I first ate pink papaya in Malaysia in the 60s. We stayed at a fabulous unspoiled rustic beach resort just out of Malacca. Basically, huts on the beach. There was a pavilion where breakfast was served….tropical fruits of the like we had never seen. We started the days with perfect pink papaya with a lime squeezed over. It remains a favourite.
The coffee was disgusting but we soon discovered that just across the road at the edge of the jungle was a two-wok cart. In one wok coffee was roasted, crushed and within minutes there was the most delicious coffee, with, of course condensed milk. From the other came a magical omelette which also remains a favourite.
The cart owner would rush into the jungle and return with the eggs and also within minutes we had chilli and coriander omelettes made with the yellowest eggs I have still ever seen. We of course knew that the eggs were stashed just out of view but enjoyed playing the game.
AO 26 November 2020
It was not until the earl 80s that we started to see it in South Australia. Just another joy brough to our cuisine by Vietnamese refuges who came to Australia post the end of the Vietnam war. Pink papaya remains pretty awful in many fruit and veg shops because they just don’t get that it needs to look like its off before it’s ready to eat. See perfect looking papaya and you can rest assured it is not ready to eat.
When it looks like it is fit for the compost it when it’s ready to eat…..see image above.
We always purchase from one of our favourite Asia grocers, Seng Bangkok, Hanson Road, South Australia. The family that runs this business wastes nothing, and although if I don’t buy whole fruit guided by one of the girls, I am always filled with guilt and remorse because their ready to eat papaya comes on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic. A squeeze of lime and it’s just heaven.
This is a fruit that is so good ‘au naturel’ that I don’t like to mess with it, but its silky texture does make an excellent sorbet. For every 500g prepared weight ripe pink papaya add 50g powdered caster sugar or pure icing sugar, finely grated rind of one lime [kaffir if you can find one], 100g freshly squeezed and strained lime juice. Blitz, chill and churn or freeze in a tray and rake every 30 minutes…..always make and use same day.
Best advice for purchasing Pink Papaya is to buy at your local Asian grocer and if you’re not familiar with the fruit let them make the choice!