Olan recipe for Onam

Serves 6

  • ½ cup red cow peas (thatta payir), washed and soaked overnight
  • 2 cups, ash gourd / white pumpkin, cut into flat squares of about 1 inch each and ½ cm thick
  • 4 green chillies, cut along the length into two pieces each
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 whole coconut, grated and two milks extracted, thick and thin milk (about a cup each)
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
    • olan-dish
      In a pressure pan, add the soaked cow peas, ash gourd pieces, green chillies, whole sprigs of curry leaves, salt and ¾ cup water. Put the lid on and cook on high flame until the 1st whistle and remove from heat. The vegetables should be just cooked, with a bite to it and not overcooked.

      Once the pressure pan has cooled down, open the lid and discard the curry leaf sprigs*.
      Add the thin coconut milk to the cooked vegetables and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and add the thick coconut milk along with the coconut oil and mix well. The Olan is ready to serve.

      *The water that is left in the pressure pan after cooking the vegetables can be used to extract the coconut milk as well. Use the Slow Grind dial in the Duramix 750p to extract the thick milk.

      Rohini Mohandas may have grown up in the Wayanad district of Kerala and lived in Coimbatore for most of her life but her cooking style is a result of her Palakad Iyer lineage. Her children are all grown up and have moved out of her home but they still look forward to the typical Palakad Iyer dishes when they visit her. Molagootal, Mezhukuvaratti and Aracha Kalakki are few such dishes.

      Rohini is an expert in quick fixes in the kitchen. She has an express version for many traditional recipes from Kerala. Her Quick Fix Milk Payasam is made using a pressure cooker and the resulting dish does not compromise in taste or texture. She is also very good at recycling the leftovers in her kitchen and converting them into a new and different dish for the next meal.

      Rohini has a MA B Ed in English Literature and has taught English in schools and colleges, both in Calicut and in Coimbatore. A good Samaritan, she has helped slow learners prepare for higher secondary examinations in her residence and secured them jobs as well. She is an avid reader and enjoys reading books on history and culture. She managed a popular book store in Coimbatore for 6 years in the 1990s.

      The Olan is one of her daughter’s favourite dishes. It follows a very simple and straight forward recipe that does not even require any tempering.

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