Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Any Ideas?

I tried something new the other day, but can’t say I was especially taken with it. Jicama was on sale in the grocery store and looked pretty good (well, as good as a big brown lump can look), so I decided to buy one. I’d had it in the refrigerator over a week before I finally got around to using it. At that point it had started to develop some serious pock marks, so time was running out.

Coincidentally, I had some jicama served to me in a salad Friday evening. Until then I had thought that I had never eaten jicama before, but now I would say it’s very likely that I've had it in a salad before. On Friday, I saw it on my plate and thought it might be jicama but had to check with the waitress to be sure. If you’ve never had it, it’s a wet crunchy vegetable. Someone I work with described it as a “radish with no flavor”, which is a fairly apt description. Anyway, the salad with jicama reminded me that I had one sitting in my refrigerator that needed to be used.

I had spent a little time looking around on the internet for recipes, but had not yet found anything that really grabbed me. I recalled that there had been a sign in the grocery store that said jicama was traditionally eaten with lime and chile. I had both of these on hand and was in a hurry to dispense with my jicama, so it appeared I had myself a recipe.

I decided I would shred or julienne the jicama on my fearsome mandoline. My brother originally bought this mandoline for himself, but was a little afraid of it and never got around to using it. He gave it to me, but I was a little afraid of it and never got around to using it. Finally, when he was staying with me and we were cooking together we used it. You should have seen us reading and re-reading the instructions and tip-toeing around that thing. We finally got it set up and made some wonderful potato galettes with impossibly thin slices of potato.

the underbelly of the mandoline...eeek!

But I digress. So... I got some much needed practice with my mandoline and shredded a bowlful of jicama. I then whizzed together the jalapeno pepper with the juice from the lime in a mini food processor and tossed that with the shredded jicama.

It was OK…but no more than OK. In case I’m ever moved to buy another jicama, do you have a favorite recipe for it?


Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy,
I sometime eat the jicama raw, as is. Yes, it's like radish but it has a slight sweetish taste to it. Was yours fibrous? In South East Asia, jicama is usually used in local salads ("rojak"), cooked with vegetables and tofu in a curry sauce ("sayur lodeh"), wraps ("popiah"), kueh pie-tee and spring rolls. Thinking aloud here, perhaps you can try using it in stews in place of potatoes or wrap it in spring roll skins and deep frying them?


santos. said...

hi cathy
there is a salad i haven't done in awhile, i found it in the greens cookbook, but i think it's a pretty standard recipe for orange-jicama salad. it was always popular at barbecues and summer parties.
i don't remember the exact recipe but my adaptation was something like this: mix peeled, thinly sliced oranges with peeled, matchstick'd jicama, add a handful of watercress, chopped red onion. dress with a splash of orange juice, a sqeeze of lime juice and some chile powder and salt. you don't want to grate the jicama because you want to take advantage of its nice cellulosy crunchiness in this.

Anonymous said...

Oooh. I have a jicama recipe that I absolutely love. It's from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook, and it's an appetizer called "Radicchio Leaves Filled with Pineapple-Pecan Salad." I don't actually like it served with the radicchio, which I think is too bitter for it. It makes a wonderful stand alone salad, though. Also, it tastes really good as an accompaniment to fish, but I know you're not that keen on fish in the first place. Let me know if you'd like me to type up the recipe for you! (So you have an idea, the main ingredients are pineapple, jicama, shredded carrots, toasted pecan halves, scallions, cilantro, and seasoned rice vinegar.)


Cathy said...

Hi Shirley - Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn't run across any recipes where jicama was cooked, so now that you've suggested using it in a stew I'm really curious what that might be like. Would you believe I've never deep fried anything? I've seen lots of recipes lately I've really wanted to try (especially with this last IMBB being all about dumplings), but my fear of deep fat frying is holding me back. I may be almost ready to take the plunge, though...

Hi Santos - I have that cookbook and the recipe for the salad does look good - as does your variation! Actually the two are quite different, so it would be fun to try both. The recipe in the Greens cookbook has jicama, oranges and radishes dressed with orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and cilantro. You're right - I think the jicama is all about texture - which is pretty great.

Hi Alice - yes, I would love your recipe! That combination sounds wonderful. Could you email it to me?

Thank you all for your ideas - guess I've got to go buy another jicama!