For those of you unfamiliar with jicama, it is a fairly large root vegetable originating from South and Central America. When eaten it’s texture is akin to a water chestnut or a firm pear and it’s flavor is starchy and slightly sweet. Jicama can be eaten raw or cooked the latter being my favorite. Nowadays you can find jicama year round in the produce section of many grocery stores.
I had my first experience with jicama a few years back. It was a surprise ingredient in an otherwise typical mayonnaise based coleslaw. The jicama definitely added a little something special but the mayonnaise seemed to mute its full potential. I began to play around with the jicama’s flavor profile and looked to see what others had done before me.
I found that jicama blends particularly well with many Asian flavors. My recipe for jicama slaw highlights this relationship. I thinly slice a mixture of fresh, colorful vegetables and toss them with a sharp, mildly sweet rice wine vinegar dressing. The addition of sesame oil, toasted peanuts and fresh cilantro give this slaw a distinctly savory yet clean quality reminiscent of green papaya salads found in Thai cuisine.
The bright qualities of this jicama slaw make it a delicious juxtaposition to heavier dishes as it helps them from becoming cloying and stodgy. Try this slaw with my Sesame-Honey Chicken Wing recipe or pair it with some roasted pork belly. If meat isn’t your thing, crisp up some chunks of tofu, sprinkle with thinly sliced Bird’s eye or jalapeno chilies and serve with a side of jicama slaw. Yuuuummmy!