What Are the Different Types of Papaya Curry?

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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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Papaya curry is typically a fruit curry seasoned with traditional Indian spices, though it comes in many different forms. Vegans can enjoy versions of papaya curry that require very little heating and no animal products. Those that love sweet and spicy flavor combinations may add other tropical fruits to the curry to create a papaya and pineapple or papaya and coconut dish. Others refer to a mutton curry as papaya curry because this meat is often marinated in crushed papaya to make it tender and add flavor.

Raw papaya curries are generally the easiest kind to make. They require no heating and can be very refreshing on a hot summer day. Some also like to serve this cold, spicy curry as the last course to a hot, heavy meal. The cool temperature of the dish helps cool the palate and the body while the spicy flavors may help aid digestion.

Most papaya curry dishes start with green papayas. These slightly under-ripe fruits have a tart, slightly sweet, acidic flavor that usually complements the curry powder and other spices nicely. The fruit must be cubed and peeled before being added to water to simmer for about eight minutes, or until soft. The papaya is then typically mashed together with seeded, chopped chili peppers, turmeric powder and red curry powder. Some cooks also like to add shredded coconut, mustard seed and salt.


Another version of vegan papaya curry involves several other tropical fruits, including pineapple, coconut and bananas. The fruits are often simmered together with coconut milk until soft, and then sprinkled with a little sugar, chopped chili peppers and curry powder. Red curry powder is traditional, but the cook may also use green curry powder. Its sweetness generally complements the sugars in both the fruit and coconut milk.

Sweet potatoes, ginger and nuts also sometimes make an appearance in a multi-fruit papaya curry, often transforming it into a very hearty entree. Cooks occasionally blend all of the above types of papaya curry into a smooth, creamy, soup-like dish with a hand blender or food processor. The dish is then generally garnished with a little shredded coconut, some chilies or curry leaves.

The last type of papaya curry is the only kind that contains meat. Sliced mutton is often covered in raw, crushed papaya or papaya paste to give it flavor and tenderize it. The acids in the papaya work quickly on the meat, so it usually only needs about an hour to marinate. The papaya goes right into the curry dish, along with the meat, typically giving the entire dish a tart, fruity flavor.


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Post 3

May I ask what type of oil is best when making papaya curry?

The recipe I have calls for peanut oil but I'm not a fan of it. Can I use ghee or vegetable oil instead? And can I serve this with chapatis or does it have to be rice?

Post 2

@burcidi-- You don't put any coconut?

I always put coconut paste or grated fresh coconut in mine. I make it like vegetable korma and it comes out creamy and delicious. I also don't mash the papayas, but rather cut them into cubes. My mother in law makes the same thing but she also adds buttermilk and potatoes.

Papaya curry is very common in South India. I think of it as a comfort food.

Post 1

I make a simple curry with raw papayas. I simmer the papayas and mash them like the article mentioned. But I don't add the spices directly. I cook the spices in oil first on the stove to get all the flavors out. I add turmeric, curry, garam masala and black mustard seeds to hot oil. I remove it from heat when the mustard seeds have popped and add the papaya mash to it. It tastes very good this way.

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