Jicama, also called “patate chinoise” in Mauritius or globally as the yam bean, arrowroot or Chinese turnip, is a starchy root vegetable, like the potato. However, in its raw state it tastes more like an apple and it has a potato-like taste only when cooked. Jicama's mild flavour and ultra-satisfying crunch makes it easy to incorporate in a variety of dishes.
This tropical vegetable also comes with a myriad of benefits - it can improve digestion, boost weight loss, and help keep blood sugar level under control. But, it is important to note that while the flesh of the jicama is edible, the stems, seeds, leaves, and skin are toxic.
Health Benefits of the Jicama
Most of the health benefits derived by including jicama in a diet come from its high fibre content and concentration of vitamin C. Similar to potatoes, jicama contains both soluble and insoluble fibre.
A diet rich in soluble fibre may help prevent diabetes and high blood cholesterol. High insoluble fibre intake can regulate bowel movements and may decrease the risk of colon cancer. Jicama is also a good source of vitamin C, providing 26 milligrams of the vitamin, or 40 percent of a regular adult’s recommended daily intake.
It also contains 4 percent of the recommended daily amount of folate and vitamin E in each serving. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is crucial for the growth, development and maintenance of the nervous system, while vitamin E aids in the synthesis of red blood cells and the absorption of other vitamins like vitamin K. Plus, jicama is a naturally low-fat food, providing less than 1 gram of ‘good fats’ per serving.
Ways to eat Jicama
Jicama can be eaten raw, cooked, or stir-fried, on its own or as an addition to other dishes. You should peel off the brown, thick skin and only eat the white flesh. You can cut the flesh into cubes, slices, or chop it into fine strips.
Here are some quick and easy ways to eat Jicama
Slice up jicama and then sprinkle it with chili powder, salt, and lime juice to enjoy a low-calorie snack
Chop it up and stir-fry it with sesame oil - its flesh remains crispy when cooked briefly
Shred it to add to salads or soups as an extra crunch - it can also wake-up slaws, tacos, and burgers
Slice jicama in long pieces and serve with guacamole or hummus dip – this is one of the easiest ways to enjoy this root vegetable
Mix it with other vegetables and fruits, such as pineapple, apple, raw mango, sweet potato and add a spicy palm sugar dressing or peanut sauce
Chop up jicama into fine strips and use it together with other vegetables in spring rolls