Kancha Pepe or Raw Papaya is probably one of the most underestimate vegetable in any Bengali kitchen. We often remember it when someone is unwell in the house and the preparation is rather tremendously boring. Growing up, a runny curry with raw papaya and potato is a must have in when anyone suffer from stomach upset and thus papaya got the name as ‘rugir khawa’ (something a patient eats).
Though considered as boring, exploring papaya’s yummy side is pretty interesting. I quite like raw papaya and often cook it with chicken or mutton. I also have a very interesting recipe of raw papaya with chicken called Papaya Chicken on my blog. But, rather than pairing it up with a non-veg ingredient, raw papaya can also be cooked in absolutely vegetarian style. Pure vegetarian Peper Ghonto is a very popular Bengali dish and it’s delicious. But, nothing can match Maa‘s recipe of Kancha Pepe Bharta. Absolutely healthy, utterly delicious and super easy to make, this dish is Maa‘s speciality and yes, it is vegan too.
Maa cooks Kancha Pepe Bharta with minimum ingredients and the outcome is always heavenly. I learned this dish from Maa and do quite justice to the dish whenever I make it at home. My totally non-veg lover husband is also a big fan of this dish. Big reason for me making it often 🙂 Here’s the recipe for you all.
- 2 small sized raw papaya
- 4 green chillies, roughly chopped
- 2 dry red chillies
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick (1 inch approx)
- 4 green cardamom, crushed
- 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 3 table-spoon mustard oil
- salt, according to taste
- Peel and cut the papaya into half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds (if any). Cut the papaya into medium sized cubes.
- Pressure cook the papaya cubes for two whistles. Turn off the flame and let the pressure cool down completely.
- Take out the boiled papaya cubes in a bowl and discard the water.
- With a masher or with your spatula, mash the boiled papaya cubes. Make sure to mash every bit of it properly. Keep the bowl aside.
- Heat oil in a pan and temper with dry red chillies, bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom. Allow them to splutter.
- Add green chillies and stir for few seconds.
- Now, add the mashed papaya, salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix properly, lower the flame and cover the lid. Cook for 5 minutes like this.
- Open the lid and you will see that the papaya has started releasing water. Over low to medium flame stir and cook the papaya until the water gets evaporated and you are left with a thick consistency.
- Turn the flame off and your Kancha Pepe Bharta is ready to be served now.
Serve hot with piping hot rice. Sprinkle a dash off ghee and crush a green chilli – it tastes heavenly. Remember, ghee is completely optional and if you are a vegan, you can happily skip ghee.
Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.