Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Jicama the underground tuber of Pachyrhizus erosus, a leguminous plant of Mexico which was taken to the Philippines by the Spanish in the 17th century and has since spread across Asia and the Pacific. It is not, however, prominent as a vegetable except in Mexico and (since recently) the south of China and the USA. Elizabeth Schneider (1986) expresses surprise that it has not been written about more:

It has crunchy, juicy ivory flesh (the texture of water chestnuts) and a sweet, bland flavor that suits everything from fruit cup to stir-fried shrimp. It could not be easier to prepare, requiring only the peeling of its thinnish, sandy-tan, matte skin. Jicama is marketed in a useful range of sizes, from ½ pound to as much as 6 pounds. It can be eaten raw or cooked—and is very low in calories for so starchy-seeming a vegetable.