Monday, March 1, 2010

Jicama - Gesundheit!

I often get quizzical looks or a "Bless You" when I mention Jicama (HEEK-a-ma). Jicama is a native vine of Mexico, though from a culinary perspective the name refers to the deliciously crisp edible tuber that kind of resembles a somewhat flattened turnip. It is even referred to as Mexican Turnip in some circles.

The skin is very fibrous, so a pairing knife is essential as most vegetable peelers are not up to the challenge.

Once peeled, simply slice the creamy white inner root and then either cube or julienne from there.
The texture of Jicama can only be described as somewhere between a Kohlrabi, a raw Potato and a crisp Green Apple. It's flavor is even reminiscent of the three combined into one. Sort of a juicy sweet, but starchy green bean flavor. I know, it sounds very confusing, but it REALLY is delicious when sliced or cubed raw and tossed with chili powder and lime juice... YUM!

Jicama has become increasingly popular in Asian cuisine as well, since Jicama pairs well with Citrus flavors as well as Cilantro (Chinese Parsley), Sesame oil, Ginger and Soy/Tamari. This is an attempt at fusion, Mex-inese if you will. Snow Peas, Chicken and Jicama in an Orange/Tamari glaze, served over Rice. I have had this over three different rices and I highly recommend a brown Jasmine, though White Basmati works as well, but the perfumy nuttiness of the Brown Basmati I used this time, almost over powered the light Orange flavor.

Orange Jicama Chicken

2 TB Olive oil
3/4 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice (you can use "from Concentrate" but Fresh is better)
1/2 tsp Orange Zest
1/4 cup Tamari Soy
1 TB Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast; cubed
1 lb of Jicama; Medium Julienne (although I cubed mine this time, cause I was in a hurry and I can do that faster)
6 oz Snow Peas

Begin heating 1 TB Olive oil in an electric skillet or a sauté pan over medium heat.

Mix Orange juice, Orange Zest, Tamari with the Cornstarch or Arrowroot.

Sauté half of the chicken;

When well browned, remove chicken to a bowl and sauté remaining chicken in an additional TB of olive oil.

When second batch is done, add the chicken from the bowl.

Pour in the orange juice mixture, tossing to coat.

Cook until it begins to thicken; (this only takes about 1 minute)

Add Jicama and Snow peas;

Toss them in so they get a nice coating of the orange glaze.

Cover and cook for 1 minute more.

Remove lid and toss once more......

Serve with Brown Jasmine or White Basmati Rice.

Quick, simple and delicious. The part that takes the longest is chopping everything up... LOL



Patti T. said...

I have never eaten Jicama, was never sure what it tasted like or how to use it. I absolutely love kohlrabi and the simple idea of the lime juice and the chili powder on the diced jicama sounds like something I would love. I usually eat kohlrabi sliced with just some sea salt on it for a snack, I know you can cook it but I have never tried it that way.

Bob said...

Never heard of jicama before, but I am intrigued. Definitely going to keep my eye out for it.

The stir fry looks awesome, love the orange glaze.

Danielle said...

How funny...a girl and work and I were talking about Jicamas this morning. I love them! Although I've never cooked one. I usually just add it to my bbq chicken chopped salad. I'll have to try it your way. It looks delish