Sunday, February 21, 2010
However, even in the tropics, these fruits are sometimes eaten in their immature state. Those complexly-spiced Indian pickles and chutneys are made with green mangoes, not ripe ones. And one of my very favorite Thai delicacies, som tam salad, is made from shredded green papayas. Brazil also makes use of green fruits, and this marvelous recipe from Brazil's state of Minas Gerais, Pork Ribs with Green Papaya (Costelinha com Mamão Verde) is an excellent example.
So, when you are faced with a pile of green papayas at your local Safeway, IGA, Tesco or Carrefour, don't bemoan their unripe state - plan to use them to create this uncomplicated but delectable dish from Brazil.
RECIPE - Pork Ribs with Green Papaya
2 medium to large green papayas - about 2 lbs (1 kg.)
1/4 tsp. baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp. cachaça (tequila can be substituted)
4 lbs. baby pork ribs (2 kgs), separated if purchased as racks
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped green onion (green part only)
1 bay leaf
Peel the papayas with a potato peeler, cut in half, remove the white seeds, then cut the flesh into 1/2 inch (1 cm.) cubes. Put the papaya in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and stir in the baking soda to dissolve. Reserve.
Bring 2 cups water to the boil in large saucepan. Add the lime juice and cachaça, then add the pork ribs. Immediately remove from heat, and stir to ensure that the all the meat has been turned in the marinating mixture. Reserve.
In another large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic, onion, and paprika. Cook, stirring, until the onion is transparent but not browned. Remove the pork ribs from the marinading mixture, reserving the mixture, and brown the ribs well in the pan. When they are brown, add approximately 1/4 cup of the marinating mixture, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and let "sweat", adding more marinating mixture as required to avoid drying out the pork, until the ribs are cooked through and tender, approximately 30 minutes.
Bring 8 cups (2 liters) of water to the boil in a pan or kettle. Drain the papaya cubes in a colander. Rinse with fresh water. Slowly pour the boiling water from the kettle or pan over the papaya, then let it drain once again. Rinse once more with fresh water and let drain one final time. Add the papaya cubes to the pork mixture, and cook over medium heat until the papaya is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in heated serving bowl, and serve immediately.
Serve with sauteed greens (kale, spinach, escarole) and soft polenta.
(Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brazileira by Abril Editora.)