit. B and C and fibre. It is also a diuretic and its juice is particularly good for diabetics and the obese . Sweet red pumpkin is rich in Vitamins A and B, protein and calcium and is a low calorie vegetable. Cow peas though a high calorie food is rich in protein, calcium and vitamins A and B.

Red Pumpkin(ripe with a hard outer shell) :250 gms
Ash gourd(winter melon) :250 gms
Cowpeas : 2 tbsps. Or more according to taste

( tenderfresh green pods of the peas(lobia) are also used in preparation of Olan)
in case fresh lobia are used,
lobia :50 gms.

Coconut oil : 2 tsps.
Curry leaves: few
Jaggery : a small piece
Green chillies: 1 or 2
Salt to taste.

Soak the cow peas (if using dry peas) for 4 – 5 hrs or overnight.
Remove the skin and slice the gourds into 1½" to 2" thin squares. If using fresh lobia, cut them into 2" pieces. Slit the green chillies. Pressure cook the peas and vegetables and chillies until peas are soft. Add salt and jaggery and boil until the curry is thick (gourds will release their water content when cooked). Remove from heat, add curry leaves and coconut oil. Olan is ready to serve.

Olan can be prepared using only ash gourd and cow peas. Follow the same method as above, just before removing from the stove add a table spoon of thick coconut milk.

There is another variety of olan, called "Thondolan" prepared using raw bananas and lobia.

Raw banana :1
Cow peas :1 tbsp.
Jaggery : a small piece
Salt to taste
Coconut oil : 2 tsps.

Slice raw banana vertically once and then into 2mm slices. Cook along with pre-soaked cow peas and add salt and jaggery and flavour with coconut oil and curry leaves.


1 comment:

Ramki said...

Hi Ammupatti,
Am blogging your Olan as a model recipe in the 1001 Kerala curries cookbook at

/Thanks for the recipe