Black Eyed Peas and Squash Stew. Kerala Olan Coconut Vegetable Stew

Loaded with good for you ingredients like black eyed peas and butternut squash all delicately flavored with curry leaves and cooked with coconut milk. This is a simple dish with lots of flavor.

The inspiration

This recipe is shared by my cousin Uma who made a black eyed pea stew for our Tamil New Year spring celebration earlier this year. Called olan this hearty stew comes from the Southern state of Kerala.

What I love about this stew

What I love about this stew is the minimal spices, actually it hardly has any. The flavors come from green chili and curry leaves that add fragrance and delicate heat.

And the sweetness comes from the butternut squash and coconut milk. The best part though is that this stew is loaded with dense vegetables making it a hearty stew.

With black eyed peas, butternut squash, white pumpkin, and sweet potato, this will surely satisfy anyone’s hunger pangs. Serve it alongside quinoa and you have a nutrient packed dinner that is satisfying and delicious.

Black Eyed Peas and Squash Stew. Kerala Olan Coconut Vegetable Stew
from Archana’s Kitchen with a few modifications


3-4 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, or white pumpkin (or a combination) peeled and diced
1 sweet potato peeled and diced or 1 large potato peeled and cut into chunks
2 cups frozen black eyed peas or 2 cans drained and set aside
3 Green Chillies , slit lengthwise – seeds removed to keep it mild
1 can Coconut milk
Salt to taste
5-6 sprigs Curry leaves
1 tbsp Coconut Oil


Cook the frozen black eyed peas for 10 minutes in the instapot on high pressure. Once cooked, allow the pressure to release naturally and keep aside. If using canned, its probably already cooked and soft. Just drain and set aside.

In a large pot place all the vegetables like butternut squash and sweet potato. Add a pinch of salt plus 1 cup of water. Add the green chili and curry leaves. Cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not too soft.

To the vegetables add the cooked black eyed beans and coconut milk. Add extra salt to adjust for the black eyed peas. Stir well to combine and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes so all the flavors get well incorporated.  Add more water if needed to make a stew like consistency.

Lastly stir in the coconut oil and simmer for another minute. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve warm with quinoa or white rice.

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