This is an everyday kind of dish in Bengali homes and I finally got it right. Green papayas (pepe in Bengali)are available year round in most grocery stores. Just poke a a little under the skin of the one you like. If it oozes out a milky white substance its fresh or else keep looking.
Green Papaya - 1 medium sized
Kala Chana or Whole Bengal Gram - 1/2 cup, soaked overnight
Tomato - 1 small, chopped
Ginger - 1.5 inch piece
Green Chillies - 3, slit and deseeded
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2tsp
Cumin, whole - 1.5 tsp
Bay Leaves - 2
Salt - to taste
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsps
For Garam Masala
Cinnamon - a 1' flake from a whole stick
Cloves - 3
Cardamom - 3
1. Peel , de-seed and dice the green papaya into half inch pieces.
2. With a mortar and pestle, pound the ginger to a paste along with the cumin and coriander powders.
3. Heat oil in a pan and fry the papaya pieces for about 5 minutes. Remove papaya pieces and add cumin seeds and bay leaves to the remaining oil.
4. Once the seed starts to splutter, add the ginger, cumin and coriander paste and turmeric powder. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
5. Add the chopped tomato and cook till the oil separates. Finally add the papaya pieces and the whole Bengal gram. Season with salt and green chillies. Add a cup of water and let it cook till the papaya is tender. I prefer a drier dish (which is not the norm) but if you would rather have some gravy add more water accordingly.
6. In a clean coffee grinder whiz the garam masala ingredients to a fine powder. Once the papaya is cooked add garam masala and garnish with chopped cilantro.
For added taste, you can heat the powdered garam masala in a dollop of ghee and add to the cooked papaya.