Any Sadhya is considered incomplete without Olan. This quick and simple Kerala Vegetable Coconut Stew Sadhya Special consists of vegetables simmered in coconut milk and flavored with coconut oil.
Kerala Olan Curry is one of the 16 items that are served for Kerala Sadhya or a grand meal. The mildly-flavored traditional Kerala Sadhya Olan recipe is served during the Vishu/Onam Festival.
Olan Kerala Recipe:
Sadhya is a grand vegetarian feast with rice as the main dish and a variety of side dishes and curries, all served on a banana leaf. The Sadhya side dishes/curries may vary from one region of Kerala to another.
Vishu, the Malayalam New Year is celebrated throughout Kerala. It generally falls on the 14th-15th of April.
The Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fistula) is symbolic of Vishu. Known locally as Kani Konna, its bright yellow flowers signify prosperity.
Vishukkani – an auspicious arrangement of fruits, vegetables, yellow flowers, gold, coins, holy text and a lamp (Nilavilakku) framed by a mirror is placed before the presiding deity and beheld on New Year’s Day. It signifies what one sees on Vishu morning is what one can expect in the coming year. Kani in Malayalam means “that which is sighted first”. So “Vishukkani” means that which is beheld first on Vishu.
Vishu Sadhya or banquet is an important part of this festival. The Sadhya dishes are served in a specific order on a banana leaf.
The Vishu Festival signifies abundance – both materially and spiritually. It is on the 1st day of the Malayalam month Medam.
Fire works are set off to welcome the Malayalam New Year. Farmers traditionally start agricultural activities from this day. People throng temples on the occasion of Vishu.
How to make Olan Kerala Curry:
1. For this easy Olan recipe, wash and pressure-cook green gram dhal. Set aside.
2. Grind the coconut with ¼ cup warm water and extract coconut milk. Keep aside.
3. Wash and cut pumpkin, bottle gourd, ash gourd (kumbalanga) and long beans into small cubes. Take all the cut vegetables in a vessel, add slit green chillies and salt and cook with very little water till tender.
4. Add the boiled green gram dal to the vegetables and mix well.
5. Pour the coconut milk into the kadai and simmer for 2-3 minutes on low-medium flame. Don’t bring it to a boil.
6. Sprinkle curry leaves and a dash of coconut oil.
Serve Olan Kerala Curry with steamed Rice.
Kumbalanga Olan Curry recipe details:
- Pumpkin - 1 cup, cut in small cubes
- Ash gourd - 1 cup, cut in small cubes
- Bottle gourd -1 cup, cut in small cubes
- Long beans – ½ cup, cut in 2 inch long pieces
- Green chilies - 3-4, cut in halves
- Green gram (whole) – 1 cup (Pressure cooked)
- Curry leaves - 4-5
- Coconut – ½ a coconut grated
- Salt to taste
- Coconut Oil – ½ tsp
- Cook the cut pieces of pumpkin, ash gourd, bottle gourd and long beans along with green chillies in very little water. (You may add salt at this stage.)
- Add the pressure-cooked green gram dhal.
- Grind the grated coconut (with just about ¼ cup of water) and squeeze out coconut milk.
- Add the coconut milk to the cooked ingredients. Heat it for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low flame. Do not bring it to boil after adding the coconut milk.
- Season with curry leaves and a few drops of coconut oil.
- Serve Olan Curry with steamed Rice.
Recipe contributed by Anjali Rajan