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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A little girl and a Raw Papaya

One season in a tiny backyard garden in the city of Hyderabad, was an abundant harvest of papaya. It all started  one sunny afternoon, when the paati (grandmother) of the house, planted a small rotten seedless papaya  and then ten weeks later, there was papaya everywhere. Amma (mother) of the house distributed succulent green papayas and red ripe fruity papayas among friends and family. When the entire neighbourhood got bored of eating jams, halwas, preserves, kootu, curries and everything esle made of papaya, Amma had to use the rest of the harvest in her own kitchen. Amma convinced the little girl that papaya was good for her and the girl was more than convinced. Amma's creative and innovative use of this tropical vegetable/fruit amazed the little girl. That little girl has been a concious foodie ever since!!

That little girl was me. I grew up to love veggies and anything and everything to do with them. My amma is a true genius and I am going to share her grated raw papaya thoran in this post. I am not sure if this is a common recipe but dint want to miss an opportunity to present payapa in a whole new way. Papaya and chana dal poricha kootu or molagootal are fairly common in PI (palakkad iyer) kitchens. Grated raw papaya thoran looks like a cabbage poriyal/thoran. Is it not an amazing trick to get picky eaters gobble up at least two servings of the dish.

Grated papaya thoran/poriyal is a simple recipe. Start with the conventional south Indian tadka (tempering) ingredients namely, mustard seeds, jeera (optionl), urad dal, chana dal and red chillies. Put in the grated papaya into your kadai as soon as you hear the mustards popping. Put in salt, hing, haldi, and my staple kuzhambu/rasam powder (I love them in thoran) and let it cook in a just a little amount of water. keep stirring and add curry leaves and grated coconut (optional). I skipped coconut this time as I made mysore rasam and papaya thoran together for lunch today.

I love to use kuzhambu or rasam powder in thorans as they are wholesome and bring in all the essential spices in a single spoon. Or should I call it magic in a spoon!

Your bowl of thoran could be great as a salad or a side dish. Super yummy.....Here is a pic...

I need to make a special mention of a great raw papaya Thai salad you have to try. It is very simple and really nutritious. Saw this on a food show a few years ago in India. This is called Som Tam in Thai. (Click on the name for an update from wiki) ..Lazy me!

Grated papaya seasoned with fresh crushed red and green chillies, basil, garlic (optional), coconut oil, lemon juice, salt and a little sugar (honey works like magic). If you like to play around with ingredients, you may add tomatoes and shredded carrots or everything else imaginable to this recipe. But it wont be called Som Tam then....chuckle

Ending this post with the famous words of the Bag Lady - Ms Paula Deen - "with lots of love from my kitchen to yours". Take care and see you soon.


  1. Thanks for the lovely welcome Sudha :)
    I'm loving Atlanta!!

    Will try one of your raw papaya dishes as soon as my stuff is up and running again.

  2. Hey Pragya

    Thank you for stopping are welcome..and stop by whenever possible!


  3. Hi Sudha ,
    Your dishes are unique,flavorful and simple.


  4. thanks anju
    I m glad u liked them :)

  5. I hopped here from Patty's blog and have been hooked! I love this raw papaya Thoran and I am definitely going to give it a shot! Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe!

  6. Hi Shankari

    I am so glad you stopped by... would love it if you could keep coming by as much as you could :)



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