Bengali Khofol and Esa Bazee-Unripe Papaya and Shrimp Stir Fry

One of my favorite things that my mom makes is khofol and Esa. When cooked. Unripened papaya turns sweet and translucent, and shrimp is the perfect accompaniment for it! This Bengali dish is spicy and lightly (naturally) sweet and savory-and goes perfectly with some fluffy white rice!

Khofol and Esa Bazee

The recipe itself is very simple. It’s made with onion, salt, turmeric, Thai chili, papaya, and shrimp. That’s it! The simple ingredients helps each flavor shine on its own and together. It also cooks very quickly, since neither the shrimp nor the papaya takes very long to get tender.

To make khofol bazee start by cutting up an onion thinly into small pieces. Heat a pot on medium low heat and add olive oil and the sliced onions. Season with salt to hell draw out moisture from the onions and cook it down even more. Cover and cook until caramelized-about 15 minutes.

Once the onions are ready, add a little turmeric and a couple of Thai chilis with a slice down the middle. This will keep the chilis intact while imparting some of the spice and flavor. Cook for a few more minutes to toast the spice, then add cleaned shrimp. I like to keep the tails on for even more flavor! Mix to combine, then cover and cook gently.

In the meantime prepare the green unripened papaya. Cut off the top and bottom end of the papaya, then with a peeled or knife peel off the skin. Cut the papaya in half and use a spoon to remove all the seeds. The papaya should be firm and white on the inside. Slice the papaya into 1/4 inch slices. Then slice again to make matchsticks.

Add the papaya to the shrimp and onions and mix. Cover and lower the heat. Cook, mixing only once or twice, until the papaya is completely tender. Be careful not to mix too much or be too rough or the papaya will break apart and turn to mush!

Remove the pot from the heat and top the bazee with freshly topped cilantro.

Enjoy with a plate of fluffy white rice!


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced down the middle
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on (optional)
  • 1 unripened papaya, sliced into matchsticks
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish


1. Heat oil in a pot over medium low heat. Add onions and salt. Cover and cook until lightly caramelized

2. Add turmeric and Thai chili. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding shrimp. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes

3. Add in cut papaya and mix gently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the papaya is tender

4. Garnish with chopped cilantro and enjoy with fluffy white rice

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