Do you eat jicama? It’s that ugly, bulbous, brown “root vegetable” (it’s actually a legume). They look a little like a squashed turnip in shape. A few years back, in my “try something new a week” phase, I picked up a jicama and ate it in a simple form — peeled, cut into sticks and dipped into a low calorie dressing along with my celery, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. (Jicama is high in fiber and water (it’s 90% water) and low in calories. In fact, a cup of jicama contains only 45 calories, so it makes a good choice for someone watching thier calories and trying to stay full on less.) And I really like it. It’s texture is similar to a raw potato, but the flavor is slightly sweet. Since then, I always include it on my vegetable trays, and from the number of “What’s this thing?” questions that I get, not very many people DO eat jicama. But they usually try it and then agree that its worth eating.
I’ve been looking to expand my culinary uses for jicama. With my low iron count at my last OB visit, I’ve been refreshing myself on eating to promote iron uptake, and was reminded that vitamin C is one of those things that helps the body absorb the iron provided by other foods. Orange juice isn’t a good idea right now with the glucose monitoring, so I’ve been looking to savory foods. A half cup of jicama pieces provides almost as much vitC as 3/4 C. orange juice — and a lot more fiber. (Non-green Bell Peppers and Broccoli are other good savory sources.)
I do like it as a dipper, or by itself in a little salad of matchstick pieces tossed with a little lemon or lime juice and some chile powder. But sometimes I get bored!
Corn, Jicama and Pineapple Salsa
1/2 medium jicama, peeled and diced (about 1 C.)
1/2 C. diced fresh pineapple
1/2 C. corn kernels
1 serrano chili or habanero chili, seeded and minced
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste, optional
Freshly ground black pepper to taste, optional
Combine the jicama, pineapple, corn, serrano chili, cilantro, lime juice and garlic in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper if desired and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Serve as a relish with salmon.
8 oz. rib-eye steak
2 small jicama, peeled and julienned
2 red onions, julienned
2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
4 T. soy sauce
6 T. orange juice
4 T. hot pepper sauce
4 T. rice vinegar
Sear the rib-eye steak to medium rare. In a small bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Remove the meat from the pan, and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the meat very thinly. To serve, plate the sliced steak and top with the salad mixture.
Chinese Spinach Toss
3 1/2 C. fresh bean sprouts
1/3 C. rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1/3 C. salad oil
1/3 C. honey
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
1 bunch spinach, washed and stems removed
1 C. diced jicama
1 C. crisp Chinese noodles
Toss bean sprouts lightly with vinegar, oil, honey, soy sauce and fresh ginger. Chill at least 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Just before serving, add spinach and jicama. Toss gently to coat. Top each serving with Chinese noodles. For a main dish, add 12 oz. of cooked chicken, tuna or shrimp, cut into chunks.