Eso Fafao Recipe from Samoa: Green Papayas and Ground Beef Delight

Eso Fafao

Eso Fafao Recipe from Samoa: Green Papayas and Ground Beef Delight
Region / culture: Samoa | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 4


Eso Fafao
Eso Fafao

Eso Fafao is a traditional dish from Samoa that features green papayas stuffed with a savory ground beef mixture. This dish is flavorful and satisfying, making it a popular choice for family meals and special occasions.


Eso Fafao has been a staple in Samoan cuisine for generations. The dish is believed to have originated in Samoa and has been passed down through families as a cherished recipe. It is often served at celebrations and gatherings, showcasing the rich flavors and cultural heritage of the Samoan people.


How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Halve the papayas and cut off the hard stem ends. Scoop out and discard the seeds.
  3. Combine the beef with the remaining ingredients, except for salt, pepper, and oil.
  4. Stuff the papayas with the beef mixture.
  5. Arrange the papayas, stuffed side up, in a baking pan.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.


  • Substitute ground chicken or turkey for the ground beef for a lighter version of the dish.
  • Add diced vegetables such as bell peppers or carrots to the beef mixture for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Top the stuffed papayas with grated cheese before baking for a cheesy twist on the traditional recipe.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to scoop out the seeds of the green papayas thoroughly to create enough space for the beef mixture.

- Season the beef mixture generously with salt and pepper to enhance the flavors of the dish.

- Covering the baking pan with foil helps to keep the papayas moist and tender during the cooking process.

- Serve the Eso Fafao hot out of the oven for the best taste and texture.

Serving Suggestions

Eso Fafao can be served with a side of steamed rice or a fresh green salad for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques


Ingredient Substitutions

Use ground pork or lamb instead of ground beef for a different flavor profile.

- Replace breadcrumbs with crushed crackers or oats for a gluten-free option.

- Omit the eggs and milk for a dairy-free and egg-free version of the dish.

Make Ahead Tips

Prepare the beef mixture and stuff the papayas ahead of time, then cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish the Eso Fafao with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro before serving for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Serve Eso Fafao with a side of coconut milk-based sauce or a spicy chili sauce for added flavor.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers of Eso Fafao in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Eso Fafao contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of Eso Fafao contains approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Eso Fafao contains approximately 15 grams of fats.


Each serving of Eso Fafao contains approximately 25 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Eso Fafao is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron.


Eso Fafao contains eggs and breadcrumbs, which may be allergens for some individuals.


Eso Fafao is a nutritious dish that provides a balanced mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.


Eso Fafao is a delicious and nutritious dish that showcases the flavors of Samoa. With a flavorful ground beef filling stuffed inside tender green papayas, this dish is sure to be a hit at your next meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I distinctly remember the first time I saw this recipe for Eso Fafao. It was back in my younger days when I was just a teenager, eager to learn the art of cooking from my own grandmother. She was a talented cook who had a vast collection of recipes that she had acquired from various places and people over the years. One day, as I was helping her in the kitchen, she pulled out a faded piece of paper from her recipe box and handed it to me.

"Here, my dear," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "This is a recipe for Eso Fafao that I learned from a dear friend of mine many years ago. It's a traditional Samoan dish that is sure to please your taste buds."

I eagerly took the paper from her hands and studied the recipe with a mixture of excitement and curiosity. The ingredients were simple – coconut milk, taro leaves, onion, garlic, and a few other seasonings. The instructions were straightforward, but I could tell that this dish required a certain level of skill and finesse to get it just right.

Over the next few days, my grandmother patiently guided me through the process of making Eso Fafao. She showed me how to properly wash and prepare the taro leaves, how to slice the onions and garlic just so, and how to simmer the dish to perfection. As we worked together in the kitchen, she shared stories of her own experiences learning to cook from her mother and grandmother, passing down their knowledge and traditions to the next generation.

I soon discovered that cooking was not just about following a recipe – it was about love, patience, and a deep connection to the past. Each dish we made together was a tribute to the generations of women who had come before us, sharing their wisdom and culinary secrets.

As I mastered the art of making Eso Fafao, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. The dish became a staple in our family gatherings, a favorite among relatives and friends who marveled at the flavors and aromas that filled the air. I knew that I had truly learned something special from my grandmother, a recipe that would be cherished and passed down for years to come.

Years passed, and my own daughters grew up watching me cook in the kitchen, just as I had watched my grandmother all those years ago. I shared with them the story of how I had learned to make Eso Fafao, passing down not just the recipe itself, but the memories and traditions that went along with it.

And now, as I sit in my kitchen, surrounded by the familiar scents and sounds of cooking, I think back to that first time I saw the recipe for Eso Fafao. It was more than just a dish – it was a lesson in love, family, and the power of food to bring us together. And for that, I am forever grateful to my grandmother, who taught me so much more than just how to cook.


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