Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Olan (Ashgourd & Red cow pea in coconut milk)

This is one sadya dish that has amazed me with its subtle yet beautiful flavour and the minimum ingredients that goes into its preparation. If you ask me which is my favorite sadya item, without any hesitation I would say it's Olan. It's not too spicy, but rich due to the addition of coconut milk. I somehow feel that the pictures haven't done justice to its wonderful taste. So please don't go by the looks...yeah..looks can be deceiving!


Red cow peas - 1/2 cup, cooked with little salt
Ashgourd - 1 cup, thinly sliced to 1 inch pieces
Green chilly - 2
Thick coconut milk - 1 cup
Thin coconut milk - 2 cups
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste

Tempering (optional, you can serve the olan with the tempering as well)
Small onions - 1 tbsp, thinly sliced
Curry leaves - 4-5 leaves
Coconut oil - 1 tbsp


1. Pressure cook the red cow peas with little salt and water for 4-5 whistles. Wait till the pressure gets released. Donot add too much water.
2. In a manchatti or kadai, add the cooked cow peas along with its water, add the sliced ash gourd and green chillies too. Add the thin coconut milk and half cup water. Cook them together till the ashgourd is cooked well. At this stage the curry should not be too thin, it should be starting to thicken.
3. Now add the thick coconut milk, stir well to combine. Check for salt at this stage and add as needed. Let it be on low heat till steam starts coming. (The curry should not be allowed to boil after adding thick coconut milk). Switch off the stove, add coconut oil, give a good stir and close the vessel with a lid (this will allow for the flavours to set in, and olan should sit for atleast half hour before serving)
4. Heat a small pan and add the coconut oil. Add the curry leaves and thin slices of small onion. Saute till onions turn very light brown. Add them along with the oil to the olan and close with a lid.

Serve with kutharichoru.

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