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Papaya Shake Shake Shake

January 26, 2016

papaya shake

If you have never been to Thailand or Vietnam, you haven’t really tried a decent papaya. Many a papaya-loathing person will be converted after trying its Asian counterpart. I am one of them!

Originally from southern Mexico, there are two kinds of papayas commonly grown in Australia; “red papaya” which are sweet and fragrant and “yellow pawpaw” which are not so sweet and I find a bit turpentine-y. Either kind, picked green, is called a “green papaya”. Unfortunately, most cultivars are genetically engineered as they are susceptible to viral infections and mould spot which significantly alters the taste.

Papaya contains lots of vitamin C and pectin, and a variety of phytochemicals, including carotenoids and polyphenols. The green unripe fruit is high in papain, a protease used for tenderising meat and other proteins. Its ability to break down tough meat fibres has been used for thousands of years and is now included as a component in powdered meat tenderisers and digestive enzyme formulas.

I love eating the red ripe fruit sprinkled with a little lime juice and I have used the unripe green fruit raw in salads or cooked in curries. Whilst I have used banana flower buds in cooking I have not tried papaya flower buds which are widely used in Indonesia, stir-fried or stewed. Even though I usually discard the black seeds, I know that they are edible and have a sharp, somewhat bitter taste. You can dry them and grind them as a substitute for black pepper. If you have a tree, you can eat the young leaves, steamed like spinach.

This smoothie recipe is a treat for me. As most of my smoothies are vegetable based, I make an exception with this one as it reminds me of the refreshing ‘shakes’ you get in Thailand. It’s wonderful on a hot day and fills you up.

½ – 1 cup diced red papaya

½ cucumber

¼ apple

1 teas chia seeds

1 tab protein powder

a couple of macadamias or other nuts

½ – 1 cup of water, depending on the thickness of the smoothie

dash vanilla powder

ice

Blend on high-speed until smooth. Serve really cold on ice.

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