Here’s an old school curry dish I don’t recall eating until I left the Caribbean. Essentially mommy never made this vegan curry dish for us, however over the years I’ve learned that it was very commonplace in many homes in Trinidad and Tobago.
3 lbs mature green papaya (1 inch chunks)
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large shallot (sliced)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 tablespoon curry powder (depending on how strong a curry you want)
1 teaspoon Anchar Masala
1 teaspoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
2 green chili peppers (sliced)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Optional – 2 green chili peppers to finish
Notes! I used green chili peppers in the dish, but you may use any spicy pepper you prefer or should you not enjoy spicy food, leave them out. If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure that they meet your specific gluten free dietary requirements. May I suggest you watch the video below as much more about the recipe is discussed there.
As mentioned in the video, it’s best to wear gloves or coat your hands with vegetable oil to prevent the Papaya’s sap from irritating your hands. Trim the stem off the papaya, then cut it into wedges. Use a spoon to scrape off the seeds and discard. Now it’s time to peel off the skin with a pairing knife or potato peeler. Rinse well and cut into 1 inch wedges.
Heat the coconut oil in a deep saucepan on a medium flame and add the sliced shallots. Turn the heat down to low and cook gently. After a minute add the curry powder, Anchar masala (get at your local Caribbean grocer), Caribbean Green Seasoning and black pepper. Should you not be able to source the Anchar Masala, use ground roasted cumin (Geera).
After about 4 minutes, turn the heat back up to medium, then add the prepared papaya to the pan and stir well to coat the pieces with that lovely curry base we created.
It’s now time to add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add the 2 chopped chili peppers and salt at this point as well.
Reduce the flame to a sort of rolling boil and simmer and cook until the papaya is tender.
Depending on how large you cut the Papaya it will take between 1 hour and 1 hour and 15 minutes to get tender. Use a pairing knife and poke the thickest piece of Papaya and if there’s no resistance, it means that it’s fully cooked.
Here’s where you’ll then taste and adjust the salt to your liking, add the cilantro and if you want a finishing kick as I do, add the other 2 chili peppers. I did stir the pot every 20 minutes or so and you will be required to pay attention to the level of the liquid and add more water should the need arise.
A wonderful vegan/vegetarian curry, which can also be enhanced with salted Cod… but that’s a recipe for another day.