Olan is an important dish in our home town for feast, the sadya as we call it. Whether it is for a marriage or festival feast it is a must, just like cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner. By the way Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Hope those who celebrate have already bought the bird. Only brining, cooking and serving are left. I don’t eat meat so our Thanksgiving will be without turkey.
Last week it was really mess in our house as our gas range was giving lots of trouble and we ended up calling the service guys, got frustrated with them and finally ended up buying a new stove. It was really sad for me to get rid of the stove as I loved that stove very much. As pregnancy hormones are in high swing, it was really difficult to take this frustration. I don’t know if any of you have an army of maids to take care of everything, then I guess, one won’t be frustrated so much. Any way after lot phone calls and visit to local Lowe’s store from where we had bought the stove, and they agreed to give back some money. We had bought the stove for $1650 dollars and they agreed to pay $1270 dollars, rest is gone in drain. Okay I will stop my rambling and come back to Olan.
Olan is a mild stew usually cooked with winter melon/ash gourd, yard long beans and red kidney beans. Some time pumpkin is also used to make this stew. It gets a slight hint of spice from green chilies used. Even though it is coming from the spice land Kerala, it is devoid of any spice, and is dredged in coconut milk and flavored with coconut oil and curry leaves.
Winter melon/Ash gourd is widely used in Asian cooking; in southern India, they make curries with them, where as in the northern part of India and Pakistan they make candy called Petha with Winter melon. In china they make soup with it. Furthermore, it has several health benefits such as help in reducing obesity by increasing the metabolism and thus reducing conversion of fat to sugar. It prevent acidity, ease constipation, relives cough common cold and bronchitis. It also cures urinary dysfunction and infection. It also enhances health of oral cavity and hair. If you want read more from here.
As I always mention, our feast has myriad of tastes, it has salty, spicy, sweet, bitter and with variety of dishes. This olan is a mild curry without any seasoning, and is usually served with rice and other dishes. I made it, just like my mom always did. Here goes the recipe.