Olan is a popular dish from Kerala, usually prepared in Kerala during the harvest festival called Onam. Onam is a festival which commemorates the Vamana Avatar of Vishnu & the subsequent homecoming of the legendary emperor Mahabali. According to the legend, Kerala witnessed it golden era during the reign of Mahabali. It is the visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. The festival is marked by various festivities such as – flower carpets, elaborate lunches, boat races etc. Onam is a 10 day festival. The central feature of Onam is the grand feast called Onasadya, it is a nice course meal, consisting of 11 to 13 essential dishes. The spread is served on banana leaves & people seat themselves on a mat laid on the floor. It is a tradition to play games collectively called Onakalikal. Men play rigorous sports like Talappanthukali – a game using a ball, Ambeyyal – a game of Archery, etc. Women involve themselves in other cultural activities like intricately designed flower mats called Pookalam in the front courtyard of the house to welcome King Mahabali. Kaikotti & Thumbi Thullal are two dances performed by women.
The other day a friend- Radhika had invited me over for lunch. She hails from Kerala & she had prepared Olan & I instantly fell in love with this.
It is traditionally prepared using Ash gourd, unfortunately Ash gourd is not available here in Glasgow. So, she prepared plan adding butternut squash & black-eyed peas. Turned out yummy. I’m sure the one prepared using ash gourd is equally tasty. I miss eating ash gourd. There are loads of Konkani dishes which are centred around ash gourd.
If you like dishes with coconut milk, you should definitely try this one. It’s mildly hot, the butternut squash adds it’s slight sweet flavour too & a very good accompaniment with rice. The dish smells heavenly from the curry leaves added :).
Ingredients: (Serves 4) Preparation Time: 20 – 25 mins
Black-eyed peas – 1 cup, soaked in water for about an hour
Ash gourd/ Butternut squash – 1.5 – 2 cups, skin peeled & cut into cubes
Green chilli – 3-4, slit lengthwise
Water – 3.5 cups
Thick coconut milk – 1 cup, I used 5-6 tbsp of coconut milk powder dissolved in water
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, roughly about 10- 12 leaves, torn
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Transfer the soaked black-eyed peas to a pressure cooker, add about 2 cups of water & let the water come to a boil. Now pressure cook the soaked black-eyed peas for 10 minutes. Do not wait for a whistle as they will get overcooked & we want the peas nice & firmly cooked, not over-cooked. Separate the peas, & the water.
Tip: You can make a rasam out of the water used to cook the black-eyed peas. Follow the tempering used for – Brown lentil/Horse gram/Kulitha Saaru.
When the black-eyed peas are cooking, simultaneously in another vessel, add 1.5 cups of water & add the washed ash/gourd or butternut squash cubes. Add the slit green chilli’s & salt to taste. Once the water begins to boil, set the heat to medium & let the ash gourd/butternut squash cook. Remember, just like the black-eyed peas, we need the vegetable to be firm & not over cooked. Once they are about 80% cooked add the cooked black-eyed peas & the coconut milk & curry leaves. Once the curry comes to a boil, simmer & let the vegetable cook to 100%. Turn off the heat & add coconut oil.
Serve hot with some boiled/steamed rice. I licked my fingers clean, I’m sure you will too. 🙂
If you liked this, check out the recipe’s for – Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry, Chicken Stew – Kerala Style, Prawn Pepper Fry – Kerala style, Vendekka Moor Kolumbu/Lady’s Finger in a spiced yogurt curry.., etc.
- Mango and Butternut Squash Soup – the Edward Daniel EthiVegan Blog (theedwarddanielethiveganblog.wordpress.com)
- B.s. fries – butternut squash fries (ovenhappy.net)
- Butternut Squash Coconut Curry with Garlic Naan – Vegan + Gluten Free (delishlishfood.wordpress.com)
- Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese (epicureanvegan.com)