Olan is a very unusual combination of Ash gourd with red lentils in a mild coconut stew. Another must have dish in Onam Sadya and so easy to make that it will surprise you.
Let me admit, Olan is not one of those dishes that I instantly fall in love with. In fact, I think the first time I ate it I didn’t like it at all. But slowly, it has grown on me. And think the turn happened with this recipe that my friend shared.
The simplicity of this dish is what really makes it a winner. Whether it is the simplicity of making it or just the facts that it has 5 ingredients and may be 3 steps to follow. And yet the flavors are so robust. It is actually a pleasant surprise to see these dish come together. The first time I made it, I thought it will be a bland non-interesting dish. But really how far from the truth my imagination was.
Yes, it is not spicy, but the flavour of lentil and coconut milk shine like nothing else. And that slight hint of chilly in the end makes it really delightful. Until this year, I had always made this dish with white karamani or lobhia. But my Onam consultant for this year, clearly told me that I shouldn’t do that. And like a good student, I listened to her.Though, I have seen many recipes with the white version she told in their house they always use the red beans. And if for some reason the red beans aren’t available, the next option is the whole green moong dal or long beans (fresh green). Yet another example of the same dish, so many variations in India.
Yet another difference in her recipe and the ones that I have made before is the addition to arbi to it. Just one or two but I think it adds a lovely body to the stew. This certainly has become my favourite Olan recipe from here on.
Do try this and when you do share a picture with me. Tag #sinamon on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I would love to hear from you. The good things, the brick bats and if you want any clarifications about the recipe.