Olan/ Pumpkin stew with coconut milk

Olan is a traditional dish of Kerala which has a special place in Onam Sadhyam (meals served during Onam festival). This stew is normally made with white pumpkin/ Ash gourd with added lobia/ black eyed beans (peas) along with coconut milk. It is vegan as it has plant based coconut milk. I made it with sweet pumpkin and fresh beans seeds as I got it from a nearby farm. It is less spiced ans tastes super delicious with mild flavor of coconut milk, green chilli & curry leaves. It can be served with rice or rotis or even appam.

Recently while I was talking to my sister, she mentioned about this dish & I could not wait more to try that out. Tried & we liked it too.


Let us see the recipe now. 
Check here to know how to extract coconut milk at home! I use homemade coconut milk you can use store bought too instead.

Preparation time: 4 hours (if using dry beans)

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 3


Tender Pumpkin/ Ash gourd – ¼ of medium or 2 cups of cubed pieces

Lobia/ black eyed peas – ¼ cup, you can use other beans seeds which cooks soft

Coconut milk – 1 cup thick (first pressed) & 1 cup thin (second), I used that of half coconut

Green chillis – 2, adjust to taste

Salt – to taste

Coconut oil – 2 tsp

Curry leaves - 2 sprigs


  • Wash black eyed peas clean and soak in water for 4-5 hours or over-night.
  • When it is done, rinse once again, Pressure cook with ¼ tsp salt and water as required. Switch off the stove after 3-4 whistles. Set aside until the pressure is released.
  • Wash pumpkin, cut it with a sharp knife; remove core/ gut of pumpkin which has seeds.
  • Cut into small cubes with skin. If using ashgourd, remove skin too.
  • Now take the pumpkin pieces in cooking vessel. Pour 1 cup of thin coconut milk*. Add salt, slit green chillis & curry leaves. Cover the lid and cook vegetable until soft.
  • Now add cooked lobia or black eyed piece. Do not add more water (even water in the cooker) at this point.
  • Mix well & boil.
  • Add thick coconut milk now & switch off the stove when it just starts bubbling. Do not over boil after adding this first pressed coconut milk.
  • Add 2 tsp coconut oil on top. Serve delicious olan with parboiled rice or even with roti.

pumpkin stew


Pumpkin stew with coconut milk
  • *If you have no thin coconut milk (in case if using store bought coconut milk), then add water to cook. You can use the water in the pressure cooker which is used to cook the lobia. Anyway that water isn’t used for anything else.
  • Basically olan is prepared with ash gourd. It tastes good even with pumpkin.
  • You can increase spice level by adding more green chillis while cooking.
  • Do not boil too long after adding thick coconut milk in any recipe. You need to reduce the flame & bring to a boil, that’s it.