Olan tastes wonderful when blended with rice.


  • Olan is likely one of the most delicately flavoured dishes from Kerala.
  • Olan makes an integral a part of Onam Sadya.
  • Conventional olan recipe combines ash gourd with coconut milk.

The stage backdrop for a typical Kerala Hindu wedding ceremony is an image of delicate class – a gorgeous mix of flowers coupled with the standard Kasavu white cloth. The on-stage parts are an aesthetic medley of lamps, floral decorations, the Nira para (paddy heaped in a picket measure) – the last word image of prosperity in Kerala, betel leaves, lemons and the standard Ashta Mangalyam (the eight important sacred parts).

The Sadya, the flowery banana leaf feast enhances the concord on stage. The dishes discover a excellent steadiness between subtlety in addition to piquant flavours. I would argue that this fabulous meal is the spotlight of the marriage. After all, the Sadya shouldn’t be a marriage unique. It is served on festivals like Vishu and Onam in addition to different events like birthdays.

The everyday Sadya will be overwhelming for a primary timer. I nonetheless bear in mind navigating this complicated array of dishes as a toddler at a marriage in Ernakulam. Being a child who guzzled massive portions of milk, I naturally gravitated in the direction of the white colored dishes on the banana leaf. One white dish that normally figures on most sadyas is the vegetable stew (or ishtew). Then there’s the olan, one of the vital delicately flavoured dishes from Kerala and an integral a part of an Onsadaya. It is actually not as well-known because the avial (that can also be cooked in lots of houses in Tamil Nadu), selecting virtually to remain within the background. The Plan might be for an advanced palate; excellent for gourmands who can admire delicate flavours.

That is the factor with a Sadya and with Kerala delicacies itself, it takes time to know and admire the delicate nuances and the fragile flavours that make dishes shine. Take one have a look at the recipe and the olan may look like a simple dish to cook dinner. I’ve at all times felt that Indian dishes with restricted substances are more durable to make. There’s much less room for a poor ingredient or a easy mistake to cover. The standard olan combines kumbalanga (Ash gourd) with coconut milk. Some recipes additionally embody cowpea or black eyed peas that add an fascinating texture to this dish.

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The important thing to getting this dish proper is the coconut milk. It’s important to use a mix of onaam paal and rendaam paal (first and second extract of the coconut milk). One of many ideas I acquired from a house cook dinner in Kerala is to ensure you use freshly-grated coconut to extract the coconut milk. The opposite tip is to make use of a ‘younger’ Ash gourd. Should you retailer grated coconut in your freezer, then do bear in mind to place it out for a couple of hours or heat within the microwave earlier than you extract the coconut milk. You might mix the coconut in a mixer after which squeeze out the milk with a strainer for the primary extract. Add water to the leftover coconut and mix once more within the mixer for the second extract. The opposite flavour component within the olan is a touch of inexperienced chili.

This dish is completed with a couple of curry leaves and coconut oil after the ash gourd is cooked with the coconut milk. It is usually served at room temperature in a sadya. Whereas it is an integral a part of a Kerala Sadya, the olan can also be prevalent within the Tirunelveli area in Tamil Nadu that is near Kerala. There’s additionally a model referred to as the paal kootu (milk gravy) within the Thanjavur belt in Tamil Nadu the place yellow pumpkin and inexperienced gram are cooked in coconut milk or milk.

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How To Make South Indian Olan | Olan recipe:


Thick coconut milk (first extract): 1 cup

Skinny coconut milk (Second extract): 1 cup

Ash gourd (chopped): 250 gm

Cowpeas (elective): Half cup

Inexperienced chillies (slit): 1-2

Coconut oil: 1 tsp

Salt: to style

Curry leaves: a couple of


  • Soak the cowpeas in a single day and strain cook dinner until they’re cooked. They shouldn’t be too smooth (that is an elective step if you happen to select so as to add the cowpeas).
  • Slice the Ash gourd and strain cook dinner with little water. Add the skinny coconut milk, salt and inexperienced chillies. Prepare dinner it for a couple of minutes. Make sure that the vegetable would not flip mushy.
  • Add the thick coconut milk simply earlier than you flip off the flame. End the dish with some curry leaves and a spoon of coconut oil.

Whereas the olan is served as a part of the sadya as an accompaniment, it additionally tastes scrumptious when it is blended with rice. I would suggest combining this with the Kerala model crimson matta rice.


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About Ashwin RajagopalanI’m the proverbial slashie – a content material architect, author, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. College lunch packing containers are normally the start of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s solely acquired stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, road meals and fantastic eating eating places internationally. I’ve found cultures and locations by culinary motifs. I’m equally keen about writing on client tech and journey.


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