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Photo of Pepe Dolma (Baby Green Papayas Stuffed with Fish in a Fragrant Milk Curry) by Maumita Paul Ghosh at BetterButter

Pepe Dolma (Baby Green Papayas Stuffed with Fish in a Fragrant Milk Curry)

Maumita Paul Ghosh
15 minutes
Prep Time
40 minutes
Cook Time
5 People
Read Instructions Save For Later

ABOUT Pepe Dolma (Baby Green Papayas Stuffed with Fish in a Fragrant Milk Curry) RECIPE

Baby green papayas. A tear-jerking spicy bhetki stuffing. A delicately balanced milk sauce.

Recipe Tags

  • Non-veg
  • Medium
  • Dinner Party
  • West Bengal
  • Simmering
  • Pressure Cook
  • Main Dish
  • Healthy

Ingredients Serving: 5

  1. 5-6 bhetki or sea bass steaks
  2. 1 onion quartered
  3. 2-3 big onion finely chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic smashed
  5. 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  6. 3 tbsp tomato puree
  7. 2-3 green chillies finely chopped
  8. 1-2 Bay leaves
  9. 1 one inch cinnamon stick
  10. 2-3 green cardamom
  11. 2-3 baby green papaya
  12. 2-3 big onion finely chopped
  13. 1/2 tbsp ginger freshly grated
  14. 2 tsp green chilli paste
  15. 1 tbsp black pepper corns
  16. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  17. 2 cup milk
  18. 1/2 tbsp black pepper powder
  19. pinch of garam masala powder
  20. 1 tsp ghee
  21. 2 tbsp oil
  22. salt to taste


  1. For the stuffing:
  2. Add the fish steaks, onion quarters, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, crushed green cardamom, cinnamon, a generous sprinkle of salt and a cup of water to a pressure cooker.
  3. Cook over a high flame for one whistle. Allow to cool down on its own.
  4. Carefully de-bone the fish steaks, mash the fish. Keep aside.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the chopped onions and garlic, fry till a gorgeous golden. Add the tomato puree, chopped green chillies and a sprinkle of salt, saute till the tomatoes are cooked and the raw smell of tomatoes is no longer there.
  6. Add the mashed fish, cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature, keep aside.
  8. For the Dolma:
  9. Shave the papayas using a kitchen peeler, chop the head, about half an inch or so, as shown in the picture. Do not discard the head.
  10. Gently scoop out the insides of the papaya using a spoon.
  11. Soak the papayas in hot water with a little salt, for 20-25 odd minutes. Drain the water, pat dry.
  12. Now gently fill the papayas with the fish stuffing, place the heads back. Secure with toothpicks. Keep aside.
  13. Take a pressure cooker and place the stand within. Carefully place the stuffed papayas on the stand. Add just enough water to touch the papayas. Cook over a high flame for two whistles.
  14. Allow to cool down on its own. (Check with a skewer if the papaya is cooked perfectly. The skewer should easily go through the papaya if it is done. If not, one more whistle in the pressure cooker or till done to perfection.)
  15. Remove from the cooker, keep aside.
  16. For the gravy:
  17. Heat oil in a pan, when smoking hot, throw in the black pepper corns and cumin seeds, allow to splutter.
  18. Add the onions, fry till translucent. Add the grated ginger and green chili paste. Saute for a further 3-4 minutes.
  19. Take off the heat, allow to cool and very gently pour in the milk while stirring continuously.
  20. Return to a low flame, sprinkle in the salt and black pepper powder, give it a hearty stir. Continue to cook till the gravy thickens.
  21. Adjust seasonings. Finish with a dollop of ghee and a generous sprinkle of garam masala powder.
  22. Slice the papayas gently into thick roundels, pour the sauce over the papayas. Serve hot.

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