This is really nothing but an Avial made with papaya. The “Kootan” signifies that this dish has a gravy and is to be served as a main accompaniment along with rice.
An “Aviyal” is a popular preparation from Kerala where a medley of vegetables such as elavan (ashgourd), raw plantain, elephant yam, drumstick (not from chicken, but a vegetable), egg plant, etc. are cooked together with a spiced coconut paste and yogurt.
I don’t like raw plantain or elephant yam so I sometimes make an Aviyal using carrots, cabbage, french beans, potato, and green peas. I love my version but I guess no true Malayali (a person from Kerala) would recognize it as an Aviyal.
This is another version of the traditional Aviyal and unusual in that it is made only with papaya and no other vegetable. Avial is a dry vegetable preparation with no gravy. My version has been adapted to be made with a gravy and hence the “Kootan” after the Avial in the title.
The Avial Kootan (in traditional vegetable variation) is a staple in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. Using a papaya that is in the very early stages of ripening gives an interesting taste to the Aviyal. A papaya at this stage would still be deep green on the outside but with very faint and small patches of whitish-yellowness. When cut the inside would have a faint pinkish tinge. I have a couple of papaya trees next door and could choose the one I wanted!
Papaya Avial Kootan - Raw Papaya in a Coconut Gravy
- 1 papaya small raw (just beginning to ripen)
- 1 cup yogurt slightly sour thick
- xbc tsp turmeric powder
- xbd coconut a small , grated
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 - 3 green chillies (or according to taste)
- to taste salt
- 2 tbsps coconut oil
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- Grind the coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies into a fine paste. Keep aside. Whisk the yogurt till smooth and keep aside.
- Peel the papaya, remove seeds and cut into pieces about 1 xbd inches in length (like we cut potatoes for finger chips).
- Cook the papaya with turmeric powder and salt and half a cup water till soft but firm. I cook the papaya in the microwave (without turmeric powder or salt) at 100% for about 8 minutes. Then I put the papaya into a pan with xbe cup of water, curry leaves, salt and turmeric powder.
- When this comes to a boil, add the coconut paste and mix well. Turn down the heat and add the yogurt. Mix well. When the mixture just starts to boil, take off the heat. Pour the coconut oil and stir. Cover.
- Serve hot with rice, pappads and pickle.