Latin Twist: Jícama Slaw

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On first trip to Mexico (ah, back when I was just barely a teenager!) I was introduced to many experiences, including new flavors and ingredients: Jícama was one of them. I’d be lying if I said it’s since been in my repertoire. It’s one of those things that I recently rediscovered and, I’m happy to report, that these days I’m a full-fledged jícama fan.

You’ve probably seen this root vegetable before, but maybe you assumed it was its unrelated relative: the turnip.

It’s available it many of our local markets (including Viva Grande on Huguenot in New Rochelle) and  I hope I can now get you to stop, pick up, and purchase—as I promise that this little baby will add another dimension to your salads!

In flavor, jícama (pronounced HEE-cah-mah) is perfect marriage of apple, cucumber, and water chestnut—and it’s crispy-sweet, and  thirst quenching. They’re usually about 4 to 8 inches in diameter, but range in weight from about half a pound, to wow, 6 pounds.   Oh—another of Jicama’s nice qualities: it can be enjoyed cooked (great in a stir-fry dish) or raw. In fact, in Mexico, it’s not uncommon to see people eating jícama with a sprinkle of fresh lime juice and chili powder  or hot pepper.

This colorful and tasty slaw is perfect for summertime barbecues! Also, you can make the yogurt sauce the night before you make the slaw. And finally friends, and yes this is the mom in me, it’s good for you!

The recipe, after the jump.

Jicama Slaw

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup plain, low-fat  yogurt (I like the thicker Greek yogurt)

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Turbinado or raw sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
3 cups peeled and  julienned jícama (I like them cut into fat matchsticks!), from approximately three jícamas

3/4 cup roasted corn

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the yogurt, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice, cider vinegar, sugar, cilantro, and cumin  and whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

Combine the jícama, corn, shallot, and  bell pepper. Pour the remaining one tablespoon of fresh lime juice over the salad, and mix well.

Just before serving, combine the yogurt with the salad. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

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About Author

Maybe it was the dinner parties my mom always threw—or the hours I spent prepping and cooking alongside her (and then on my own!). Or maybe it was array of fabulous dishes that my family sampled in New York City’s richly diverse restaurants, but I’ve loved creating, savoring, and sharing food for as long as I can remember. Living in Spain, and later in Peru, also greatly influenced my life. These years abroad taught me Spanish—and about living in different countries--but also introduced me to teaching English as a second language, which I’ve done—mostly in the US-- for the past 20-plus (yikes!) years. I’ve authored two cocktail/tapas books, Mambo Mixers and Calypso Coolers, coauthored more than 15 others (mostly food related!), and raised two children. Now I'm chef and owner of my own restaurant, Mambo 64 in Tuckahoe, New York. My message is the same, whether I'm teaching, writing, running the restaurant or being a regular guest on the Spanish-language network Telemundo (on the morning show, Buenos Días Nueva York!). My belief in food—and the power of food—is far reaching, and is married with another one: the power of stories. I’m sure that if we could all sit down and have meals together, sharing both tastes and tales, we’d have peace on earth. Enjoy!

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