Orange, Papaya & Thai Ginger

Galangal is a thai ginger that is often sold fresh in small plastic bags in the fridge section of an Asian grocers.
Thai Ginger is worth sourcing for this recipe. It's taste is unique and totally different from fresh or dried ground ginger.

This recipe is light, bright and delightful to eat as well as to look at, especially if you take the extra steps to remove and chop some of the papaya rather than pureeing it all into the sauce. Thai Ginger, also called Galangal, is worth the added effort of sourcing for this recipe. It's flavor is mellow, warm and intense without being 'hot' like regular fresh ginger and it has a wonderful fullness that you don't get with dried ground ginger. Galangal can be found either fresh (usually tied in individual bags in a refrigerated section of an Asian food store) or sliced and frozen in cryovac plastic bags in a frozen section of an Asian store. I've often found it at Win Thai Food Shop on 1137 Ogilvie Rd (in a strip mall with Mandarin Restaurant) at Cummings Ave and at the Manphong Supermarket at 775 Somerset St. W. in Ottawa. Ask the staff to show you if you can't find it. It tends to be woody in texture so I add it to the pot to infuse its unique flavors then I remove it before pureeing the sauces. You can always add the slices back into the pot after pureeing or processing other ingredients. It will just keep on doing it's own thing. You can even leave it in the finished rice pudding until after it's cooled.

Papaya isn't a fruit that I was raised with and I'm not a huge fan of it on it's own, but in my rice puddings, it's a star! Choose ripe but not overripe papayas. You don't want it to be green. What you are looking for is a fruit that is more yellow than green. If you only find green ones just leave them out on the counter a couple of days to ripen up. You want it to be ripe and firm but not hard when you press on it's flesh. I use frozen unsweetened concentrated orange juice for this recipe. It gives the perfect orange taste without adding a ton of extra liquid to the sauce.

Fresh oranges can vary greatly in color and flavor, plus they add a lot of liquid that needs to be compensated for in a recipe.
A find that frozen concentrated unsweetened orange juice gives the most consistent result in my fruit rice puddings.

What you will need:

2 medium sized pots with lids, a strainer that sits inside of a bowl, a long metal spoon, a wire whisk (if you have one), an immersion or upright blender, measuring cups, spoons or a kitchen scale (if you have one), a rubber spatula, a small knife & cutting board, a heat proof/food safe container with lid


35 oz/1 kg ripe papaya flesh

1 + 13 oz coconut milk (14 oz to a regular can)

13 oz Calrose medium grade rice

13 oz light brown sugar

4.5 oz frozen unsweetened concentrated orange juice

0.5 oz fresh or frozen thai ginger slices (galangal)

1/4 + 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 + 1/8 tsp ground dry ginger


  1. Place the Calrose rice in the strainer that sits inside of a bowl. Rinse the rice under running water and strain. Repeat 2 more times. Set aside to drain.

  2. Rinse the whole papaya under water. Place it on a cutting board and cut it in half lenghwise. Remove and discard the seeds. Using a large spoon, remove the papaya flesh and place it in a medium sized pot. Add in 1 cup of water, 13 oz light brown sugar and .5 oz thai ginger (galangal). Cover and place the pot over a medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and allow to continue cooking for another 15 minutes, covered.

  3. Remove the thai ginger and set it aside. Remove a 1/2 cup of larger papaya pieces and set aside. Using an immersion blender, blend the rest of the fruit sauce until smooth. Add in 13 oz of coconut milk, 13 oz of water, return the thai ginger to the pot, add the ground cinnamon & ginger.

  4. Chop into thin slices the reserved papaya pieces. Return them to the pot. Cover and bring the sauce back up to a medium boil. Add the frozen concentrated unsweetened orange juice. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer.

  5. In a second medium sized pot place 32 oz of water and 1 oz of coconut milk. Bring the pot to a boil, covered. Add the rinsed and drained Calrose rice. Stir to ensure that it isn't stuck to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover and set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and allow it to continue to cook and to absorb more liquid for an additional 10 minutes, covered.

  6. After the 10 minute rest, add the hot cooked Calrose rice to the hot Orange, Papaya & Thai Ginger Fruit Rice Pudding sauce. Using a wire whisk blend the 2 together being sure to break up any clumps of cooked rice. Empty the hot fruit rice pudding into a heat proof/food safe container and place on the counter or on a wire cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

  7. Place the cooled fruit rice pudding in the fridge to cool completely. It will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, covered. Or, you may choose to portion and package some of your fruit rice pudding into freezer grade containers to enjoy at a later time. They last for months in the freezer.

  8. Consult our How to Freeze & Thaw Food Blog Post for best results. Consult our Simply Fruit Rice Puddings: Basic Ingredients post and our Basic Cooking Instructions Blog Posts for more tips and tricks on making your own fruit rice puddings. Enjoy!

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