Papaya-Marinated Steak & Malay Onion Sambal

READY IN: 25mins
Recipe by NcMysteryShopper

This recipe is great when you have left over papaya skin! Grilled steak is the star of many a braai. The papaya skin is the tenderizer for the steaks and the flesh can be saved for another recipe. The onions in the sambal are salted and then rinsed cleaned, this process softens them and removes their bitter juices. The Malay makes about 1 1/2 cups. The recipe is adapted from Jenna Holst from A South African Barbecue. MAKE AHEAD: The sambal can be prepared through the first step up to 1 day ahead. Steaks marinate for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Top Review by realbirdlady

A nifty way to make use of papaya peels.I just did the steak part, not the sambal. I used pounded flank steak, and got an easily chewable result, although I'd like to try with a little longer marination time. The seasoning was interesting, without being overwhelming. (I think it might be lost with the sambal.) I felt like I lost a lot of the spices when the papaya was removed, and then more in the pan. Next time, after the steak was cooked, I'd try scraping off a little of the papaya into the pan to brown with maybe a few tablespoons of wine.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard (English is best)
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
  • 34 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 14 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 14 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 34 lbs flank steaks or 1 34 lbs flat iron steak or 1 34 lbs top blade steaks or 1 34 lbs skirt steaks or 1 34 lbs chuck steaks
  • 2 medium ripe papayas, skins of (halved lengthwise, with 1/8 inch of the flesh left on them)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • Malay Onion Sambal

  • 3 medium onions, quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 14 cup cider vinegar
  • 14 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 12 tablespoons strained apricot jam
  • 2 12 tablespoons minced mint (you can mix both) or 2 12 tablespoons cilantro (you can mix both)
  • 1 medium-hot fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced


  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir scallions, mustard, thyme, pepper, ginger and cumin until blended. Rub the mixture evenly all over steak.
  2. Put 2 papaya skin halves in a glass baking dish, flesh side up. Place steak on top of papaya half and top with remaining 2 papaya skins, flesh side down; skins should touch surface of meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Light grill or preheat broiler.
  4. Discard papaya skins. Lightly oil both sides of steak and season with salt. Grill or broil steak, turning once, for about 10 minutes, or until medium rare.
  5. Thinly slice steak across the grain on the diagonal.
  6. Serve hot steaks with Malay Onion Sambal.
  7. Malay Onion Sambal:.
  8. Set a colander in the sink. Add the onions and salt; rub the salt into the onions and squeeze them gently for a few minutes. Rinse the onions thoroughly under cold running water, then drain well and pat dry.
  9. Combine vinegar, cinnamon and apricot jam in a bowl. Stir in onions and mint and add chile.

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