Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Experimenting with Jicama (Hic-a-ma) 2 Ways!

So...what IS jicama (hic-a-ma)? I had never even heard of it until maybe last year while watching Chopped on the Food Network. Since I first heard of it, I see it everywhere - on menu's, on the Food Network, in a few specialty grocery stores...so finally curiosity got the better of me and we bought one to try at a farmer's market. So...what IS it?

Jicama is, and I quote this directly from wisegeek.com, "a crispy, sweet, edible root that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although the plants are not related. Jicama has been cultivated in South America for centuries, and the vegetable is quite popular in Mexican cuisine. Jicama has a unique flavor that lends itself well to salads, salsas, and vegetable platters. The roots can sometimes grow to be quite large, although when they exceed the size of two fists, they begin to convert the sugars that give jicama its sweet flavor into starches, making the root somewhat woody to the taste. Jicama is actually a legume, and it grows on vines that may reach 20 feet (six meters) in length. Jicama will keep under refrigeration for up to two weeks. Jicama is excellent raw and is sometimes eaten plain. It can also be used as a substitute for water chestnut in Chinese dishes, in which case it should be thrown in right before serving. Jicama also appears in stews, juiced drinks, stuffings, and a variety of other recipes. In addition to having a unique flavor and texture, jicama takes flavor well, making it well suited to culinary experimentation. Jicama is a great source of vitamin c and is fat free—making it a superb on-the-go snack."

Whew! While I was preparing it two different ways, I took a bite. It actually is pretty good raw - it is sweet and tastes kind of like a starchy apple crossed with a raw sugar snap pea. The one thing I had a LOT of trouble with was peeling it. My little peeler didn't cut it...I had to cut it in half and peel it in sections. It took a LOT of work. Since we first saw this on Chopped, and chefs only have 20-30 minutes to prepare their entire dish, I have no idea how they do the jicama so fast. If anyone has an easy way to get this peeled, please, LET ME KNOW!! :-)

So the first recipe I tried, I found on Allrecipes.com. At first I didn't realize this wasn't a cooked recipe, I just wanted to find a recipe using a leftover lime I had in the house and the fact that this also used jicama worked. So when I started to prepare these jicama sticks, I decided to half the recipe for starters, and use the other half of the jicama in a puree. I then took half of the jicama sticks and left them raw, as indicated in the recipe, and baked the other half, to see what "jicama fries" would be like.

The second recipe I tried, a puree recipe, I found and it was for a jicama and horseradish puree. Since we don't own horseradish, nor do I like it, I made some quick substitutions and honestly, I think my puree turned out pretty darn good.

So, here is what I did with my jicama (which is the size of like, a swollen softball).

"Mexican Jicama Snack" from caztoindy on AllRecipes.com


1 large jicama
2 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or paprika)Directions:

Peel jicama and cut into French fry-sized sticks.

Combine with lime juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl and toss to coat.

Serve as finger food.

** Here is where I also took half my batch and baked it.

"Jicama, Onion, Blue Cheese & Ranch Puree" - by ME! Inspired by this recipe here.


1/2 of a jicama, (about 2-3 cups) peeled and diced
2 ounces of margarine
1/2 tsp blue cheese dressing
1 and 1/2 TBS ranch dressing
1 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 large onion, diced


Peel and dice jicama.

Melt margarine in a pan - add the jicama and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add blue cheese and ranch dressings, paprika, salt and black pepper. Cook for a few minutes until aromas become strong and jicama is slightly tender.

Using a food processor, puree jicama mixture. Reheat in pan and serve hot.

The results!

So both recipes were SUPER easy, and once the jicama was peeled, set up time was very quick.

The sticks - I liked the baked version better than the fresh version. Biting into the fresh version left a bold taste in my mouth and I am not huge on fresh lime. Baking the sticks subdued the taste a little, which I preferred, but the jicama retained its juicy crunch, which was nice.

The puree was by far my preferred dish with the jicama. It didn't end up tasting overly blue cheesy or ranchy, it has an unusual taste, but it is delicious. I think it has more of an "onion and potato taste," almost like I am eating an onion and potato perogie. You can honestly use any creamy base that you want - since the original recipe called for horseradish cream, and I didn't have any, I just used a bold tasting cream we had in the house. As the description of the jicama said - it lends itself nicely to many flavors which makes it good for experimenting.

So, we have a success with a new food. After the Swiss chard, I was hesitant, but this turned out well, and I have a feeling this will become a new staple here in this household.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh! I'm so excited to try these. I've only used it raw in salads. Thanks!