All you want to know about Raw Papaya | Green Papaya – Green Papaya Recipes, health benefits, how to cook raw papaya and a whole bunch of other ideas on cooking with green papayas
Green Papaya or raw papaya is an often overlooked produce. I remember the first time I went looking for a raw papaya was when I ate a Thai papaya salad in a restaurant and wanted to recreate it at home. A lot of raw / unripe fruits like papaya, banana, jackfruit and mango find uses in Indian cuisine. It is interesting to note that the green or raw versions of these fruits are used to cook savoury dishes such as curries, chutneys and even in biryanis.
Is raw papaya good for health?
Raw Papaya has a few distinct health benefits, from its sweeter ripe counterpart.
Papain and Chymopapain – Powerful enzymes that help with protein digestion, reduces inflammation in the body
Fibre – Fibre from raw papayas resists digestion until large intestine, where it ferments. This fermented starch becomes food (prebiotic) for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Resistant starch – These special kind of carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion, do not cause spikes in the blood sugar levels, and are useful for diabetics to include in there diet.
Potassium – Regulates blood pressure, neuromuscular system, water balance etc.
Raw papaya leaf juice has found great use in the management of dengue fever, in increasing the platelet count. There has been no focussed study to prove this yet.
Raw Papaya and pregnancy: In India, papaya in pregnancy has always been a big question mark. The milky latex like secretion in the unripe / green papaya may mimic the action of prostaglandins and oxytocin, both of which are hormones secreted in the body, which cause uterine contractions. The ripe fruit does not seem to have a similar action. A baby in womb is too precious to take any silly chances, which is why a raw papaya is best avoided during pregnancy.
The white sap secreted from the stem or the cut edges of a raw papaya can be a skin irritant to some, so do be careful while handling it.
Even though raw papaya has excellent health benefits, it is not very appetising. It has a very bland taste, sometimes medicinal even, and needs to be cooked into some interesting dishes to be made more acceptable.
When the papaya tree in my garden needed to be taken down, I was left staring at 2 dozen raw papayas. Other than distributing it to any neighbours who would take it, I still had more than a few to put to use. Some ideas for green papaya recipes came from Twitter, and some from my neighbours themselves.
Raw papaya seems to find good use in Bengali cuisine as well as Kerala cuisine. In the North, it is made into chutneys and pickles. Gujarati cuisine also seems to have a fair repertoire of green papaya recipes, their chutney being the most famous.
Green papayas pair well with the following ingredients:
- Brinjal / Eggplant
- Strong flavoured oils like mustard oil
- Chana dal / Tur Dal
How to cook a raw papaya?
While raw papaya in grated form can be eaten raw in salads, raw papaya can be cut into cubes and steamed for 5-7 minutes or cooked on stove top with some water or pressure cooked for one whistle.
Here are some delicious raw / green papaya recipes cooked up by yours truly and some of my blogger friends.
Green papaya salad – no added fish sauce – Saffron Trail
Kachche Papeete ka Paratha – Neha / Whiskaffair
Raw Papaya Avial Kootan – Aparna / My Diverse Kitchen
Raw Papaya Stir fry – Arun Velekkat / The take it easy chef
Raw Papaya Bharta – Rekha Karmakar / Tabulous mom
Raw Papaya and carrot raita Health Food Desi Videsi / Sangeeta
Raw Papaya Kootu / Milagootal – Saffron Trail
Cooking with raw papayas – Green papaya recipes – ideas from Twitter
Raw papaya koftas – Steamed grated raw papaya mixed with besan and spices, shaped into koftas and fried – @prernao2
Raw papaya parathas – Grated raw papaya added to atta along with spices and rolled out into parathas – @prernao2
Raw papaya sambar and poriyal – When in doubt, the South Indian Sambar and poriyal always to the rescue. Steam and toss with tempering for poriyal and cook cubes of raw papaya in tamarind water and proceed to make sambar. – Ideas from @ahbuna_
@SoumyaBha_t shares that raw papaya halva used to be a thing during her granny’s times. I can well imagine this, given that Kasi Halva made from white pumpkin / ash gourd is a very popular sweet in Tamil weddings.
@purba_ray Papaya curry with panch phoron, hing and tomatoes
@Martianparasite Green papaya sweet chutney also known as plastic chutney is yum! – Yes it is, it was one of the 4 recipes I cooked with raw papaya. @umaimaabdulally also voted for the Gujarati style chutney.
@Madhu_gopalan says that her mother used to sneak it into pretty much everything – aloo curry, kootu etc.
My friend @dillidikudii > Add it to doughs, pakoras, all grated. Yes ma’am, i tried the grated papaya in parathas and it was truly delicious.
My blogger friend Meena from Hookedonheat recommends adding it to Thai curries.
@vinnykhullar – Grate it and stuff into parathas with chillies, coriander, salt and any other spices. Serve with curd, malai and butter. Now that’s a feast!
@minirib says We use this in a tangy orange Goan curry, tastes delicious.
@manjiradu – Big chunks cooked with masur dal, topped with ghee, served with rice and aloo bhaji
@saibal006 Boiled papaya with rice, mustard oil, chillies makes a bengali dish
@sanshimmer Green papaya thokku, it gives a different fresh taste
@proxax – There’s a green papaya chutney they serve with dhokla in Vadodara. It’s got crumbled dhokla mixed with it.
@readingrsmind shares her father in law’s recipe – Grate green papaya. Add tadka of mustard seeds, urad dal, haldi, hing, add papaya, salt and cook. Top with grated coconut.
If you loved this compilation, you will also like my post on 14 ways to cook and eat Moringa / Drumstick leaves