11/03/2011 02:23 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Work With Jicama

Chef Iliana de la Vega of The Culinary Institute of America demonstrates how to work with jicama, a crisp, refreshing root vegetable. First, she cuts off both ends with a chef's knife, then peels the root by slicing the circumference from the top to the bottom. If the root is fresh, it will release some water. She then slices rounds from the root. Once you have 1/2-inch rounds, you can cut them to make sticks for snacking -- sprinkle with lime juice and salt -- or create a dice for salads.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to work with a jicama.

Here we have a jicama. When you buy it, it will look like this. It is a root, kind of a round root.

What you need to do first is make a flat surface in it. So with a chef's knife, I'll cut here, just cut off the end. And another cut, the same on the other side. Now you will have a flat surface, which is more secure to work with. So now that you have this - you can see it is completely white inside, and it's really refreshing - we will work this way, slicing off the skin all the way around until you peel it completely. If it's fresh, it's really watery.

You can just slice one just like this, in thin rounds. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt, and it's just delicious - fresh and delicious. Another way to prepare it: you slice it also, the same way as before, and make this kind of cut, cutting it into long strips. Then if you want to, you can also dice it, the size you want: smaller, larger... sometimes it's nice to have a larger cube in your salad. It's a root that is great to eat raw, just like this. So this is how we work with a jicama.