Ingredient Name: Papaya
Traditional Chinese Name: 木瓜; (mù gua)
What is this?
- A relatively large, tropical fruit (ripe papaya can weigh from 1 pound to over 5 pounds each).
- The fruit is ripe when it feels soft and the skin has turned from green to an amber yellow-orange.
- The flesh of the fruit is juicy and sweet with a texture similar to cantaloupe and a flavour cross between pineapple and peach, but less tart.
- A ripe papaya can be eaten raw.
- Green (less ripe) papaya are generally used for cooking, including in Chinese soups.
- Ripe papayas are popular in Chinese desserts.
How do I prepare it?
- Cut the papaya in half, scoop out the seeds and remove the skin.
- For soups, cut green papayas into large cubes and add them into the boiling water.
Where can I buy this?
- You can purchase fresh red papayas from most supermarkets
- They come in a variety of sizes depending on the species of papaya
What is the cost?
- Papaya can cost $1 – $4 CAD per fruit (depending on where you buy and size and seasonal fluctuations)
- The papaya fruit contains papain which may aid digestion
- Papaya fish soup is very popular in Asia for new mothers and are believed to encourage breast milk production – although it is recommended to use GREEN papayas rather than RED papayas
- Papaya is a “cool” fruit and may cause diarrhea and stomach pain if eaten in excess
- To slow down the ripening process, keep papayas in the fridge
- To speed up the ripening process, put papayas in a brown paper bag
- Ground papaya seeds are a good substitute for pepper
Pictured below: Green Papaya