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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alternatives to Potato Hash Browns, Part 3: Jicama

This is the third part in my series of alternatives to potato hash browns. If you're just joining us, I decided to go on a quest to find the best alternative to potatoes. I grew up with my dad making potato hash browns pretty much every Sunday for our big family breakfast. I love hash browns. Crispy and brown potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Bacon. Sausage. Eggs. Bread from the local boulangerie. Oh, those Sunday breakfasts were lovely.

Recap:
Part 1 - Celery Root - crisped and browned nicely. Was able to flip in mostly one piece (better to make in a small or medium sized frying pan so you can flip over in one piece). Didn't burn (maybe I paid closer attention to it). Tasted potato-ish with a slight sweetness.

Part 2 - Rutabaga - they would not stay together. Maybe there's not enough starch, but they are better as an actual hash with other veggies or the base of hash brown casserole.
And here we are with Part 3. I used jicama this time. Jicama is a root vegetable that originated in Central and South Americas. It can be eaten raw and is often used in slaws or salads. It has a crunchy, sweet flavor when raw. I ate jicama in a fish taco dish from Snooze back in my Pre-Paleo days. They made a jicama slaw to top the tacos. That's the only time I remember eating jicama in my life (until recently). I think jicama would make a pretty good baked French fry. Jicama has only about 46 calories in a cup vs. about 120 calories in potatoes. Jicama is full of fiber and Vitamin C. It also contains B-Vitamins, Magnesium, Copper, Iron and Manganese.

Here's how I made my jicama hash browns. It's super easy to do, especially with a food processor. However, I did soak my sliced jicama in warm water overnight. It softens them a bit. I don't think it's necessary for hash browns, but you would probably want to do that when eating it raw.

Also, something to note, jicama seems to be waxy on the outside. That's normal. You're going to peel the skin off before shredding.

Jicama Hash Browns   
Serves: 2-4 (depending on appetites)

Ingredients:
2 small or medium jicama (or 1 large), shredded
2-3 T. fat of choice (I used coconut oil)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Slice the jicama into one to two inch slices. You can soak overnight in a covered pot of warm/hot water, but this step is optional. If you choose not to, just skip ahead to Step 2.
  2. Peel the skin off the jicama slices with a knife. 
  3. Shred the jicama in the food processor or by hand with a box grater. 
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. 
  5. Add shredded jicama. Pat down with a spatula and shape it into a round. Season with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper (to taste). They won't need as much salt as potatoes, so go light on it. You can always add more when you taste them. 
  6. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the underside is golden. You may need to lift up the browns a bit to check. 
  7. Flip and cook on the other side for another 4-5 minutes. 
  8. Serve with other breakfast foods. We ate ours with fried eggs, bacon and a Honey Almond Breakfast Cake (similar to a biscuit). 


The jicama lost quite a bit of sweetness during the cooking process. It still has a crunch, even when cooked. I did like it, but it doesn't fulfill my childhood memories of hash browns.

In summary, I would rank my hash brown alternatives as follows.

  1. Celery Root - closest in flavor and presentation
  2. Jicama
  3. Rutabaga
I received a great suggestion for another alternative: Daikon radishes. Have you ever eaten a Daikon radish? If so, how was it prepared? I've seen them at the grocery store and even said to my husband, "I wonder what you do with these. I need to do some research." I'll give it a shot sometime soon. 

2 comments:

  1. While shopping at Trader Joe's and then Chuck's Produce in Vancouver, Washington last night, I started looking for replacements for potatoes for cubed or shredded hash browns. Seeing the jicama at one of these stores, I decided to buy one and try hash browns with it this morning.

    This post of yours was the first to come up (great SEO) and reading through it and finding it reasonable and well though out, I followed your recipe pretty much.

    They turned out pretty good. They looked better than they tasted (yes, I know, no photo; sorry) so I decided that a longer cook at a lower temp might get a more crispy and less jicama-like texture.

    Still, they were good with the bacon and trio of sunny side up eggs.

    Next up, celery root. Your photo really got my interest.

    Thx

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  2. Thanks for the suggestions and tips on how to find alternatives for potatoes as hash browns! Daikon radishes and carrots together are pickled and served as a garnish in Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi), and some egg roll and grilled pork noodle dishes. They are wonderful pickled and are tasty in lettuce wraps or a paleo friendly summer roll. They are pickled in Korean cuisine and super tasty and a little sweeter but these are a different kind of daikon radish (shorter and rounder). You can find the Korean pickled radish in their sushi rolls which they call kim bap (their rolls are not made with raw fish, just vegetables, by the way). Daikon radishes are also used to flavor Vietnamese soup stocks along with roasted onion (and sometimes roasted ginger).

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