Papaya in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Papaya is one of the vegetables with a very amazing nutritional profile. Raw papaya has green skin and white flesh whereas ripe papaya has orange-green skin and fleshy, mushy, sweet, orange pulp.

For the growingly health conscious Indians, some small cubes of bright orange ripe papaya are almost a must at the breakfast table.

Papaya is consumed in both its raw and ripe form. The fruit has versatile use and finds its way to juice, salad, curry and deserts.

Cooking papaya

Uses of Papaya in Bengali & Indian Cuisines

Raw papaya is used as a vegetable in Indian curries. Bongs make a delicious curry with potatoes and papaya. Both are cut in small cubes for cooking.

Baris are added to the curry for a crunchy feel. The Bengalis also add a ladle of cow milk to the curry for a creamy texture and sweet taste.

Bongs usually serve the dish with hot piping rice but it also tastes good when paired with rotis.

Papaya is used to make a variety of healthy and delightful salads. One such is prepared with grilled papaya and peach and decorated with amaranth granola pieces.

This salad is not only loaded with the nutrients of papaya and peach but also serves a quick pot meal to the hungry souls.

Papaya and Kebabs? It sounds like an impossible pairing right? But believe me; the taste of this unique union is simply brilliant and unforgettable.

Serve the delicate kebabs with equally delicious zingy plum chutney. Another healthy, delicate and delicious papaya snack incorporates the goodness of badam.

So, if you crave for ‘health bhi taste vi’ kind of snacks in the evening, take guilt-free bites off hot badam papita kebab.  Don’t forget to share the taste with your family and friends.

Dalma is a popular Oriya specialty. It is easy to cook. The recipe includes split chickpeas, papaya, potato and a variety of common Indian spices.

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Santula is another popular cuisine from the Land of Lord Jagannatha. It is a savory curry that soaks in the goodness of potatoes, papaya and eggplants, flavored with a host of spices and doused in milk.

Papaya is a wonderful fruit that goes into making an interesting variety of deserts. In Bengal, plastic chutney is a very special sweet dish served on several auspicious occasions.

It is made with papaya. The very small papaya cubes, when cooked with sugar syrup, look like plastic cubes and thus, the dish has got its name.

The chutney is flavored with a few selected spices. Cashew nuts, raisins and shreds of dates are also added for enhanced richness and taste.

India is a wonderful country where you will get to taste a variety of halwas. Papita ka halwa is a popular desert in India.

The delectable desert is cooked by marrying smashed papaya with walnuts. The dish is whipped up in dollops of ghee for richness.

Khoya brings it a thick texture and cardamom powder is added for the divineness in flavor. This desert is served at parties and auspicious occasions.

A good helping of papaya is cooked with coconut and jaggery to prepare raw papaya cubesa.

The goodness of papaya and sweetness of jaggery and grated coconut comes together to make the mouth-watering dessert. No one can blame your insane craving for the dish.

Papaya badam barfi is an innovative creation that gives a fruity punch to the traditional barfi. Papaya is lugubriously cooked with khoya, sugar, cardamom and other aromatics.

The thick structure is then poured on a ghee-greased tray and cut into the shape of barfi (rectangle or square) after it cools down.

Sharbat is one of the most amazing signature street foods in India. You will find a colorful variety of them both on the streets and in restaurants.

They vary in ingredients and so in taste. No wonder that papaya, with all its health benefits, is used to make tasty soup and drinks.

The goodness of the fruit is explored to whip up an incredible, interesting and flavorsome variety of drinks and juices.

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Papaya is an amazing, natural tenderizer. Chicken and mutton are marinated with scrubbed papaya, especially for preparing biryani. It makes meat tender and helps them soak in the flavors of the gravy.

Bongs also use papaya to make chicken soup. Chicken is cooked with slices of potatoes and papaya. Sometimes, carrot slices are also used.

The exchange of flavors among the vegetable, fruit and meat makes the curry delectable.

It is a light curry flavored with only a few spices and a great dish during the summer time when you don’t like much spiciness on your platter. Both steamed rice and hot roti are best relished with this soup.

Papaya powder makes a delectable addition to Indian curries. Though not popular in the rural pockets of the country, the chefs and passionate home cooks explore its flavor to give a twist to many traditional recipes.

Do you know about papaya sauce? It exists and you can get the sauce in shopping malls, if not in your local market. The sauce is generously topped over chunks of watermelon and grated coconut for a lip-smacking ice cream.

Is Papaya Tasty?

Raw papaya offers a crunchy bite. Ripe papaya is very soft and sweet to taste.

When you are using this papaya in any dish then it gets the taste of it actually. Overall it’s not so tasty at all.

What are the Best Recipes of Papaya?

I will be at loss if asked to choose the best papaya recipes. There are so many varieties and they are unique taste.

However, some of them are close to my heart. Being a Bong, I love peper tarkari (papaya curry) with boiled rice and dal.

The soft flavor of potatoes and the little crunchiness of bori make my day in summer. It is ideal for those with a craving for a light meal, especially in the summer season.

I also love papaya salad. Papaya soup (both ripe and raw) keeps me hydrated during the long summer days. I love its taste.

I never feel guilty for my extra craving for aloo r pepe diye murgir jhol (chicken soup prepared with potato and papaya). It satiates my craving for meat while making me feel light and cool in summer time.

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I never have enough plastic chutney. I let out chakum-chukum (smacking) sound while relishing the dish in the last course of a heart meal.

Every bite of the soft papaya cubes and cashew nuts coated with cardamom flavored sugar syrup teases my taste buds to ‘Have More’. I have a sweet tooth; so no wonder that I will love to dig into papaya-badam barfi.

I love trying dishes from other states of India. I love dalma and it is a must at my kitchen during Rathayatra.

I love the softness and richness of papaya kebabas. Veg kebabas are my favorite on rainy days or in the winter season.

Every individual has his or her favorite dishes. What about you when it comes to papaya?

What Goes Well with Papaya?

It depends on the type of papaya dish and also the food habits of the people.

Bongs relish both papaya curry and chicken preparation with steamed rice. Non-Bengalis will certainly prefer rotis with such dishes.

Salad and deserts are stand-alone items served at the start and end of the main course respectively.

Questions & Answers:

What Dishes Can be Made from Boiled Papayas?

Boiled papayas are used to make halwas, kebabs and barfi. You can also have boiled papaya with salt, green chili and a little bit of mustard oil. This is very good for your health. In fact, you can also use it in any kind of chicken and mutton stew.

How Do You Know When Papaya is Cooked?

Raw papaya looks and feels soft after being properly cooked. You can simply feel the juice inside it. It becomes like a jello, soft yet not mushy.

How Many Types of Papaya Dishes are There?

There are many, maybe hundreds of them in India. You can check out different papaya sabji, papaya tarkari, papaya salads, papaya halwa and even paratha stuffing.

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