Olan – Kerala Sadya Special
Olan is yet another inevitable dish of a Kerala sadya. Olan might be the only vegetarian dish prepared without adding any spice powders. Its coconut milk and green chilly that imparts a unique taste, aroma and flavor to an olan. Some other vegetables like pumpkin and long runner beans/achinga payar can also be used in an olan but winter melon is most commonly used. Here goes the recipe:
- Winter melon/ kumbalanga/ ash gourd – 250gm, skin removed and cubed
- Red chori/ van payar/ red gram – 1/4 cup
- Green chilies – 2-3 or to taste, slit
- Semi-thick coconut milk – 1 cup
- Thick coconut milk (onnam pal) – 1/4 cup
- Curry leaves – 1 – 2 sprigs
- Salt – to taste
- Coconut oil – 2 – 3 tsp
1. Cook the red chori/ van payar in a pressure cooker adding enough water, salt. Drain the water and keep aside. Be sure to add more water since the van payar will double in size. It usually takes around 3-5 whistles depending on the type of pressure cooker that we use. Cut the winter melon into cubes. The winter melon available in USA will take more time to cook, so cut them into smaller cubes.
2. Cook the winter melon and green chilies adding enough water (around 1/2 cup), few curry leaves and salt.
3. When the winter melon cubes are cooked, add the cooked van payar and semi-thick coconut milk. Bring to a boil and adjust the gravy according to your consistency. It should not be watery. You can slightly mash a few winter melon/ kumbalanga pieces, to make it thicker. Now add the thick coconut milk, curry leaves, 2 – 3 tsp coconut oil and remove from heat. Mix well and serve hot with rice and other curries.