Raise your hand if you’ve never had jicama.
No one? That’s what I thought.
I’m a little embarrassed to say that until this week, I had never had jicama. Embarrassed because while I’d read about it, recommended it as a new food to others, even saw it in the store, for some reason I never picked one up.
On a whim, about a week ago, I decided to buy one. Then, of course, it sat for several days while I was trying to figure out what to do with. I knew from every description I’d read that I would love it, but what to do, what to do.
If like me, you’ve never had jicama which comes from the legume family, I’ll explain a bit about it. First of all, it is much more like a root vegetable than any legume or bean I’ve had. My research tells me it is native to Mexico and it has spread to Central America, China and Southeast Asia. It has a very high water content and I would equate the texture to a firm, crisp apple. The flavor is only slightly sweet, nothing like an apple to me and although it has a texture also like radishes, there is no spicy radish flavor either.
It seems to be best served as a slaw or salad, but I also read some recommendations to slice it and dip it in salsa. Apparently it can also be used as a substitute for water chestnuts. I did a little searching and combined some different components of several recipes I found, my favorite being from Simply Recipes.
I was right on to expect I would like jicama. I could have eaten an entire bowl of this stuff! I especially liked the sweet jicama with the juices combined with the savory garlic and spicy pepper. My husband thought it was a little too sweet so next time I’ll likely try a version with chili powder as was suggested by you wonderful readers via Facebook.
Citrus Jicama Salad
Adapted from Jicama Salad by Simply Recipes
1 medium jicama, peeled and julienned or chopped
1 spring onion, sliced (white and greens)
1 sweet pepper sliced (I used banana)
2 tsp hot pepper, finely diced (I used mariachi)
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 orange, peeled, sliced
Juice of one orange
Juice of ½ lime
1 clove garlic, grated
Salt to taste
Place the jicama, onion, peppers and cilantro in a medium bowl and stir to mix ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice and garlic. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Toss to coat. Add salt to taste if desired. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Serves 2 to 3.
This recipe has been submitted to Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.