Friday, February 17, 2012

Esi Fafao - Stuffed Papayas

To be honest, this recipe almost didn't make it to the blog. After hollowing out the papaya, I thought, "Stuff the blog. I'm just going to eat this papaya right here, right now." But thanks to my incredible powers of self-control, I managed to get these into the oven and even hold off eating them until I had taken the photos. 

Which is a lie. 
I ate one papaya, and stuffed the other.
Pfft! You wouldn't have known.

Now, you can make this with green papaya, but I like the taste of almost ripe papaya better. It adds a sweetness to the dish, much like pumpkin or carrots. 

Serve this hot out of the oven with rice and a salad. 

Esi Fafao (serves 4)
2 papaya
1 small onion
1 red pepper
4 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon oil
½ pound (250 grams) ground beef
1 cup grated cheese 
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
2 tomatoes
salt and pepper
extra grated cheese for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F(180°C).

Halve the papayas. Spoon out the seeds and discard. Scoop out some papaya flesh and put that aside (it will be added to the meat mixture). Be sure to leave enough flesh all around the inside of the skin to hold the filling. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet (use foil wedges to keep them from rolling around, if necessary).

Dice the onion and pepper. Finely chop the garlic, and roughly chop the parsley and basil. 

Heat the oil in a frypan and brown the beef. Drain off the fat, then return to the heat, adding the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook until fragrant then turn the heat off. Cool slightly, then throw in the rest of the ingredients, including the reserved papaya flesh. Season the mixture to taste. 

Divide evenly between the papaya shells, top with a little more grated cheese if desired, and bake for 50-60 minutes. 


  1. WOW! o se taimi muamua lea ua vaai ai ua fafao se esi lol.. very creative and it looks delicious! Love your blog it always makes me wanna go back to Samoa :( keep them coming ^_^ pau a le recipe lea e misi i lau blog ole koko araise.. I LOVE koko araisa.. i know its easy to make but still..some people out there might not :)

    1. Talofa imafob, thanks for your comment. The koko alaisa recipe is on the recipe page (or check out Novema 2010) and there is also video. Please keep up your Faiaai blog. I really enjoy it!

  2. I'm saving this in the event that one day a miracle (and I do believe in miracles) will happen where the papayas that ship in from Chile will actually have some taste to them. Or...I could just cheat and use the ones preserved in syrup for the filling and simply use the shells as cooking vessels. The last pic is what did it for me.

    1. Aloha Rowena. Mine came in from the Philippines and were just perfect. Other things I've stuffed (foodwise) are capsicums, tomatoes and squash, so you could also try those but so far, my fave is this one.

  3. So much creativity -- looks absolutely delicious, I'm definitely going to try this in the weekend. Thanks so much for the very awesome posts, I absolutely LOVE checking out the yummy recipes on here.

  4. could you substitute seafood or a vegetable instead of beef? This looks great! I was just wondering for my friends/family who don't eat meat.

  5. I just joined this blog. I am german and my wife is Samoan. We love food, and this website makes me want to go to Samoa asap. Thank you!

  6. Yum! I want to go to Samoa right now. I am german and my wife is Samoan.