olan recipe | kerala olan curry recipe | olan recipe with white pumpkin

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olan recipe

olan is a delicious curry made with white pumpkin (ash gourd), cowpeas (red lobia or chawli) and coconut milk. olan recipe comes from the kerala cuisine. 

5 from 1 vote
total time:
40minutes

olan recipe with step by step photos – olan is a delicious curry made with white pumpkin (ash gourd or kumbalanga), cowpeas (red lobia or chawli) and coconut milk. this simple homely curry or stew is one of the dishes that is served during the onam sadhya.

kerala olan recipe

olan is a light and mild curry with flavors of coconut milk, curry leaves and cowpeas. since olan is a coconut milk based curry, thus it pairs very well with steamed rice. if possible you can serve it with kerala red rice (matta rice).

i will be sharing a few kerala recipes and olan happens to be one of them. some curry recipes from the kerala cuisine which i have already shared are kadala curry, vegetable stew and parippu curry. i have been making olan after adapting it from the essential kerala cookbook.

ash gourd also known as white pumpkin is generally used to make olan. but you can even use yellow pumpkin (kaddu) instead. red cowpeas (red lobia) are added in the curry. though black eyed peas can be easily substituted.

if you are looking for more kerala recipes then do check:

kerala olan curry recipe card below:

olan recipe
5 from 1 vote
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olan recipe

olan is a delicious curry made with white pumpkin (ash gourd), cowpeas (red lobia or chawli) and coconut milk. olan recipe comes from the kerala cuisine. 
course main course
cuisine kerala, south indian
prep time 20 minutes
cook time 20 minutes
total time 40 minutes
servings 4
rough calories per serving 778 kcal
author dassana amit

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

for pressure cooking cowpeas

  • cup cowpeas (red lobia)
  • 1.5 cups water for pressure cooking
  • ¼ teaspoon salt for pressure cooking

for making olan:

  • 300 grams ash gourd OR 2 cups chopped ash gourd (white pumpkin or kumbalanga)
  • 7 to 8 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 3 to 4 green chillies - slit
  • salt as required
  • ¾ to 1 cup water for cooking ash gourd
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 12 to 14 curry leaves (kadi patta)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons coconut oil

how to make olan recipe

preparation for olan recipe:

  1. rinse and soak ⅓ cup red cowpeas (red lobia) overnight.

  2. next day drain all the water and rinse the cowpeas again. drain the extra water.

  3. now add the soaked cowpeas in a 2 litre pressure cooker. also add ¼ teaspoon salt.

  4. add 1.5 cups water and pressure cook on medium flame for 3 to 4 whistles or 8 to 9 minutes till the cowpeas are tender and cooked well.

  5. once the pressure settles down, open the lid and check if the cowpeas are cooked well. keep aside.

  6. rinse and then peel 300 grams ash gourd. chop them in medium cubes. discard the seeds and pith. you will need 2 cups of chopped ash gourd.

making olan curry:

  1. in a pan, take the chopped ash gourd. also add 7 to 8 curry leaves and 3 to 4 green chillies (salt). season with salt as per taste.

  2. now add ¾ to 1 cup water. instead of water you can also use thin coconut milk.

  3. cover the pan and on a low to medium flame simmer till the ash gourd is cooked.

  4. in between do check when the ash gourd is cooking and if required you can add some more water.

  5. the ash gourd has to be cooked till its tender.

  6. there will be some water remaining in the pan and its fine. but do make sure that its not a lot of water.

  7. now add the cooked cowpeas. do not add the stock. just add the cowpeas.

  8. add 1 cup thick coconut milk.

  9. mix very well.

  10. on a low flame gently heat olan curry for 4 to 5 minutes. do not boil. 

  11. switch off the flame and then add 12 to 14 curry leaves.

  12. also add 2 to 3 teaspoons of coconut oil.

  13. mix well. cover and let the flavors infuse for 6 to 8 minutes. 

  14. serve olan with steamed rice.

recipe notes

  • instead of cow peas you can add black eyed peas. but do not overcook them.
  • yellow pumpkin (kaddu) can be used instead of white pumpkin.
  • you can also use half-half of yellow pumpkin and white pumpkin.
  • a bit of ginger can also be added.

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how to make kerala olan curry recipe:

1. rinse and soak ½ cup red cowpeas (lobia) overnight.

making kerala olan curry recipe

2. next day drain all the water and rinse the cowpeas again. drain the extra water.

making kerala olan curry recipe

3. now add the soaked cowpeas in a 2 litre pressure cooker. also add ¼ teaspoon salt.

making kerala olan curry recipe

4. add 1.5 cups water and pressure cook on medium flame for 3 to 4 whistles or 8 to 9 minutes till the cowpeas are tender and cooked well.

making kerala olan curry recipe

5. once the pressure settles down, open the lid and check if the cowpeas are cooked well. keep aside.

making kerala olan curry recipe

6. rinse and then peel 300 grams ash gourd. chop them in medium cubes. discard the seeds and pith. you will need 2 cups of chopped ash gourd.

making kerala olan curry recipe

7. in a pan, take the chopped ash gourd. also add 7 to 8 curry leaves and 3 to 4 green chillies (slit). season with salt as per taste.

making kerala olan curry recipe

8. now add ¾ to 1 cup water. instead of water you can also use thin coconut milk.

making kerala olan curry recipe

9. cover the pan and on a low to medium flame simmer till the ash gourd is cooked.

making kerala olan curry recipe

10. in between do check when the ash gourd is cooking and if required you can add some more water.

making kerala olan curry recipe

11. the ash gourd has to be cooked till its tender.

making kerala olan curry recipe

12. there will be some water remaining in the pan and its fine. but do make sure that its not a lot of water. you can even mash some of the ash gourd if you want.

making kerala olan curry recipe

13. now add the cooked cowpeas. do not add the stock. just add the cowpeas.

making kerala olan curry recipe

14. add 1 cup thick coconut milk.

making kerala olan recipe

15. mix very well.

making kerala olan recipe

16. on a low flame gently heat olan curry for 4 to 5 minutes. do not boil.

making kerala olan recipe

17. switch off the flame and then add 12 to 14 curry leaves.

making kerala olan recipe

18. also add 2 to 3 teaspoons of coconut oil.

making kerala olan recipe

19. mix well. cover and let the flavors infuse for 6 to 8 minutes.

making kerala olan recipe

20. serve olan curry with steamed rice.

olan recipe

dassana amit
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having a home science degree surely enhanced my cooking & baking skills which i now share as fool proof recipes on the blog. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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6 comments/reviews

  1. Hi dassana, in the recipe is it your own homemade coconut milk? It looks very nice thick & creamy

    • Ruchi, no i had used store bought coconut milk.

      • Ok which company is it?

        • dabur brand. when i am busy or less time, i use dabur coconut milk. otherwise i prepare coconut milk at home.

  2. Your recipes are awesome…
    Thank you☺
    Please post sindhi kadhi recipe.
    Thank you ☺

    • Welcome Ankita. I will try to add sindhi kadhi recipe.

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