Andy and I like, but don't love, pawpaws - the red ones are usually pretty yummy, but the yellow variety sometimes has a bit of unpleasant flavour. But, they grow so prolifically, so we often find ourselves gifted with fruit. And I would never, ever say no to free fruit & veg, so we find ways to enjoy it. One thing that we have found about pawpaw is that we prefer them when they are picked on the green side, and then eaten when they are *just* underripe.
But sometimes, we get fruit, and we find ourselves jumping the gun - we cut too soon. We do this frustratingly often, with avocados, mangoes, and now, pawpaws. This one was actually too underripe for us to want to eat, but then we thought back to our adventures with unripe jackfruit, and wondered if unripe papaya could be used as a vegetable.
We put it in a curry, and the answer is, yes. It's slightly sweet, but no more than a sweet potato. We upped the spiciness factor by pounding some of the pawpaw seeds into the curry paste - did you know the seeds are edible, and super peppery? We usually dry them out and store them in the pepper grinder. Aside from the seeds, this curry paste had turmeric and chilli, from Dee & BoaB's garden, and ginger and garlic, with a bit of coconut cream to make it saucy. And pawpaw chunks were accompanied by onion, carrot, kangkong (water spinach) from a bucket in our back courtyard, and eggplant. The pawpaw and the eggplant came from my friend James' garden, so this was a very local meal.
So - unripe fruit can be used as vegetables. You have no idea how excited this makes us.