You may be familiar with jicama cut into matchsticks or slices and served raw as part of a salsa, slaw or salads. This nubby-looking root vegetable can also be cooked in a variety or ways, including frying, boiling, baking and sauteing. Cooked jicama retains some of its crunchy texture, but it readily absorbs sauces and flavors.
Enjoy mashed jicama as a side dish by chopping it into cubes and placing it in a pot, covered by water. Add a little salt and bring it to a boil. After about 15 minutes, when the cubes are soft, remove from the heat and drain. You can mash it with butter, salt and pepper. Slices or sticks of jicama also make a tasty addition to stir-fries. It'll retain some of its apple-like crunch and readily meld with the Asian flavors. Jicama turns into a side dish for grilled meats when you saute it in a pan with olive oil, onions and red pepper strips.
For a twist on tortilla chips, fry up thin slices of jicama. You can also cut the jicama into shoestrings or batonets and fry them to replicate french fries. Jicama is relatively low in carbohydrates -- just 11 grams per cup of raw slices -- making these chips or fries a possible option for people on low-carb diets. If you prefer a non-fried chip variation, coat slices of jicama in non-stick cooking spray and season them; then bake in a 400-degree F oven until crisp -- about 30 minutes.
Roasting and Baking
Jicama can be baked just like a potato. Simply pierce the whole, washed jicama with a fork and bake it at about 375 degrees until softened, approximately 45 minutes. Serve it, sliced open, with butter, sour cream and chives. Unlike a baked potato, though, its skin is fibrous and not especially palatable. Roast cubes of peeled jicama with a drizzle of olive oil and herbs in a 400-degree F oven. After about an hour, you'll have browned cubes to serve alongside your main entree.
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For all but the whole, roasted option, peel your jicama before cooking. Some people find jicama tastes quite starchy or floury when served raw. You can blanch jicama for just a couple of minutes in boiling water and then flash cool in a bowl of ice water without altering its nutritional content. This chilled jicama can then be used in slaws, alongside dips or in salads.
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.