- yam bean
- Mexican yam bean
- saa got
- Chinese potato
- Mexican potato
- Chinese turnip
Wikipedia Article About Jícama on Wikipedia
A bulbous, brown root with a crunchy white interior used in Latin American cooking. The sweet and nutty interior is great for crudite platters and salads. It can be found from May to November in many Mexican markets. The jícama is a species of Pachyrhizus, a legume native to tropical and subtropical Central America. It is cultivated for its edible taproot. Other common names for the jícama include sengkwang, "yacon", "yam bean", Mexican potato and Mexican turnip. In the Philippines, it is referred to as singkamas.
The jícama plant grows as a vine that can reach a height of 4-5 m given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kg. The root's exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles that of a raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy. It is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon juice, and powdered chile. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. Notable raw jícama dishes include popiah and salads such as yusheng and rojak.
In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects and fish.
Jícama is composed of 86-90% water; it contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids. Its sweet flavor comes from the oligofructose inulin (also called fructo-oligosaccharide), which the human body does not metabolize; this makes the root an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and dieters.
The jícama grows in frost-free climates. Native to tropical America, it is currently cultivated in warmer parts of China and Southeast Asia as well.
Jícama should be stored dry, between 12 °C to 16 °C; colder temperatures will damage the root. A fresh root stored at an appropriate temperature will keep for a month or two.
Jícama is a relative of the potato family. It is a popular dietary staple in Latin America and widely grown in Mexico and Central America. There are many names for Jícama including: the Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean, ahipa, saa got, Chinese turnip, lo bok, and the Chinese potato.
Jícama looks similar to a turnip or a large radish, and it can be used as an alternative to the water chestnut. Its skin is thin and can be gray, tan, or brown in color. Additionally, it has a short root and contains white flesh. The skin is typically peeled before eating it raw. Raw jícama tastes similar to a pear or apple. It also does not discolor when exposed to the open air for awhile. Because of this, raw jícama is often used as an accompaniment to raw vegetable platters. When jícama is used in cooking it tends to take on the flavors of the ingredients that it is being combined with. Therefore, jícama is a nice complement to various stir-fry dishes because it blends well with many vegetables and seasonings.
Jícama is a very versatile vegetable that contains a high amount of vitamin C, is low in sodium, and has no fat. One adult serving of jícama, which is equal to approximately 1 cup of cubed jícama or 120 grams, also contains only 45 calories.
Jícama is available year-round. When purchasing jícama, select tubers that are firm and have dry roots. Make sure that the jícama has an unblemished skin and that is not bruised. Once purchased, store jícama for up to two weeks in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.