Batida de Lechoza (Papaya Milkshake)

Batida de lechoza (Papaya milkshake)

A popular item in the Dominican diet which is not always everyone’s favourite is the papaya, known in the DR as ‘lechoza’. And most popularly consumed in this delicious batida de lechoza (papaya milkshake). Several countries in the region seem to shy away from the word papaya, which has – it appears – other connotations. Venezuelans also call it ‘lechoza’, and the Cubans ‘fruta bomba’. In English it is also known as ‘pawpaw’.

Batida de Lechoza (Papaya Milkshake) is a very popular fruit drink in the Dominican Republic. Any time is a good time for a batida de lechoza.

I am a huge fan of lechoza. At the risk of being excessively poetic or even cheesy, I would describe the subtle flavour of lechoza as the taste-bud equivalent of inhaling the gentle perfume of a fragrant rose. Others may challenge this. In contrast, I have heard that some find the smell and taste reminiscent of vomit. This just shows that there is no accounting for taste.

Batida de lechoza (Papaya milkshake)

Brought over from Central America by the Spaniards in the early 16th century, lechoza grows very easily in the Dominican Republic. The plant – which is technically a herb – is very hardy, and is one of the main items on the fruit vendor’s cart. It is bought whole, or peeled and sectioned for consumption on the street. It is also popular as a fruit shake, with or without milk. I myself eat it sliced and chopped, for breakfast, usually combined with a banana and a couple of passion fruits.

In Venezuela, where I first came across lechoza, people squeeze a little lime juice over the fruit as a tangy counterpoint to the soft flavour. This works very well in the fruit shake as well, although I would hesitate to add lime juice to the milky version.

Batida de lechoza (Papaya milkshake)

Some of the health benefits of lechoza are well-known. It is alkaline, contains digestive enzymes which help balance stomach acid, and is often recommended for people who suffer from acidity and indigestion. In more extreme cases like gastric infections and intestinal parasites it is said to be an excellent remedy, providing you eat the black seeds together with the flesh of the fruit. It is also used to prevent and treat constipation. Lechoza is rich in vitamin A, B complex, C and potassium, and is low in fat and sodium. It has tenderising properties and so the skin or the green fruit is used in the preparation of meat and fish.

A more obscure use is in the treatment of flesh wounds. The fruit apparently cleans out the dead material in infected flesh when applied to an injury. This technique is possibly consigned to medical history but could come in useful if you are unfortunate enough to hurt yourself while away from medical attention, providing there is a lechoza handy. It is also effective in soothing insect and jellyfish stings. It is fairly easy to choose a good papaya, and even if green it will ripen quickly at room temperature. To speed up the process you can carve some long notches along the surface of the skin with a fine sharp knife. Putting some citrus fruit in the bowl together with the unripe fruit also works wonders. Once it is soft and mainly yellow/orange coloured, it must be refrigerated and eaten within a couple of days.

Ah, another hot day in the tropics. This is a good time for a papaya milkshake, don’t you think?

Aunt Ilana
Batida de lechoza (Papaya milkshake)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups of papaya cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 cups ice cubes
  • 1 qrt [1 lt] evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar (might not use it all)
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients (only half the sugar) in the blender and keep on at high speed until the ice is blended. Try and add more sugar if needed, blend for a few seconds.
  2. Serve immediately.
Notes
If you want a lighter alternative use skim milk in place of evaporated milk. For a vegan shake use soy milk or your preferred milk substitute.
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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Claire Carpenter June 5, 2013, 5:05 PM

    This is amazing! Although I had to do a bit less milk because my blender was too small, but it still was great

  • Mary @ Fit and Fed January 18, 2013, 2:44 AM

    I just love the peachy color of this papaya smoothie, it looks delicious! (I’m definitely in the camp of those who love papaya.) I knew papaya was good for the digestion but you gave me a lot of new information about its healing properties, thanks! I also didn’t know that the seeds were edible.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Papaya Pomegranate SaladMy Profile

  • jose cedo October 2, 2012, 12:19 PM

    Magnifica receta, la estaba buscando. gracias por publicarla.

  • The Mistress of Spic March 22, 2012, 6:50 AM

    Just came across your blog via Foodgawker and I absolutely love it! Look forward to trying many of your recipes, like this milkshake. I live in Thailand where we have ripe, juicy papayas all the time…so I'll be making this for sure!

    • Aunt Clara March 22, 2012, 7:35 AM

      Thanks, and please do try it, it is one of the best drinks I have ever had.

  • NANCY FERNANDEZ January 11, 2012, 6:47 PM

    Gracias por las recetas, Ya hice el cake dominicano en forma de arbolito y me quedo riquisimo, a todo el mundo legusto, ni que decir por el sancocho, fue impresionante, lo que tomo medio dia en la cocina pero valio la pena. feliz ano nuevo. Nancy

  • Natalia January 11, 2012, 3:08 PM

    Gracias x la receta. Encontré una lechoza en el Super y me antoje. Compre los ingredientes y la voy a hacer esta tarde. Esto me acuerda tanto a cuando era chiquita en la República Dominicana. Cuando me portaba bien me hacían mi batida para mi solita. Ahora tengo 27 años y la voy a hacer x primer ves (:

  • NANCY FERNANDEZ September 25, 2011, 11:59 AM

    ESTA BATIDA ES RIQWISIMA Y SALUDABLE, LA MEJOR! CONTIENE COENZIMAS VITAMINAS Y MINERALES. GRACIAS POR ESTAS RECETAS QUE VIENEN DEL CIELO. NANCY