Sweet and savoury sur­prise

Pa­pawand pa­paya so tasty and ver­sa­tile

Central and North Burnett Times - - EASY EATING - Vani Naidoo Vani.naidoo@apn.com.au Recipes and pic­tures cour­tesy Aus­tralian Pa­paya and Pa­paw

WHEN I think pa­paw I think about a spicy green pa­paw sold from Dar­win’s Mindil Beach mar­kets, tangy and sweet and pep­pered with red chilli and crushed nuts. Just mouth-wa­ter­ing. But of course ripe pa­paw and pa­paya, so plen­ti­ful in Australia, can be en­joyed by them­selves or as part of a sweet or savoury dish. Both fruit are avail­able here through­out the year but au­tumn and spring are abun­dant sea­sons and favourable weather con­di­tions means that right now sup­ply and qual­ity are at their peak. They may be ex­otic in na­ture but the fruit are easy enough to dis­tin­guish from each other with the pear-shaped pa­paya usu­ally of­fer­ing up sweet or­ange to red flesh and the rounder pa­paw yel­low in colour and not as sweet. Packed with an­tiox­i­dants, vi­ta­mins and fi­bre, both fruit are known for their health benefits too. “From as­sist­ing the im­mune sys­tem to di­ges­tive well-be­ing to be­ing a great choice dur­ing preg­nancy, pa­paya and pa­paw are a great health all-rounder,” di­eti­cian Caitlin Reid said. They are high in vi­ta­mins C and A, low in fat and also con­tain sev­eral skin-protective nu­tri­ents. Fol­low Caitlin’s top tips to choose the per­fect pa­paw or pa­paya:

To choose a ripe pa­paya or pa­paw, lightly press un­der­neath the stem and it will give to the pres­sure.

Pa­paya and pa­paw are frag­ile – a few dark spots or blem­ishes on the skin are nor­mal and the fruit will still be great qual­ity.

Ripen pa­paya and pa­paw in the fruit bowl and then store in the fridge and en­joy within two days.

Re­move from the fridge and let it sit for about five min­utes be­fore en­joy­ing to get the best taste

To speed up the ripen­ing process, you can also place in a pa­per bag with a ba­nana.

Pa­paya and pa­paw are packed with flavour and highly ver­sa­tile, pair­ing well with co­conut, pas­sion­fruit, seafood, sal­ads, cur­ries, pork, chicken, lime, lemon, mango, pineap­ple, gin­ger, kiwi fruit, ba­nana and berries. Get cre­ative with th­ese tasty ideas:

For a pep­pery sub­sti­tute, don’t toss the pa­paya seeds, grind them and use in place of pep­per.

Poach pa­paya and cran­ber­ries in a syrup of lime juice, cin­na­mon, star anise, sugar and wa­ter for a cit­rus dessert.

Whip up a spicy pa­paya/pa­paw salsa by com­bin­ing it with red onion, co­rian­der, lime juice and red chilli.

Pa­paya and chicken curry

Serves 4

In­gre­di­ents 1 tbs olive oil ¼ cup ko­rma curry paste 500g pa­paya, peeled, de-seeded and mashed 400ml co­conut milk 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced 1 red capsicum, sliced 1¼ cup bas­mati rice Hand­ful of kaffir lime leaves (op­tional) Method Over a low heat, heat oil and ko­rma curry paste in a pan or casse­role dish un­til fra­grant. Add pa­paya and co­conut milk and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and al­low to sim­mer. Add chicken and cook un­til chicken is cooked through. Add red capsicum and cook for an­other 2 min­utes. Mean­while cook bas­mati rice in a rice cooker or ac­cord­ing to di­rec­tions on packet. Serve pa­paya and chicken curry with bas­mati rice. Gar­nish with thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves (op­tional). Sea­son to taste.

PHOTO: AUS­TRALIAN PA­PAYA AND PA­PAW

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