Papaya Erissery: A delicious vegan curry

Try this Papaya Errisery, a delicious vegan curry cooked in a spicy coconut gravy

Papaya Erissery

Papaya is considered a healthful fruit.

According to Medical News Today’s website, “the health benefits of consuming papaya include a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, aiding in digestion, improving blood glucose control in people with diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and improving wound healing.”

But many people don’t like the smell of this fruit and therefore avoid it. For them and for others who love experimenting, here is an interesting way to consume papaya: in a spicy coconut gravy. The delicious vegan papaya curry cooked in a spicy coconut gravy goes well with both rice as well as rotis (Indian flatbread).

Papaya Erissery: A delicious vegan curry

Serves 3 – 4


  • 1½ cups papaya, thinly sliced to 1” long pieces
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt

To grind

  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 – 2 green chillies
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

To temper

  • 1 tbsp oil, preferably coconut oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 whole dried red chillies
  • 5 – 6 curry leaves
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut

Preparation method

  1. Cook the papaya with water, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt in a pan till the  slices are soft and you are able to mash them with a spoon. You can also pressure cook them for one whistle, allowing the steam to be released naturally. Set this aside.
  2. Grind the ingredients listed under ‘to grind’ to a semi-smooth paste. Add this to the cooked papaya. Gently heat this mixture for 3 – 4 minutes till the coconut gravy gets cooked. Lightly mash any big pieces of papaya with the back of your stirring spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from flame and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the oil for tempering. Add mustard seeds, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Once they crackle, add the shallots and fry till golden. Add this tempering to the papaya curry.
  4. Return the saucepan to the stove and tip in the coconut. Gently toast the coconut on a medium-low flame till golden brown. Add this to the papaya curry as well. For best results, keep the papaya erissery covered for 30 minutes before serving to develop the flavours. Serve with rice or rotis.


This is a spin-off of the more traditional pumpkin erissery from Kerala. For this recipe select a papaya that is only slightly ripe or just beginning to ripe.

This recipe was originally published in the February 2016 issue of Complete Wellbeing (print edition).

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Anjana Devasahayam
Anjana Devasahayam is an engineer turned recipe developer, food stylist and photographer for her blog. She shares wholesome, delicious recipes; be it family heirlooms, classic recipes from around the world or her own inventions to feed her family of three.


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