Saturday, November 20, 2010

Olan made with pumpkin | the Kerala Olan suited to our taste | pumpkin curry with coconut milk

I was never sure if I would like Olan made with pumpkin but since I love all the curries and stews made with coconut milk, I knew it was close to my comfort zone. I was still apprehensive whether others in the family will appreciate the taste.

I love yellow-orange fleshed ripe pumpkin, so whenever I used to see those olan recipes on some blogs, it was like a visual treat always. This recipe by Gauri looked really light and flavourful and I decided to cook Olan with a firm ripe orange flesh pumpkin.

Pumpkin olan recipe

I used coconut milk from a tetra pack and I am sure freshly squeezed coconut milk can make a lot of difference to the dish. But I think as the recipe is so easy to put together, any beginner in the kitchen would feel elated to concoct a beautiful looking curry with ease, especially if canned coconut milk is used.

Fresh coconut milk should not become an issue with this recipe at least. So go ahead and make it with canned coconut milk.

Pumpkin olan recipe

(2 servings)
coconut milk 1/2 cup
pumpkin cubed 2 cups
water 4 cups
spring onions 2-3 nos.( only the lower halves )
curry patta 3-4 springs ( i refrained myself from using a lot of these and saved the olan )
green chillies slit length wise 2-3 nos.
green coriander leaves with stems , chopped finely 2 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
coconut oil or vegetable oil 1 tsp
salt to taste


Boil the pumpkin with water and salt to taste till the pumpkin is mushy.

Heat oil in a pan and throw in the cumin seeds, wait till they splutter and add the green chillies and curry patta. Stir for a while as the green chillies and curry patta start twisting and getting aromatic.

Add the roughly chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Both these ingredients are my own addition to this curry and I found them really good in the curry. You may wish to exclude them and the curry will be great that way too. The spring onions have to be cooked just till they get shiny and soft, not pink or brown.

Pour this mixture of stir fried ingredients to the boiling pumpkin and stir to mix.

Add the coconut milk and allow another boil before turning the heat off.

Such a simple curry for a side dish. I am getting new ideas with these flavors and you will see me coming up with some more on this. We had the olan with our regular dal roti meal. Here you see a maah chhole palak daal (urad chana daal cooked with spinach), muli ka saag and the olan with chapatis.

Pumpkin olan recipe

I was apprehensive if my mom would like it as she does not like any watery curries. She is always suspicious of my curries tasting 'healthy', that kind of mother :-)

But she just loved it when I served the leftover olan with a matar paneer, raita and bhujia kind of lunch.

One very impressive aspect of this recipe is that the pumpkin is cooked in water first, just like making a soup and then a tempering is thrown in to make it very flavorful.

As healthy as it can be, this technique is not followed in any of the curries in the North, as much as I know. Not for vegetables at least, lentils are always boiled first and then the masala tempering is added and cooked again.

Pumpkin olan recipe

I have never tasted an authentic olan so the recipe may result in a different flavor than the southern homes but I loved the curry with these flavors to start with and may be in future when I come across a purist recipe I might give that a try.

Do you have a link of a purists olan ?? I will be more than happy to get a few links of yummy olan made with just the pumpkin. Come on share it with me here.


  1. Nice Sangeetha! The look of this dish kind of reminds me of avial. delicious

  2. wonderful idea to add pumpkins to olan! never had one, but cant wait to try next time i buy a pumpkin.

  3. looks so delicious. New dish to me.

  4. That looks very inviting. I have cooked very less with coconut milk and would love to try this out as it sounds delicious.

  5. Pure coconut milk (fresh) does make a lot of difference. Please get in touch with some Kerala Nair families for the authentic Olan.

  6. Most definately a visual treat.I am totally for it now :)

    Please do come & collect your well deserved award,it is waiting for you on my blog:)!!!

  7. I have absolutely no idea what an olan is, but this picture is so colourful and appealing that I want to have it now :)

  8. Hey Sangeeta :)I am looking forward to your answers (whenever you find the time) to the questionnaire I have posted on my blog,I have tagged 8 bloggers and you are one of them:)