Friday, January 21, 2011

Plantain and Azuki Beans Soup: another version of Olan!

This is another version of Olan served in Southern Malabar, made with Plantains and Red Azuki Beans. This dish is part of the traditional Kerala feast repertoire.The traditional Olan recipe does not use any onions, garlic or cummin. North Kerala/ Malabar Sadya dishes, do not use any onions or garlic.  This hearty, meatless soup works for winter and reminds one of many dishes from South America and the Carribbean. This goes to Deb's Souper Sundays.

Plantain  and Azuki Beans Soup
Serves 4
1/2 Cup Red Azuki beans, soaked for 5 hours or more
2 Cups of cubed raw plantain, with skin
1/2 Cup finely chopped onions
2-3 finger hot green chillies, slit [ or more according to taste]
2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
1/2 tsp cummin seeds
1 1/2- 2 tbsps coconut Oil
1/2 Cup of thick coconut milk
1/2 cup of thin coconut milk or plain water


Step One: Cooking Azuki Beans
Soak the azuki beans in about 3 cups of water for about 5 hours/ overnight
Cook with 1/4 tsp of turmeric, and salt 
Pressure cook  on medium high,
After one whistle, turn the heat down, cook for 10-15 minutes and turn off the heat.
Step Two: Cooking Raw Plantain
The green skin is kept on in this recipe
Cut the raw plantain into cubes,
Soak in plenty of water with 1/4 tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt
for 20 minutes
Rinse a couple of times and drain.
Cook the plantain cubes with salt and 2 slit green chillies with 3 cups of water.
Reserve the water for the broth/soup
Important: Make sure that the plantian in cooked well;  almost but not quite to the point of mushiness. Plantain tends to harden as the dish sits/ it gets cold.
Step Three
Once the plantains are cooked,
Heat  2 tbsps of coconut oil
Temper 1/2 tsp of cummin seeds
Add 2 cloves of garlic, saute until soft,
Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped onions and saute until soft
Add the cooked azuki beans  alongwith the slit green chillies,
Add the cooked plantains and reserved water
Bring to a simmer, 
Add  the thin coconut milk at this stage or enough water for the soup, 
Simmer for another 5-6 minutes, 
Step Four
Add the thick coconut milk and immediately take off the heat.
Optional: Serve with another drizzle of thick coconut milk over individual servings.


  1. Dear Q
    Thats an awesome recipe. I have never cooked raw banana with skin. ( My wife use the skin for a great dish, so I have to preserve the peel).Will try soon with the skin..Let me now find out from the net, what is Azuki bean.
    Of course your process description is as informative as ever...:-)
    Have a nice weekend

  2. Thankyou Swathi and Chitra!

    Ushnishda, the Azuki beans are known as Red Chori beans. In some brands, in the Indian grocery stores, they are also labeled as Red Moong Beans. That needs to be sorted out!:-)
    Am looking forward to the banana peel recipe from your blog!

  3. I have some adzuki beans but have not cooked with them yet. This is a lovely soup--thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays. ;-)

  4. cooking raw plantain with skin is very new for me, since in our family they say it is hard to digest but have to try with skin sometime...soup looks great and love the way u take the pictures, very nice :)

  5. You are right; we have in moderate quantities.
    Plantains need to be cooked well too. But we do make it lot when it is in season; especially when there is a feast and when banana chips are made.
    It is combined with Elephant Yam, Ivy gourds, Indian Long Beans and made into Mezhukkupuratti kind of dishes and also for the Erisseri's.


Thank you for your valuable feedback!