A quick stir-fried rice recipe that uses green papaya, mango, turmeric and a tadka of simple spices and nuts to make a one-pot meal that is ready in under 10 minutes. Great to pack in lunch boxes as well.
Papaya was one fruit which I never valued when it was growing wildly in our backyard back in India. Now that I am here, away from the tropics which I used to call home for a major part of my life, I cannot help get excited whenever I spot this golden fruit at our grocer’s. The flesh of a ripe papaya ranges in color from a pinkish yellow to a rich orange. But in Asian cuisine, the unripe green papaya is equally valued and is used in many recipes – salads, stir fries, and curries.
My go-to dinner on busy days or lazy days is a one-pot meal of some sort of flavored rice. I am not talking about biryanis or rich pulaos. I am talking about the hidden gems of South Indian cooking, easy recipes in which different spices, vegetables and seasonings get tossed with rice (better if it is a day old) and is enjoyed with nothing but a side of crunchy poppadoms and pickles.
This sort of cooking is extremely popular during summer when the body craves something cool and easy to digest. My favorites are curd/yogurt rice, lemon rice and coconut rice. Another favorite is mango rice – cooked rice tossed with grated unripe mangoes which are juicy and tangy. A smidge of turmeric, maybe some cumin and a quick tadka of dry chilies, curry leaves and assorted nuts later, you have a super easy, super delicious one-pot meal.
I simply added a nice helping of grated green papaya to a classic mango rice one day and came up with this recipe. The papaya adds just the right touch of sweetness, nothing too overpowering, but enough to leave one wondering what exactly is that delicious flavor coming through along with the tanginess of the mango.
This recipe is great to pack in lunch boxes and travel packs. The prep is quite easy as well, especially if you have leftover rice in the refrigerator. On to the recipe now.
- Oil - 2 tsp
- Mustard seeds - ½ tsp
- Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
- Dried red chilies - 2
- Curry leaves - 5-6
- Ginger - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
- Asafoetida - a pinch
- Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- Green or unripe papaya - ½ cup, grated
- Green or unripe mango - ½ cup, grated
- Coconut - 2 tbsp, grated
- Rice - 3 cups, cooked
- Salt - to taste
- Roasted peanuts - ¼ cup
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves. When the seeds begin to crackle, add ginger, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Saute for a few seconds on low flame to fry the ginger.
- Add grated papaya and mango and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. When papaya and mango are soft, tip in the coconut and saute for a few more seconds.
- Now add the cooked rice and gently fold in to combine. Season with salt. Add the roasted peanuts. Serve hot with a side of raita, pickle and pappads.
Add a spoonful of spicy Indian pickle (achar) and poppadoms and you are set for a simple but great meal!
Tell me, do you like papaya? Ever tried cooking with green papaya? Do try this quick, delicious and healthy recipe.
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