The papaya is a favourite fruit in most of India. However, I've noticed that only the East of India (Bengal, Assam, Bihar) uses it as as vegetable too, making curries out of it. I've asked people in the South why they prefer to use the ripe papaya only as fruit, and the answer I've got is an unconvincing "Raw papaya heats up the body." Now, I really don't know this typically Indian distinction of 'foods that heat up your body' and 'foods that cool your body', but we shall save that debate for another day.
To get on with today's recipe, this is the papaya curry that is very delicious, very healthy, and one of my favourites from when I was a child. It is made with diced raw papaya and diced potatoes and has a cumin base seasoning.
Raw papaya (1 medium, diced into cubes)
Potatoes (2-3 medium, diced into cubes)
Oil for frying
Cumin seeds (for seasoning)
Cumin seeds (ground into paste)
Ginger (1/2 inch piece, ground into paste)
Bay leaves (1-2)
Garam masala (this is the Bengali garam masala, different from the off-the-shelf Everest variety, and contains cinnamon, clove, and green cardamom ground into powder)
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Heat oil in a wok and fry the papaya and potatoes in it. When the papayas begin to turn translucent, add the cumin and bay leaves and stir some more. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt, sugar, garam masala powder, and stir some more. When the vegetables are well fried in the masala, add the cumin seed and ginger paste. Add water. Bring to boil (papayas take some time boiling so be patient) and then reduce heat and set on simmer.
Check with a fork or toothpick for the softness of the vegetables. Keep on simmer, add a little ghee and some more garam masala. Remove from heat and serve hot with rice, roti or parathas.