Spiced Roasted Papaya

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min

Spiced Roasted Papaya

Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min

About This Recipe

Cut papaya is a breakfast-table staple in India. Growing up, we’d always buy two for the week: one ripe fruit and another that would ripen in newspaper over the next few days. As a kid, I loved unwrapping it to check the ripeness every morning — and in the process learning how to pick a good piece of fruit, and know when it was ready to eat.

Besides its striking color, seductive aroma and luscious texture, papaya has fantastic nutritional properties. I make roasted papaya for a light and easy, cleansing breakfast. I add spices that complement the tropical flavors, and serve it with chilled yogurt for an extra dose of probiotics. 

The Benefits

Papayas contain the enzyme papain, which is often used as a meat tenderizer. Papain aids with digestion as well as reducing pain, swelling and inflammation. Papayas also contain lycopene, good for skin health; carotenoids, which benefit immunity and eyesight (as does the vitamin A content); and finally potassium and fiber for cardiovascular and digestive health respectively. Star anise is a potent spice with antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds like gallic acid and quercetin. Protein-rich Greek yoghurt is great for energy, metabolism, stronger bones, gut health, and healthy vision.

Note: To make a bonus Papaya Seed Pepper, wash the gelatinous pulp off the seeds, and spread them on an oven tray. Dry them out at a 120°Celsius for about two hours, until they are dehydrated. You can add them to a grinder and add some floral, herbal pungency to your food.


Serves 2 to 4
  • 1 medium (450-660 g) ripe papaya
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder, optional
  • 3 to 4 pieces star anise
  • 10 fresh tulsi (holy basil) leaves
  • 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp local honey, optional
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt to serve, optional


  1. Step 1
    Preheat the oven to 390°F/ 200°C. Use both top and bottom heating elements or convection if your oven allows.
  2. Step 2
    Cut the papaya vertically into two halves and place them on a baking tray. You can scoop out the seeds to compost, make Papaya Seed Pepper, or leave them in the fruit.
  3. Step 3
    Sprinkle each papaya half with a pinch of cinnamon powder, a few pieces of star anise and tulsi leaves. Drizzle coconut oil over the papaya halves and gently rub it into the cut surface.
  4. Step 4
    Slide the tray into the middle rack and roast the papaya for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the pieces are golden and a bit charred before taking them out. Broil for the last five minutes if you prefer it more charred.
  5. Step 5
    Serve the warm papaya halves with dollops of chilled yogurt and a drizzle of honey, if using.

Substitutions: : Use 1 tsp dried tulsi leaves, or any fresh basil variety in place of tulsi.

Level Up: Make your own Homemade Dahi & Yogurt or thick hung curd. Sprinkle with a grind of Papaya Seed Pepper (see Note).

Try It With: Aparajita Nice Cream for a colorful, healthy, tropical dessert.