Deutsch: Papaya (Hilaw) / Español: Papaya (Verde) / Português: Papaia (Verde) / Français: Papaye (Verte) / Italiano: Papaya (Verde)

Papaya (Hilaw) refers to the unripe, green papaya fruit commonly used in various culinary applications across Southeast Asia and parts of Latin America. Unlike its ripe counterpart, which is sweet and typically eaten fresh, green papaya has a firm texture and a mild, almost neutral flavor, making it an excellent ingredient in salads, stews, and as a meat tenderizer due to its natural enzyme, papain.


Green papaya is a versatile ingredient celebrated in many cuisines for its ability to absorb flavors and add a crisp texture to dishes. It's particularly prominent in Filipino cuisine, where it's used in traditional dishes such as "Atchara" (a pickled papaya salad) and "Tinola" (a chicken soup). The use of green papaya showcases the resourcefulness of using fruits at different stages of ripeness to diversify flavor profiles and textures in cooking.

Application Areas

In the culinary world, green papaya is most commonly found in salads, like the famous Thai "Som Tam," and in cooked dishes where it contributes texture and acts as a vegetable. Its ability to tenderize meat also makes it a popular choice for marinades. Beyond the kitchen, the enzyme papain found in green papaya is used in the food industry to tenderize meat before cooking.

Well-Known Examples

Atchara is a well-known Filipino dish that features green papaya as its main ingredient, marinated in vinegar and spices to create a sweet and tangy condiment. Som Tam, a spicy Thai salad, is another iconic dish that highlights the crisp texture and the flavor-absorbing quality of green papaya, mixed with chilies, lime juice, fish sauce, and other ingredients to create a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty tastes.

Treatment and Risks

Green papaya is generally considered healthy, providing dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, pregnant women are often advised to avoid it in large quantities due to the presence of latex, which can stimulate contractions. Furthermore, individuals with latex allergies should be cautious, as the enzyme papain might trigger allergic reactions.


Simple Green Papaya Salad Recipe:


  • 1 medium green papaya, peeled and shredded
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 chilies, sliced (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded green papaya and julienned carrots.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chilies until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Pour the dressing over the papaya and carrots, tossing well to combine.
  4. Garnish with crushed peanuts and fresh cilantro.
  5. Serve immediately for the freshest taste.

Similar Terms or Synonyms

In culinary contexts, green papaya may be referred to as "unripe papaya," "raw papaya," or by its local names in various languages. It's distinguished from ripe papaya, which is often referred to simply as "papaya" and is known for its orange flesh and sweet flavor.


Green papaya (Hilaw) is a staple in many tropical cuisines, valued for its crisp texture and versatility in dishes ranging from salads to stews. Whether used as a vegetable, a natural meat tenderizer, or a carrier of flavors in a salad, green papaya embodies the innovation and resourcefulness of culinary traditions around the world. Its use in dishes like Atchara and Som Tam showcases the global appreciation for this unripe fruit, making it a beloved ingredient in both traditional and modern recipes.


Related Articles

Kamansi ■■■■■■■■■
Kamansi, also known as breadnut or seeds of the Maya breadnut tree, is a tropical fruit closely related . . . Read More
Achar ■■■■■■■■
Achar is a term used to describe a variety of pickled foods, prevalent in the cuisines of the Indian . . . Read More
Cherimoya ■■■■■■■■
Cherimoya is a tropical fruit known for its delicate, creamy texture and a flavor that combines the tastes . . . Read More
Saging na Saba (Hinog) ■■■■■■■■
Saging na Saba (Hinog) refers to the ripe version of the Saba banana, a type of cooking banana that is . . . Read More
Persimmon ■■■■■■■
Persimmon is a type of fruit that comes from trees belonging to the genus Diospyros. Known for their . . . Read More
Caprese Salad ■■■■■■■
Caprese Salad is a simple Italian dish that showcases the fresh flavors of its core ingredients: ripe . . . Read More
Grouper ■■■■■■■
Grouper refers to a variety of fish species that are part of the subfamily Epinephelinae. Groupers are . . . Read More
Crouton ■■■■■■
A crouton is a piece of toasted or fried bread, normally cubed and seasoned. Croutons are used to add . . . Read More
Tamarindo ■■■■■■
Tamarindo refers to the fruit of the Tamarindus indica tree, native to Africa but widely cultivated in . . . Read More
Breadfruit ■■■■■■
Indian: Kada Chakka, Cheema ChakkaBreadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is a species of flowering tree in the . . . Read More