Olan is a bland dish with the flavor of coconut. It is part of the traditional Kerala meal. It is a very simple dish yet very flavorful. Red pumpkin adds slight sweetness to the dish. Olan can be made with just ash gourd and pumpkin alone. You can throw in few long yard beans also to it. And cow peas (small brown colored beans) can also be added. Sometimes, few pieces of taro root/arbi is also added. You can mix and match the ingredients according to the availability. The vegetables can be cooked in water or thin coconut milk to add up the flavor.
- Ash gourd/Kumbalanga - 250 gms
- Pumpkin/Mathanga - 250 gms
- Long yard bean/Payar - 5 nos (optional)
- Cowpeas/vellapayar - a handful
- Green chilli - 1 no
- Thick Coconut milk - 3 tblspn
- Coconut oil - 1 tspn
- Salt to taste
Pressure cook cow peas till soft. I have used black eyed beans. Peel the skin from the vegetables and remove the seeds. Chop both pumpkin and ash gourd into thin squares. Trim the edges of long yard beans and cut into 1 inch long pieces. Dilute 2 tablespoon of coconut milk in 1 1/2 cups of water. Add the chopped vegetables to it. Add a slit green chilly and salt to it.
While its half cooked, add the cooked cow peas to it. Be gentle while you mix the veggies when it is cooking so as not to break them much. Cook till the veggies are soft yet firm. Remove from heat. Add the remaining coconut milk and mix gently. Drizzle a teaspoon of coconut oil and cover it, for the flavors to steep in. Serve hot. The aroma of veggies cooked in coconut milk and of coconut oil is very tantalizing. If cowpeas is used, it will slighty color the olan to light brown.