Olan is a wholesome and unusual Kerala-style curry made with ash gourd, cowpeas and coconut milk.
Chef Sara Jacob Nair's comforting dish goes well with red rice and fried fish or fried prawns, prawn pickle or prawn papad.
Sara is the chef and founding partner of Nair On Fire, a chain of delivery kitchens in Mumbai.
- 200 gm lal lobiya or red cowpeas
- 200 ml thick (first) coconut milk
- 400 ml thinner (second) coconut milk
- 6 green chillies, cut in half lengthwise
- 15-20 curry leaves
- 300 gm white pumpkin, cleaned
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
- Soak the red cowpeas in water for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight and then drain.
Add the soaked red cowpeas, 400 ml of the second, thinner coconut milk, salt, 3 spilt green chillies and 8-10 of the curry leaves into a pressure cooker.
Pressure cook for 2 whistles over medium heat and carefully open the cooker.
- Cut the white pumpkin into medium-sized triangles.
- Add the white pumpkin to the cowpeas mixture, close the pressure cooker and cook once again for 1 whistle over medium heat.
Lower the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
Take off the lid and continue cooking the olan in the pressure cooker over medium heat.
Let the cowpeas, pumpkin and coconut milk simmer and obtain a thick consistency.
Add the thick coconut milk and stir over low heat but do not let the mixture boil.
Once the mixture starts bubbling mildly, take off heat.
Add the remaining curry leaves and mix gently.
Take 2 tbsp coconut oil and pour into the curry and gently mix.
Garnish with the remaining 3 split green chillies on top and serve.