When my eyes rest on the pristine green papaya, all ready to be be plucked off the tree, I know in a flash what I need to be doing.
Restraint. I whisper to myself.
Just the minimal intervention please. A hint of spices. Let the papaya be the hero and reign the dish. So back to Grandma’s recipes and a delectable pepe ghonto is what I cook.
Pepe Ghonto, Green papaya, a throw of roasted peanuts and raisins and a kiss of spices.
That’s it. No fuss. Just what’s needed to make the gorgeous papaya shine.
Pepe Ghonto (Raw Papaya Dry Curry)
- 1 medium sized raw papaya grated
- 1 small sized potato cut into medium sized cubes
- 8 - 10 boris or dried lentil dumplings
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 - 3 dry red chillies
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 - 2 green cardamom
- 1 - 2 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tbsp peanuts
- 1/2 tbsp raisins
- 3 tbsps mustard oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
- sugar to taste
- salt to taste
- Soak the raisins in a little water, keep aside.
- Dissolve the turmeric powder and coriander powder in a little water to form a paste.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai/deep frying pan, fry the peanuts, keep aside on an absorbent towel.
- Add a dash of oil if required, fry the boris until golden in color. Remove from the oil, keep aside on an absorbent towel to drain the excess oil.
- In the same oil, fry the potatoes until golden brown in color. Remove from the oil, keep aside on an absorbent towel.
- Add the remaining oil, throw in the bay leaves, dry red chillies, crushed cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. When the spices start releasing their aroma, add in the turmeric-coriander paste and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Now add in the grated papaya and a sprinkle of salt, cover and cook over a medium flame. The papaya shall release a lot of water, so no need to add in any water. Stir occasionally, add a splash of water only in case it is becoming too dry and the papaya is threatening to stick to the bottom of the kadai.
- When papaya is about 75% cooked, add the potatoes, raisins and peanuts.
- Continue to cook over a medium flame till the papaya and potatoes are perfectly cooked, adding a splash of water whenever needed. (Take care that the papaya is just cooked and doesn't become mushy.)
- Time to add the sugar, fried boris and adjust the seasonings. Mix well, cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Finish with a dollop of ghee and a sprinkle of garam masala powder. Your pepe ghonto is ready.