Kerala Olan – Onam Recipe

Here is the recipe…

Recipe adapted from “Flavours of the Spice Coast” by Mrs.K.M.Mathew

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Servings: 4 -6
Author: Maria Jose


  • 1/2 cup Black-eyed beans (vanpayar)
  • 2.5 - 3 cups Ash gourd (kumbalanga) ( cut into cubes)
  • 3-4 Green chilli (slit lengthwise)
  • 3.5 cups Water
  • 3/4 - 1 cup Thick coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Curry leaves
  • Coconut oil


  • Pressure cook the beans (vanpayar) with 1.5 cups water (refer notes). Strain the stock and keep aside the cooked beans. The beans should not be over cooked and it should retain its shape.
  • Cook together ash gourd, green chilli, salt and 2 cups water, till ash gourd becomes tender. Again, ash gourd also should not be overcooked and it should retain its shape.
  • Add the cooked beans to the ash gourd and mix well. Add coconut milk and curry leaves. Cook on low flame for 5-7 mins. Remove from the fire and drizzle some coconut oil.
  • The curry has a thick consistency.


I didnt soak the beans before cooking. I pressure cooked it directly. After the first whistle reduced the flame to low-medium and cooked for 6-7 whistles. Kept closed till pressure drops.
I didnt add the stock of cooked beans to the curry. However in some recipes, they add it to the curry and it gives a reddish tint to Olan.
The curry tends to thicken as it rests.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by...mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu


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25 thoughts on “Kerala Olan – Onam Recipe”

  1. Hi Maria, thanks for the wonderful recipe. Do you drain the water, the ashgourd is cooked in or do you add the 1 cup of coconut milk to this? A bit confused here. Mary

  2. There is another version of this Olan; my mom in law adds some long beans (achinga) and cheru chembe .She cooks them along the ash gourd.

  3. Thanks Maria, only yday my husband was asking me to add olan to the sadya menu and i realised i never made olan, leave alone buying ash gourd. I will definitely make this during onam and let u know how it came out. Thanks for your other recipies too, the way u xplained things in the menu makes it simple to make.

    • Hi Reshmi,

      I’m glad I posted it at the correct time :) Wish you a happy onam in advance!

      Thanks a lot for your comment, it’s nice to know that you like the recipes posted here :)



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