Saturday, February 11, 2012

Papaya Curry

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.
Pawpaw Curry

So - unripe fruit can be used as vegetables. You have no idea how excited this makes us.

7 comments:

Lovlie said...

Yum! Very much, upripe fruits do make good curries! I love green banana curry. Unfortunately we don't get very green ones in the stores here. That's when I miss being in my home country, Mauritius. We could get them there all the time.

Emma said...

Hmm I really kind of hate pawpaw, but this is a great idea and I might like it! I eat it dried, have you tried drying it? I wish I like dit because it always looks so pretty. Interesting about the seeds too...

Dee said...

Green papaya salad is delish! Som Tum salad in Thai, and perfect for this hot weather. You need to pick the fruit fully green, and so it is not sweet at all. I googled for ya and got a Vietnamese one to try
http://www.anhsfoodblog.com/2010/09/vietnamese-vegan-papaya-salad-delicious.html

Sorry I don't have any fruit just now : (

Nadine said...

ooh that sounds really nice. i'm a bit ho hum about papaya myself (I prefer it super ripe)but I'm a huge fan of fruit in curry - I bet mango would be good too :)

Kari said...

You have no idea how excited this makes me! What a brilliant discovery. I rarely buy papaya - I find it ok, but not my favourite - but I think I'd love it in curry form. Fantastic idea!

Hannah said...

Oh, I would give so much for endless green papaya! Som Tum is the dish that I can't resist on a restaurant menu and long to recreate at home!

Theresa said...

@Emma - we have tried, and failed. Sliced pawpaw dried plain goes hard as a rock and tastes like yuck. But pawpaw makes really good fruit roll ups.

@Dee - of course! Green pawpaw salad. This pawpaw was more ripe than that, just a little under edible as a fruit.

@Nadine - we've done mango chickpea curry once, and it was good! http://travelingvegan.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/some-more-things-to-do-with-mango.html