Green papaya curry / peper dalna step-by-step recipe with video and photos.
About this recipe
Green papaya curry or peper dalna is a unique Bengali style curry made with raw papaya, potatoes, and red lentil fritters (masoor dal vada/bora). This amazingly delicious traditional curry is made with chunks of papaya that are cooked in whole and powdered spices. The uniqueness of this dish comes from the small red lentils fritters, called masoor daler bora in Bengali. Masoor dal is soaked, ground, and fried to make small fritters. These fritters are added to the curry which soaks up all the flavour from the spices.
There are two main steps of making this dish - first making the masoor dal vada and next, making the curry itself. You may make and store the vada, and save time while making the curry. These vadas can also be replaced with "bori" which are dried lentil dumplings or you may skip it altogether. Of course, the curry will not taste as good as it does with the freshly made vada. This flavourful curry pairs very well with both rice and roti/chapati.
Read on for ingredients, how to prepare the papaya, measurements and tips for making this delicious curry.
Green Papaya: Use firm bright green papaya. Read below to see how to select and prepare the papaya.
Potatoes: Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into medium-sized cubes.
Masoor Dal: Masoor dal or red lentils are used to make small vada (fritters) which are added to the curry.
Onions: Onions are used in two ways - sliced onions for the curry and chopped onions for the masoor dal vada.
Spices: The whole spices I use are cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, and dried chilli. The powdered spices I use are cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and garam masala.
How to choose and prepare the green papaya
Green papaya is nothing but raw papaya which is used mostly in savoury dishes. Green papaya is firm with white flesh unlike the ripe ones (which are orange and have soft flesh). Select green papaya that has bright green skin. The skin should be smooth without any spots and have a uniform green colour throughout. If there are yellow or orange patches on the skin, it means that papaya has begun to ripen and may not be suitable to make this dish. If you plan not to use the green papaya immediately after buying it, store it in the refrigerator to avoid ripening it.
To prepare the papaya for this dish, wash and peel the skin. Remove the crown. Cut it into half lengthwise and remove all the seeds. Then, cut the halves into quarter and remove the white portion in the center. Cut the papaya into medium-sized cubes. Boil water in a large pan and add the papaya cubes. Parboil it for 4-5 minutes. Drain the water and use in the curry.
The papaya I used weighed approximately 800 grams and I got just over 650 grams of cubed papaya. The measurements I have used in this recipe are according to this.
Tips for making perfect green papaya curry
It is imporant to parboil the papaya and discard the water. This will help remove any bitterness that it may contain. Do not skip this step.
Making masoor dal vada is optional. You may replace it with "bori" (which is dried lentil dumplings) or skip it altogether.
Grind the masoor dal with very little water. We want a very thick batter to make the vada. If the batter is thin, the vadas will not hold shape and it will soak up a lot of oil.
After adding the masoor dal vada, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. This way, the spices will be absorbed in the vada. If you don't simmer the vada, they will remain dry.
Add a little water after adding powdered spices. Else, the spices will burn and make the curry taste bitter.
Pro-tip: Make a large batch of masoor dal vada and store them in the freezer. This way, you can save time while making the papaya curry.
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This dish is:
- vegan and gluten-free
- unique and very different from regular curries
- stays fresh in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and can be frozen
Step by step instructions
1. Grind soaked masoor dal and green chilli with very little water
2. Add finely chopped onion and salt. Mix well
3. Deep fry masoor dal vada and set aside
4. Parboil the papaya. Drain the water and set it aside
5. Heat oil and add cumin seeds, dry red chilli, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Saute for a few seconds
6. Add onion and potatoes. Fry until the onions are golden
7. Add ginger and saute for a few seconds
8. Add cumin powder, chilli powder, and turmeric. Also, add ¼ cup water and cook until the spices are done
9. Add the parboiled papaya. Fry for 2-3 minutes
10. Add 3 cups water and bring it to boil
11. Cover and simmer until the papaya and potatoes are completely cooked
12. Add the masoor dal vada and simmer for 2-3 minutes
13. Add garam masala and mix well
Green Papaya Curry | Peper Dalna
For the curry
- 1 medium raw papaya
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 dry red chilli
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 small stick cinnamon
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 2-3 medium potatoes cut into cubes
- ½ inch ginger grated (or 1 tsp ginger paste)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp garam masala
For masoor dal vada
- ½ cup masoor dal (red lentil)
- 2 green chilli
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
To make masoor dal vada
- Soak masoor dal in water for one hour
- Once the dal is soaked, drain all the water and rinse in fresh water
- To this, add green chilli and grind it into a paste with very little water
- Transfer into a bowl and add finely chopped onion and salt
- Heat oil for deep frying
- Take small portion of the batter (approximately 2 tbsp) and carefully drop into oil. Add 5-6 vadas in one batch
- Fry until all the sides are golden
- Repeat with rest of batter and fry in batches
- Set aside
To make the papaya curry
- Wash and peel the raw papaya. Cut them into cubes
- Boil water in a large saucepan and add papaya
- Boil for 4-5 minutes
- Drain the water and set aside
- Heat oil in a frying pan or kadhai
- Add cumin seeds, dry red chilli, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Saute for a few seconds
- Add onion and potatoes. Fry until the onions are golden
- Add ginger and saute for a few seconds
- Add cumin powder, chilli powder, and turmeric. Add ¼ cup water and mix well
- Cover and cook until the spices are completely cooked and the oil begins to release
- Add the parboiled papaya. Fry for 2-3 minutes
- Add 3 cups water and bring it to boil
- Cover and simmer until the papaya and potatoes are completely cooked
- Add the masoor dal vada and mix well
- Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes
- Add garam masala and mix well
- Serve hot