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Pepe Dolma (Baby Green Papayas Stuffed with Fish in a Fragrant Milk Curry)
Baby green papayas. A tear-jerking spicy bhetki stuffing. A delicately balanced milk sauce. Another novel delicacy from the house of the Tagores
Prep Time
15minutes
Cook Time
40minutes
Prep Time
15minutes
Cook Time
40minutes
Ingredients
For the Stuffing
For the Dolma
For the Gravy
Instructions
For the Stuffing
  1. Add the fish steaks, onion quarters, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, crushed green cardamom, cinnamon, a generous sprinkle of salt and a cup of water to a pressure cooker. Cook over a high flame, one whistle I would reckon. Allow to cool down on its own.
  2. Carefully debone the fish steaks, mash the fish. Keep aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan, add the chopped onions and garlic, fry till a gorgeous golden. Add the tomato puree, chopped green chillies and a sprinkle of salt, saute till the tomatoes are cooked and the raw smell of tomatoes is no longer there.
  4. Add the mashed fish, cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool to room temperature, keep aside.
For the Dolma
  1. Shave the papayas using a kitchen peeler, chop the head, about half an inch or so, as shown in the picture. Do not discard the head.
  2. Gently scoop out the insides of the papaya using a spoon.
  3. Soak the papayas in hot water with a little salt, and allow it to simmer for 10-15 odd minutes. Allow to cool down on its own. Drain the water, pat dry.
  4. Now gently fill the papayas with the fish stuffing, place the heads back. Secure with toothpicks. Keep aside.
  5. Take a pressure cooker and place the stand within. Carefully place the stuffed papayas on the stand. Add just enough water to touch the papayas. Cook over a high flame, two whistles I would reckon. Allow to cool down on its own. (Check with a skewer if the payapa is cooked perfectly. The skewer should easily go through the papaya if it is done. If not, one more whistle in the pressure cooker or till done to perfection.)
  6. Remove from the cooker, keep aside.
For the Gravy
  1. Heat oil in a pan, when smoking hot, throw in the black pepper corns and cumin seeds, allow to splutter.
  2. Add the onions, fry till translucent. Add the grated ginger and green chili paste. Saute for a further 3-4 minutes.
  3. Take off the heat, allow to cool and very gently pour in the milk while stirring continuously.
  4. Return to a low flame, sprinkle in the salt and black pepper powder, give it a hearty stir. Continue to cook till the gravy thickens.
  5. Adjust seasonings. Finish with a dollop of ghee and a generous sprinkle of garam masala powder.
  6. Slice the papayas gently into thick roundels, pour the sauce over the papayas.
  7. Serve hot.
Recipe Notes

No worries if you are a vegetarian, or do not like fish, a spicy dal or paneer stuffing works just as fine.

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