Olan | Kerala Olan with Ashgourd and Cowpea Beans

A very simple side dish with ash gourd, cow pea beans and coconut milk…




Now to the final recipe after the Puli Inji and the Kootu Curry for the Blogging Marathon #138 theme of “Festival Specials”, this must be one of the easiest recipes on a sadya. An Olan is a simple side dish with very limited ingredients. If just like me you think, “Will this taste fine?” after reading the ingredients, then I don’t blame you. I had the same feeling. I am not a fan of the Olan but I would still enjoy it because I like its simple flavors.


This dish has only ashgourd, red cow pea beans and coconut milk as its main ingredients. It’s flavor element comes from green chillies, curry leaves and a drizzle of fresh coconut oil at the end. It seems salt is usually not added in the Olan, but I did add. Maybe it is the fixation with salt. 😉 You can cook the cow pea beans in advance and store them in the fridge. Once the ash gourd is cooked, you can add the beans. I cooked the gourd in thin coconut milk to add some flavor, but you can cook in very little water and finish off with more thick coconut milk than I have used. Off to this recipe…



5 from 1 vote

Olan | Kerala Olan with Ashgourd and Cowpea Beans

Course Afternoon Side
Cuisine Kerala
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1/3 cup red cowpea beans/ chawli soaked overnight
  • 500 gm ashgourd
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 sprig curry leaves


  • Cook the cow pea beans till done. Drain and set aside.
  • Peel and chop the ash gourd into medium sized pieces.
  • Put the ash gourd along with the thin coconut milk, green chillies and salt into a pressure cooker and cook for one whistle. This vegetable cooks really fast.
  • Allow the pressure to go by itself.
  • Open and add the cooked cow pea beans. Give it a good mix and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the thick coconut milk, mix, adjust seasoning and switch off. You shouldn't boil the mixture, it only needs to be heated or else it will split.
  • Pour the coconut oil over and add the curry leaves. Keep it closed till time of serving.


Olan thickens as it sits. 



Join the Conversation

  1. 5 stars
    I love olan for its simplicity and flavors. Now I am craving for this. I guess, I will go to the kitchen now to make this. Great festive recipes!

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