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read, cook, eat: can somebody please find me a god-damned jicama? I’m hungry already

June 11, 2011

Photo "Jicama at Dave's" with thanks to sushiesque on flickr.com who made this photo available, via Creative Commons, for non-commercial use

Jicama – and let me stop you right there and let you know it’s not pronounced JIcama but rather HIcama (you are welcome) – is a crunchy white root vegetable that looks like a turnip and is maddenly hard to find. So why do I care?

Partly, I like a challenge. Partly, it was damn good when Johnny Cash Junior and I munched on “Mexican turnip”, raw and cut into sticks for snacking, in the buffet at the Mexican resort we visited a while back. Crispy. Juicy. Like a sweet raw potato without the potato-ness, if you get me. It reminded me that a Winnipeg friend had extolled the virtues of jicama as a good low-carb veggie that is excellent raw as well as cooked.

Anyway, as do most things these days, the Mexican jicama revelation had been long forgotten until, while looking for another recipe, I found this one from a Gazette colleague (though which, I will never remember), that I am now obsessed with making. If only I can find a damned jicama here in Montreal. The users of egullet.com kindly suggest Asian groceries in Montreal’s Chinatown, where I will go exploring as soon as the Formula 1 types relinquish the strangle hold of noise and hairspray and cigar smoke on the general downtown area.

When I find some, I’ll make this. If you’ve got other jicama recipes, pass them on via comments. Here are links to more jicama recipes (untried, you’re on your own) from allrecipes.com and epicurious.com.

Mardi Gras Jicama Slaw

(via photocopy from a book who’s title is absent. If you recognize this recipe, please message me the name of the book so I can credit and link to it. thanks)

Serves 6 to 8 (ha! serves 2 I bet)

  • 1.5 pounds jicama, shredded
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (though i will use yogurt; insert smug, virtuous smile here)
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed or 1 ear of fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Bash it all together and refrigerate for at least a few hours before serving.

Denise Duguay

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