Olan – Marrows and Cowpeas in Coconut milk

Olan- Marrows and cow peas  in coconut milk

Olan is a Keralan vegetarian dish traditionally made with South Indian ash gourd or golden Indian cucumbers. English marrows work perfectly well in this recipe and they are in prime season during this time of the year.

The cooking process is very simple and straightforward.

Fresh marrows are peeled, sliced and cooked in coconut milk along with some cooked cowpeas until they are tender and simply finished with a dash of coconut cream, some fresh torn curry leaves and a drizzle of fragrant coconut oil.

You can add any beans or peas instead of cowpeas just make sure they are cooked beforehand since the marrows will start to soften in no time. 

It is a very delicate dish where the sweetness of the coconut milk pairs beautifully with the delicate flavour of marrows, and is definitely a dish for coconut lovers!





  • Marrow pieces – 2 cups
  • Green chill – 1
  • Cooked cow peas – 1/2 cup
  • Coconut milk – 2 cups
  • Coconut cream – 1/4 cup
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Coconut oil – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt


  • Peel and core the marrows and cut them into small pieces.
  • Cook marrow pieces with slit green chilli and coconut milk until the marrow pieces are just soft. (Take care not to over cook the marrows, it will turn mushy if you do)
  • Add cooked cowpeas, salt and coconut cream. Cook until it starts to boil, remove from fire and add curry leaves and coconut oil.
  • Serve warm with steamed rice.