Papaya halwa is a delicious Indian dessert made with ripe or raw papaya, sugar, ghee, nuts and raisins. It has a very mild, slightly tangy and light taste. So it is best to serve as a after meal delight. This halwa can be prepared with raw, semi ripe or fully ripe papaya. But the taste of the halwa made with raw papaya is very different from the one made with ripe papaya.
In India we make halwa with a lot of things like vegetables, fruits, flour and even with nuts. Carrot halwa, atta halwa, suji halwa, moong dal halwa and badam halwa are some of the most popular varieties. Papaya halwa is not so common but you will get to see this made in many South Indian homes, especially those growing papaya in their backyard.
My mom would make this on occasions with both ripe and raw papaya. During my trip to India I got to shoot these pictures while my mom made it for us. This papaya was from our backyard in India which was a huge one almost weighing 1. 5 kgs. It is a sweeter variety and I left it to ripe fully for a day. So I did not have to use much sugar.
Halwa made with raw papaya infact needs lot more sugar. So this time we thought of using the ripe one as it requires lesser sweetener. This is a low calorie dessert and can also be made without ghee. But ghee is the key ingredient in any halwa so use it unless you are on a low fat diet.
To make this papaya halwa, papaya can be grated or puréed . If you have a food processor, grating becomes easier otherwise chopping and then pureeing the papaya is suggested.
Using milk or milk products for this halwa may not be a good option as papaya may not be compatible with milk. If you want to make it a heavier dessert, you can add more nut meal while cooking the halwa.
How to make papaya halwa
1. Rinse papaya well and grate it either in a food processer or using a hand grater. I got about 5 cups of papaya gratings. If you have lesser gratings then reduce all the ingredients in the recipe proportionately.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee and fry nuts until golden. Remove them to a plate and add raisins if using. Fry until they turn plump. Remove them as well.
3. Add grated papaya & saute until it begins to release juices. If you are using raw papaya, saute for 2 to 3 minutes and then cook covered on a low heat until tender and soft.
4. Skip this step if using raw papaya. You can use 2 to 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, or 2 tsps rice flour or 2 tablespoons almond meal. Add it in batches so the dry ingredients don’t turn lumpy. Mix and continue to cook.
5. When the papaya turns tender, add cardamom powder and sugar. I added about 4 tablespoons.
6. Continue to cook until the papaya halwa becomes thick. Taste test and add more sugar if required. You may add 1 tablespoon more ghee at this stage.
Papaya halwa is best served at warm or room temperature or cold. Let it cool down and garnish with nuts and raisins.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 5 cups papaya grated (ripe or raw)
- 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut or almond flour or 2 tsps rice flour
- ¼ cup sugar (adjust to taste)
- 4 to 6 green cardamom powdered or ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ¼ cup cashews or almonds, chopped
- 2 tbsps mixed dry fruits chopped raisins, figs, apricots. (optional)
- 2 to 3 tbsps ghee or unsalted butter
- Wash papaya and peel the skin.
- Grate it in a food processor or using a hand grater.
- Heat a pan with ghee. Add chopped almonds or cashews and fry till they turn slightly golden. Transfer to a plate. Add raisins if using, fry until they swell up. Remove them to a plate.
- Add grated papaya and begin to cook. It begins to release juices.
- Sprinkle desiccated coconut or flour, ½ tsp at one time and mix well to prevent lumps. Repeat till the entire flour is used up. Cook till the juices almost evaporate. Flour is used to absorb the juices, else the cooking time will be more.
- Add sugar, cardamom powder and mix well. I powdered cardamom along with little sugar. Check the sweetness. If needed add more.
- Cook stirring occasionally till the sugar blends well with the papaya.
- Turn off the stove when the papaya halwa turns thick. Garnish with nuts & raisins.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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