In Indian cuisine, sometimes a papaya is added to make meat cook faster. Why does this method work?
Papain is an enzyme, present in the leaves, latex, root, and fruit of the papaya plant.
As an enzyme, papain catalyses the breakdown of proteins by hydrolysis (addition of a water molecule).
This means that papain is able to break down tough meat fibers and make meat more tender.
Therefore, meat can cook faster when a papaya is added.