Sweet and savoury surprise
Papawand papaya so tasty and versatile
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
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.