Batida de Lechosa (Papaya Milkshake) is one of the most popular recipes on our blog, it makes for a very tasty fruit drink beloved in the Dominican Republic Any time is a good time for a batida de lechosa.
A popular item in the Dominican diet is the papaya, known in the DR as 'lechosa', and most commonly consumed in this delicious Batida de Lechosa (Papaya Milkshake).
Of all the batidas dominicanas, this one is queen.
A bit about lechosa
I am a huge fan of lechosa. At the risk of being excessively poetic or even cheesy, I would describe the subtle flavor of papaya 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.
Papaya or lechosa?
Several countries in the region seem to shy away from the word papaya, which has - it appears - other, erm, risque connotations. Venezuelans also call it "lechosa", and Cubans call it "fruta bomba". In English, it is also known as 'pawpaw'.
So, is it lechosa o lechoza?
It's lechosa. For the longest time, even Aunt Clara herself misspelled it, but yeah, it's S, not Z.
Dominican history of papaya
Brought over from Central America by the Spaniards in the early 16th century, lechosa 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.
Some of the benefits of papaya fruit 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.
Lechosa is rich in vitamin A, B complex, C and potassium, and is low in fat and sodium. It has tenderizing properties and so the skin or the green fruit is used in the preparation of meat and fish.
Lechosa is also apparently effective in soothing insect and jellyfish stings.
How to pick a good papaya
It's 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 colored, it must be refrigerated and eaten within a couple of days.
Ah, another hot day in the tropics. This is a good time for an ice-cold Papaya Milkshake, don't you think? And check our other Dominican batida recipes for more tropical goodness.Aunt Ilana
Batida de Lechosa Recipe (Papaya Milkshake)
- 3 cups of papaya cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 cups ice cubes
- 1 qrt [1 lt] evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup sugar (might not use it all)
Blending: 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.
Serving: Serve immediately, once blended it will become bitter once it starts warming up.