Black Eyed Beans Olan Stew

29 June 2021 By

Olan is a true Kerala dish made with coconut milk and vegetables (mainly white pumpkin or ash gourd or kumbalanga) as the main ingredients.

Black Eyed Beans Olan Stew is a simple white curry with a limited amount of spices. Excellent comfort food, especially for vegans and very easy to digest. A good choice for those who don’t like hot and heavy curries. A great combination when added as part of a shared table as it balances lots of hotter, richer curries.

I love the texture of the cooked beans and the mild spices in this dish. I didn’t always appreciate this vegetable though when I was growing up. It grows rather too well and my dad went a bit crazy and grew this for my entire neighbourhood and still we had too much. It was a vegetable that simply never ended in our household and my poor mum used to disguise it by cooking it in a variety of ways. Think of chokoes and eating them every day and you will get an idea of what I went through! And by the way, chokoes can be used in this olan dish rather well.

Olan is one of those dishes in a Kerala sadya that lends more variety than flavour since it’s quite mild and doesn’t necessarily hold its own so it’s a beautiful dish when served with an avial or thoran.

You can substitute the black eyed peas with red beans. As it’s not much of a typical curry to look at, instead its more about more texture and flavour, its best to sauté the ginger, curry leaves, some shallots or onions in coconut oil and sprinkle over the top of the curry when serving.


  • 2 cups dry black eyed peas, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
  • 3 cups white pumpkin gourd or cross cut beans
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 fresh green chillies, sliced in half then cut diagonally into pieces
  • 4 sprigs curry leaves, stripped
  • 3 cm fresh ginger, finely grated
  • Coconut oil
  • 400 ml Ayam coconut cream
  • Salt and jaggery to taste


  1. Drain beans from soaking water, place in a deep pot with 5 cups of water and bring to boil with half the sliced onions, green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and salt.
  2. When it starts to boil, cover with a lid and cook until tender.
  3. Drain the water and keep the beans and the water aside. Wash and clean the pot.
  4. In this same pot, heat enough coconut oil and sauté the remaining half of the sliced onions, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger.
  5. Then add the cross cut gourd or green beans, a little jaggery, salt to taste and pour in the coconut cream.
  6. Bring to a quick boil, then add the cooked beans and some of the reserved water. Cook until the mixture is thick and tasty.
  7. Add a small teaspoon of Kolhapuri jaggery (indian palm sugar) to balance the spicy and salty creaminess o fthis dish.