Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vegetable of the Day - Jicama

Jicama (pronounced he-ka-ma), is the tuber of a vine. The vine is poisonous, but the tuber is crunchy and slightly sweet. The round veggie is covered with a thick brown skin that can be cut or pulled away. The interior is creamy white and slices, shreds, or dices with ease.

The first time I had jicama I was in Guatemala. It was sprinkled with lime juice, salt and some red pepper. It was the perfect cool, spicy, salty snack alongside an icy beer. By the time I returned home I was hooked. I add jicama to salads and veggie trays. I have been looking for a new venue for the inexpensive vegetable. Since jicama plays so nicely with lime juice I decided to toss it with some fish sauce, lime juice and sugar for a quick Vietnamese salad. Turned out to be the perfect combo. The jicama is a fabulous addition in Vietnamese salad. This recipe is going to be repeated often.

I used my mandoline to cut all the veggies into match strips. If you don't have a mandoline I would shred them for the best texture. This makes a big salad that would feed 4 for dinner. It is a great match with sweet, sticky rice.
Jicama Vietnamese Salad
1 medium jicama, (about the size of your two fists) peeled and shredded
1 tart apple, shredded
1/2 cucumber, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 handful cilantro chopped
1 handful mint chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, tails removed - you can see I didn't remove them for this salad. I regretted it.

Toss together in a bowl.

In a small bowl mix
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
juice of one lime
1 -2 teaspoons sambal paste (red chile paste)

Mix until combined and toss with salad.

I think the salad improves after resting for an hour or so. The vegetable soften up in the dressing. (Sorry for the blurry photo. Our camera charger isn't working, so we are depending on the all purpose Iphone.)


  1. I love Jicama. Have you tried Daikon when you need heat and crunch? Your salad looks really, really good.

  2. I've had Jicama in a few restaurant dishes, but never used it myself. Thanks for all the info! Great site you have here!

  3. I just had Jicamam in a salad for the first time last night at Salt Rock Grill in Indian Rocks Beach, FL. It was delicious! I'll try to start encorporating it after I read more about the nutrients it provides. Thanks for these ideas!