Olan (Pumpkins cooked in thick coconut milk and spiced with green chillies

Olan is a family favorite and I make it  as often as possible . With the simplicity of preparation and the ingredients it can be made many times and will not be overpowering as the flavors of the coconut milk is so subtle, creamy and any age can enjoy this easy dish without any health problems.

Quintessentially a part of the Kerala cuisine and one of the many dishes served during the popular Sadya during Onam, Olan is one of the first few dishes I learnt to prepare while in school.


1/2 cup Cow peas /Karamani/Vanpayar
 1 cup Ash gourd  ( Kumbalanga/Elavan) diced
1 cup Yellow pumpkin ( Mathan) diced
3-4 nos  green chillies (slit lengthwise)
1 1/2 cup thick coconut milk  sprigs of curry leaves

2 tsp Coconut oil 

Salt to taste


1. Soak the black eyed beans either overnight or at-least 5 hours  and pressure cook  along with rice and dal so it is ready when you prepare olan.

2. Peel the  the skin from the ash gourd and pumpkin and cut  into small square  pieces.
3. Remove the cooked beans  from the cooker and take a pan,  add the chopped pumpkin, ash gourd and add the thin coconut milk into it.
4. Add salt and green chilies. When the vegetables are cooked well but not too mushy  add the thick coconut milk into it.
5. Reduce the flame  and stir slowly until the coconut milk and the cooked  vegetables blend well becoming aromatic after adding coconut milk. 
6. Season with coconut oil and a sprigs of curry leaves.

Let the flavours release and keep covered till serving.Enjoy Olan with rice and pappadam.


Coconut milk is readily available in liquid and powder form now a days in stores.
If you wish to use fresh coconuts at home, then scrape the white portions of the coconut, grind with little warm water in the blender/mixie and strain to get the thick first milk.

Grind once more using the same coconut  with warm water and this time you will get a thinner milk. Use both to prepare the Olan.