Known by various names such as unripe papaya, raw papaya, green pawpaw, Som Tam papaya, kachcha papita, choung deng mouk, and more, green papaya captivates culinary enthusiasts with its vibrant allure and unique characteristics.
Across different regions and cultures, this versatile fruit goes by different names, reflecting its global presence and diverse culinary applications. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the realm of green papaya, exploring its origins, preparation, health benefits, and where to find it.
So let’s unravel the wonders of this fascinating fruit as Orderific embarks on a flavorful journey through green papaya.
What is a Green Papaya?
Green papayas, also known as unripe papayas or raw papayas, are nutritious fruit with a wide range of culinary possibilities. Here are some of the benefits of green papaya, as well as its origins, preparation and cooking methods.
Green papaya refers to the unripe stage of the papaya fruit, harvested before it fully ripens. Its firm texture, pale green skin, and white flesh characterize it. While most people are familiar with sweet and ripe papaya, green papaya offers a distinct taste and culinary potential.
This fruit is borne on a tree that can grow up to approximately 12 feet and is scientifically known as Carica papaya. The common papaya is typically harvested when its flesh transitions to an orange-red hue and is mainly cultivated in Hawaii. However, it is now also grown in Thailand, India, and certain regions of Japan. Green papayas typically weigh around 650g on average but can exceed 1kg.
Green papayas exhibit a pear-like shape, sporting a vivid green outer peel and pale,e, translucent yellow-green flesh that contains a cluster of white seeds in its central core. As the fruit ripens, the white seeds transform into a black hue. The light-colored flesh of green papaya possesses a neutral taste and a crunchy texture reminiscent of carrots. Young papayas are better suited for use as a vegetable and are particularly well-suited for savory salads.
How to Prepare and Cook Green Papaya?
Green papaya can be transformed into a variety of delicious dishes.
To prepare it, peel off the skin and remove the seeds. You can then slice or grate the flesh, depending on your recipe.
This vibrant fruit is commonly used in Thai cuisine and salads such as the popular dish, “Som Tum,” or green papaya salad. Its crisp texture and mild flavor make it an excellent ingredient for stir-fries, soups, and curries.
Here’s the recipe for Som Tam that you can try at home. It’s easy, healthy, and yummy.
Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)
– 1 green peeled, seeded and shredded papaya
– 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 2-3 bird’s eye chilies (minced, adjust according to your spice preference)
– 2 tablespoons fish sauce
– 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar).
– 2 tablespoons lime juice
– 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (crushed)
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
– 1 cup long beans or green beans (cut into 2-inch pieces)
– Optional: dried shrimp, crab, or grilled shrimp for added protein
- Pound the garlic and chili in a large mortar and pestle until they form a coarse paste.
- Add the fish sauce, palm sugar, peanut, and lime juice to the mortar and continue pounding to dissolve the sugar.
- Add the shredded unripe green papaya, cherry tomatoes, and long beans to the mortar. Use a table spoon or spatula to gently mix and bruise the ingredients, allowing the flavors to combine.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference, adding more fish sauce, sugar, or lime juice if desired.
- Add the crushed roasted peanuts and optional protein (dried shrimp, crab, or grilled shrimp) to the mortar and mix briefly.
- Transfer the salad to a serving plate and garnish with additional crushed peanuts.
- Serve the green papaya salad immediately and enjoy its refreshing flavors.
People with a liking for bean sprouts can also add a small bowl of it for a rich nutrition facts-driven one-pot meal.
Note: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a large bowl and a wooden spoon to mix and lightly bruise the ingredients.
Where to Buy and Store Green Papaya?
Green papaya can be found in Asian grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and some well-stocked supermarkets.
- Look for unripe papayas that have a vibrant green color and are firm to the touch. Avoid buying orange papaya.
- When selecting green papaya, avoid any signs of bruising or blemishes.
- Once you have your green papaya, store it at room temperature until it ripens slightly.
- You can also refrigerate it if you wish it to stay unripe longer.
How To Pick Green Papaya?
Green papaya, now a prized ingredient, is rare in American and European supermarkets.
- To discover this culinary gem, venture into Asian grocery stores where the fresh produce section holds the key. Larger and bigger stores tend to offer a wider variety.
- A fair price range for green papaya would be anything ranging between $ 6.99- $10.99 OR £5-7 to £9 (based on its weight and size).
- When selecting your green papaya, opt for vibrant, uniformly green skin that remains firm when pressed, avoiding blotchy areas or soft spots indicative of age or poor storage.
- Swift utilization is advised to savor the desired crisp texture before it softens.
- Upon bringing your green papaya home, preserve its freshness by storing it in a plastic produce bag in the refrigerator.
- For prolonged storage beyond 3 or 4 days, wrapping the fruit in a paper towel can absorb excess moisture, maintaining its quality.
In the unfortunate event of unavailability, green mango is the closest substitute—an unripened fruit that can be used similarly in Thai cuisine. However, green mango also requires sourcing from an Asian store.
What are the Health Benefits of Green Papaya?
Green papaya boasts a range of health benefits.
- It is rich in vitamins A, C, and E and dietary fiber, making it beneficial for digestion and overall gut health.
- It also contains enzymes, such as papain, which can aid protein digestion.
- Green papaya is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is often used in traditional medicine to alleviate symptoms of various ailments.
- In addition, green papaya is low in calories and carbohydrates, making it a great addition to a balanced diet.
- It provides essential nutrients while keeping your calorie intake in check.
Speaking of health benefits, check out what scientists have to say about dried papaya and how it aids your overall health.
Incorporating green papaya into your meals adds a delightful crunch and freshness and contributes to your overall well-being. It is often observed that people like it best served with Thai curries cooked in coconut milk, bell pepper, and fried rice or brown rice.
So whether you’re looking to make a tangy salad or a zesty stir-fry, green papaya can add a burst of flavor to any cuisine. An all-in-one management system such as Orderific can help brands or restaurant owners manage their operations more efficiently.
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Right from providing real-time inventory tracking to centralized ordering while ensuring customer satisfaction, elevate your dining experience with Orderific and incorporate green papaya servings into your restaurant’s offerings today!