Have you ever bought a jicama? I’ve always wanted to buy a jicama. (This may be the first time anyone has shared such a bizarre wish publicly.) But usually they are really large, and not knowing exactly what to do with one, I didn’t want to buy a giant jicama. What would I do with a giant jicama? Go jicama bowling? But I digress.
So today at the store I found a very modestly sized jicama. Here he/she/it is, in all it’s brown boring turnip like jicama glory:
Pretty unassuming, right? The trick is a serrated peeler to peel these things, the skin is kind of tough. The flesh tastes very slightly sweet but mostly just like something crunchy. It reminded me a lot of water chestnuts. In fact, if you can’t find a jicama smaller than a bowling ball or are intimidated by the thing or just can’t pronounce it (it is “hic-i-ma” as in hiccup), then by all means, use water chestnuts.
To make a lettuce wrap that is easier to eat, try and keep your ingredients fairly small. You can’t stuff a leaf of lettuce the way you stuff a monster burrito at Qdoba. On the plus side, a leaf of lettuce gives you some good healthy greens and very few calories, as compared to a tortilla with no leafy greenness and many more calories.
The best lettuce to use is a leaf lettuce with a natural “cup” shape. Bibb lettuce works great. I used red leaf, which was ok. I had the leftovers on romaine, which did not work too well but still tasted good. The crunchier the lettuce, the harder it is to fold into a wrap. Having survived many crunchy taco dinners with children sobbing because their taco shells have broken and created a mess on their plates, we have learned to frequently announce “tacos are messy! That’s the fun!” with smiles plastered to our faces. So be prepared to tell yourself that lettuce wraps are messy. But messy is ok.
There’s the money shot. Doesn’t that look yummy?
Teriyaki Chickpea, Jicama, and Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
1/4 C chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 of a red pepper, chopped
1 T minced jalapeño pepper (more or less to taste)
diced jicama, about the same amount as your red pepper, maybe 1/3 C, or substitute diced water chestnuts
1 C chick peas (either cooked from dry beans or rinsed and drained from a can)
1/8 of a fresh pineapple, chopped (or substitute about 1/2 cup canned, diced pineapple)
1/2 t dried ginger
2 T soy sauce (low sodium)
1 C cooked quinoa or other grain
Large leaves of leaf lettuce, preferably cup shaped
Heat a wok over medium high heat. I gave mine a tiny spritz of olive oil first. Add onion, garlic, pepper, jicama and jalapeño to the pan and stir fry until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chick peas, pineapple, ginger, and soy, and stir fry until heated, stirring frequently. Assemble wraps with a scoop of quinoa (about 1/4 cup seemed to work for me) and top with the chickpea mixture. This made two very generous servings, probably three normal sized servings.