Olan – The simple health food.

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Olan is a dish which is native to the southern state of India, Kerala. This is an inevitable dish in any Kerala feast, mainly due to its property to neutralize the acidity caused by other spicy dishes. It is made with pumpkin, ash gourd and red cow peas in creamy coconut milk .

Why should you have it?

  1. It is high on protein, fibre and anti-oxidants
  2. It is a good source of Iron , Magnesium and Vitamin B, A & C.
  3. It ensures a healthy lipid profile/ cholesterol
  4. It improves heart health , blood circulation and  metabolism

Who should have it?

  1. If you have acidity, constipation or bloating
  2. If you want to sleep well at night and wake up fresh in the morning
  3. If you want to feel energetic and have stable blood sugars through the day
  4. If you are looking for blemish free skin and healthy hair.
  5. If you don’t want to reach out for the wrong foods after your meal

How to make it?

Preparation time – 10  minutes

Cook time – 15 minutes


  1. Ash gourd &  Pumpkin – 3 Cups each, chopped into small cubes
  2. Red or Black eyed Cowpeas – 1/4 cup
  3. Green Chilly (slit) – 1 or 2
  4. Curry leaf – 6 or7 leaves
  5. Grated coconut  – 2 cups
  6. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  7. Jaggery – Optional
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Water


For the Coconut milk

  1. Put the grated coconut in a blender jar.
  2. Blend on high till the coconut is ground well.
  3. Strain in a muslin cloth or a fine sieve
  4. Collect the extract in a bowl or pan. This will be used as thick coconut milk
  5. Take the residue in the muslin cloth, add 1/2 cup water
  6. Blend on high till it mixes well.
  7. Again strain in a muslin cloth or a fine sieve
  8. Collect the extract in a bowl or pan. This will be used as thin coconut milk

For the Olan

  1. Soak the cow peas for 2 hours. This will ensure it cooks faster.
  2. Mix the soaked cow peas, ash gourd, pumpkin, slit green chilly, salt and thin coconut milk.
  3. Add water so that vegetables are just immersed.
  4. Cook this in a pressure cooker  (for 2-3 whistles)
  5. Take it out from the cooker.
  6. Add a pinch jaggery (if a slightly sweet taste is desired).
  7. Mix the thick coconut milk, curry leaf and drizzle some coconut oil.
  8. Stir well but ensure you do not mash the vegetables while doing so.
  9. Serve with rice.

When was the last time you had olan? Let us know in comments.

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