I decided to prepare green papaya curry to highlight this versatile tropical fruit. I mostly eat papaya alone, in a smoothie, or in a fruit salad.

If you haven’t tried papaya as yet then you want to see this article to find out What Is Papaya?

green papaya for curry papaya

Green papaya is the unripe fruit of the papaya, originally from Central America but it is now grown in tropical regions of the world throughout the Caribbean and even here in Florida. 

My first recollection of eating green papaya was when my mom used it as a meat tenderizer for stews. I later had it when I visited the Island of Antigua when it was prepared boiled in salted water and served as a vegetable side dish. 

Green papaya is popular in many Asian cuisines where it is prepared as a salad, in stews, braised. I decided to make this green papaya recipe that turned out so flavorful. 

close up image of curry papaya in a grey plate on a grey background

Health Benefits Of Green Papaya 

I have to emphasize the amazing health benefits of green papaya. It contains more papain, a digestive enzyme that helps to break down protein in the body, than ripe papaya. Papain helps to improve digestion. 

Green papaya contains a good source of fiber and latex, which help wastes to pass from the colon easier.

Carotenoids are also found in papaya, which are converted by the body into Vitamin A. Vitamin A boosts eye health, prevents macular degeneration. 

Why You’ll Love This Green Papaya Recipe

  • Unique Flavor: Green papaya adds a unique and refreshing flavor to the curry, making it stand out from other curry dishes.
  • Health Benefits: Green papaya is packed with nutrients, including papain, fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin A, which contribute to improved digestion and overall health.
  • Creamy Coconut Sauce: The coconut milk in the curry sauce gives it a rich and creamy texture that complements the green papaya beautifully.
  • Vegan and Gluten-Free: This recipe is suitable for those with dietary restrictions, as it’s both vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients Needed

  • Green Papaya – Green papaya is sold in most major supermarkets, Caribbean and Asian supermarkets. It is usually sold when the skin is green or yellow-green. 
  • Coconut Oil
  • Aromatics including onion, garlic, ginger, and green onion.
  • Spices and herbs including thyme, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, and salt
  • Coconut Milk
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper

How To Make Green Papaya Curry

  1. Cut the papaya in half lengthwise, using a sharp knife peel the thin green skin off the papaya,
  2. Scoop out the white immature seeds (optional). Cut the papaya into approximately 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Add garlic, ginger, green onion, thyme, and cook for a minute stirring. 
  5. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. 
  6. Stir in the papaya cubes to coat. Add coconut milk, water, salt, and pepper. 
  7. Bring the curry to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for 25-30 minutes, mash some of the papayas.
  8. Serve with cooked brown rice or quinoa. 

Recipe Tips

  • Look for green papayas with a firm texture. Avoid overly ripe or yellow ones, as they won’t work well in this curry.
  • Be cautious when using Scotch Bonnet pepper. If you’re sensitive to spice, start with a small amount and add more gradually until you reach your desired level of heat.
  • You can use full-fat or light coconut milk based on your dietary preferences. Full-fat coconut milk will make the curry richer and creamier, while light coconut milk will reduce the overall calorie content.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Add cooked chickpeas for a plant-based protein boost.
  • For added crunch and creaminess, toss in some roasted cashews before serving.
  • Fresh cilantro leaves as a garnish can add a burst of freshness.
  • Instead of brown rice or quinoa, serve the curry with jasmine rice, basmati rice, or even roti.

Storage Tips

Refrigerator

If you have leftovers, let the curry cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container.

Ensure that the container is sealed tightly to prevent any air from getting in, which can cause the curry to spoil faster.

Typically, cooked curry can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

Freezer

If you want to store the curry for a longer period, consider freezing it. Transfer the cooled curry to an airtight, freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags. Leave some room at the top of the container or bag to allow for expansion.

Green Papaya Curry can be frozen for up to 2-3 months

Reheating

When you’re ready to use the papaya curry, move it to the refrigerator to thaw slowly. This will help maintain the texture and flavor.

It’s also possible to reheat it from frozen, but do so over low heat, and stir occasionally to prevent sticking or scorching.

Whether you’re reheating from the refrigerator or freezer, it’s best to do so on the stovetop or in the microwave. Slowly warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through.

Add a bit of water or coconut milk if it has thickened too much during storage.

Recipe FAQs

How do you store green papaya?

After purchasing papaya, you will need to store it in the refrigerator to prevent it from turning ripe if you do not intend to prepare the curry right away.

How do you ripen a green papaya?

Leave your green papaya on a dry counter for a couple of days. The skin will turn yellow and the flesh will become orange. 

Can I use ripe papaya instead of green papaya in this recipe?

Ripe papaya has a different texture and flavor, so it’s not recommended as a substitute. Green papaya is firmer and less sweet, making it more suitable for savory dishes like curry.

Where can I find green papaya?

Green papaya is typically available in most Caribbean and Asian supermarkets. Look for it in the produce section.

Other Amazing Curry Recipes To Try

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Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 130 kcal / 543 kJ
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Carbs: 0 g

Cook Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 30 min
  • Ready in: 40 min
  • For: 4 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut the papaya in half lengthwise, using a sharp knife peel the thin green skin off the papaya,
  2. Scoop out the white immature seeds (optional). Cut the papaya into approximately 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Add garlic, ginger, green onion, thyme, and cook for a minute stirring. 
  5. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. 
  6. Stir in the papaya cubes to coat. Add coconut milk, water, salt, and pepper. 
  7. Bring the curry to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for 25-30 minutes, mash some of the papayas.
  8. Serve with cooked brown rice or quinoa. 

Notes

Look for green papayas with a firm texture. Avoid overly ripe or yellow ones, as they won’t work well in this curry. This papaya curry recipe can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days or frozen for 2-3 months.  

Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.