Raw Papaya Thoran: A Ordinarily Kerala Style Delicious Stir Fry
Image Credit: Image credit: Shutterstock| Raw papaya curry

Though famous for its scenic palm roads and known as the land of spices, the coastal land of Kerala oozes rich traditional cuisine that is unique to its waters. From its platter of traditional vegetarian meals called Sadya, comprising a variety of dishes and rice, emerges the Thoran. A dry stir-fried vegetable made with spices and coconut. And when added raw papaya to this spice mix, Omakka Thoran, it provides the body with fiber and local spices. However, one thing has to be remembered that when it comes to discussing or appreciating food from the coastal region, the main ingredient coconut always remains in the picture. 

Image credit: Shutterstock

Locally called Thoran or Upperi in Northern Kerala, it is a customary dry vegetable dish that is part of big festivals such as Onam and Vishu. Well, if the age-old history of the Kerala food culture was to be unearthed, Thoran dates back to over 6,000 years. A Thoran was made of ripe jackfruit and has always been a thing in Malayali households.

At that time, the dish was prepared specifically for people who had survived heat strokes. And the jackfruit Thoran was prepared and fed to the person in order to help prevent any possibility of future attacks.

Over the years, as merchants travelled to the country they brought with them new seeds and flavours. During the late 16th century from the Philippines through Malaysia papaya was introduced to the coastal regions of India. With the invention of papaya which started to grow over time in the backyards was brought to use in the kitchen by the ladies.

While jackfruit was always the main ingredient in the making of Thoran, after noting the various health benefits of raw papaya it was used instead of the jackfruit. Thereafter, various other local vegetables were put into use.    

Raw papaya is one of them, which is grated and is often confused with cabbage. Locally known as Omakka Thoran or Kappalanga Thoran, is easy to make dish often accompanied by steamed rice.


1 grated raw Papaya – 1 nos

½ cup beans (any kind of beans)

5 baby Onions

3-4 Garlic cloves

2 Green chillies

2 dry Red chillies

1 cup grated Coconut

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Cumin seed

1 tsp Urad dal

1 tsp Mustard seeds

7-8 Curry leaves

2 tbsp Oil



In a pan add water and keep the beans to boil. Cook them until they are soft, drain the water, and keep them aside.

Make a paste of green chilli, cumin seeds, garlic, grated coconut, turmeric powder, and curry leaves. Keep it aside.

On medium heat, pour oil into the pan. Add urad dal and mustard seed s. Cook until they crackle and then add dry red chillies, chopped onions, and curry leaves.

Sauté well, add papaya and mix. To this add the paste, and mix again. Cover it and cook for about 5 minutes.

Then add the beans, mix and cook for another 4 minutes.

Add salt, mix and remove from heat. Serve.

Unique to its region, Omakka Thoran is a must-try dish. Considering that raw papaya is a powerhouse of fiber and vitamin, with the goodness of coconut this regional dish is worth millions. While the taste factor remains, it aids in digestion keeping the stomach happy.