13 Nov2007


Despite maintaining this blog for three years, and covering tons of produce, I still run into fruits, vegetables and food items that I have never come across before. Sometimes they are really common things like aratiles and other times they are more unusual, like freshly harvested bird’s nests from Palawan’s limestone cliffs. Yesterday, I spotted these medium-plump beans at the market and realized they weren’t sugar snap peas and they weren’t snow peas… and I don’t think I have knowingly eaten them before. Though there is a high possibility I have eaten them in dishes without knowing it, particularly on recent provincial trips. At any rate, the vendor said they were called “bunga ng singkamas” (jicama fruit) which made me curious… As far as my googling suggests, this could be the seed pods of the jicama plant…the plant not only has that white tuber so many of us love, but bears a “bean” on its climbing vines as well. I opened up one of the pods and it had very small seeds or beans inside, so I presume you are meant to eat the whole pod, just like snow peas or sugar snap peas.


So is this right? Are there other names for this vegetable? Do you have any interesting ways to cook it? Marketman would appreciate your comments if you are familiar with this vegetable. I suspect it would be good in stir fries, stewed vegetables, perhaps even soups and salads. But I thought I would check it out with you guys first before I tried to cook it. I haven’t found a single reference to it in my cookbooks or Asian ingredient books… Many thanks for your insights on this one…



  1. tulip says:

    An in-law includes it in his dinengdeng and soup.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 3:18 am


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  3. Marichu says:

    I had to ask my nanay about this, I’ve only had it once. She said you can use this in dinengdeng or add sampaloc and fried fish for a sabaw. To prepare, pinch off both ends and rub remaining shaft with salt to get rid of the “hairs.” You can then cook it opened or unopened.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 3:22 am

  4. mrs mm says:

    yes mm, this pod is meant to be eaten whole.
    ilocanos cook them with their dinengdeng. the young pods are much preferred because every part of it is eaten whilst the mature ones would have developed a tough tissue inside much like the malunggay skin. mom used to make a dinengdeng with this pod combined with sigarillas or batao, kalabasa, kalabasa flowers and tops, some kadios or patani if she has them, couple of tomatoes and pair the gulay with grilled fish. to prep the pod, on the cutting board, she stands the pod (already washed, top and tailed) on its side and with the sides of a knife, pounds the pod lightly to break the skin. this is done i think so that the flavours would be released while it is cooking. you can also add katuday at the end of the cooking time, just put them on top of the dinengdeng to steam. thanks for the post,mm, brings back childhood memories.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 3:35 am

  5. mrs m says:

    hi mm,
    there is a couple more veggies i’m pining to eat in my dinengdeng. have you heard of samsamping and sabidukong?
    samsamping is also a pod but much softer than bunga ng singkamas, i’m not sure if it is the young pod of the kadios and sabidukong is a flower, they are white and comes in clusters. sabidukong is also very yummy with tinolang manok.
    found the flowers once in a vietnamese produce store.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 3:46 am

  6. millet says:

    never knew you could eat those! we had a singkamas vine dripping with these pods. close to that were an ube vine that had “fruits” in the air, too (not underground, as is usual – MM, have you seen these?), and a passionfruit vine that was laden with fruit. between the three of them, they almost completely overrun our durian trees and created a thick canopy that nothing else could grow beneath. it would be nice to learn more recipes for these pods.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 7:18 am

  7. bedazzle says:

    yes, mr. MM, kinakain po ang bunga ng singkamas. ilocanos, like myself, cook this as dinengdeng with gabi soured with sampaloc. you need to pinch the ends split the pod and rub with salt then wash them before you cook them. you boil some water, add bagoong balayan, onions, you may add inihaw na tilapia or bangus then the gabi cut into cubes when the gabi is almost cooked you add the bunga ng singkamas then add the sampaloc at the end. when the sampaloc is cooked, you mash it. try this. simple country cooking.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 7:29 am

  8. Ted says:

    When i was a kid, we run around my lolo’s farm digging for unharvested singkamas after the farmers were done harvesting most of them, and i’ve seen these pods before. Never knew they were edible.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 8:12 am

  9. aiko says:

    tempura will be great!! hmmm yummy

    Nov 13, 2007 | 8:13 am

  10. zeph says:

    Yes MM, my mom uses this in her “inabraw”, which I guess (and I might be wrong in this) is the Tagalog equivalent of dinengdeng. If memory serves me correctly, labong, saluyot and fish also goes into the dish. She also sometimes cooks it with gabi like the way bedazzled described above. Pass the rice, please!

    Nov 13, 2007 | 9:42 am

  11. Liz Tolentino says:

    Bunga ng singkamas is meant to be eaten whole preferably the young pods, mature ones tends to be tough. Here in Nueva Ecija its usually cook together with saluyot and labong (bamboo shoots) seasoned with bagoong isda and soured with the juice of kalamansi…

    Nov 13, 2007 | 11:00 am

  12. DADD-F says:

    This is all very interesting!! Salamat everybody!

    Millet,we have lots of those ube vines that bear fruits aboveground. They’re great, too.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 12:28 pm

  13. Ellen says:

    this vegie is usually put into dinengdeng MM…I stayed with my ilocano aunt in san francisco last year and lo and behold she had this veggie growing in her backyard =)

    Nov 13, 2007 | 1:26 pm

  14. John (qwertz) says:

    You might weant to check out the comments on this site too: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/asianveg/msg092246591457.html

    Nov 13, 2007 | 2:14 pm

  15. jane says:

    I was about to include this in my list of 5 favorite vegetable but not sure how it’s called in Tagalog/English.
    In Pangasinan, we cook this together with any available veg like patani, string beans, kadyos. Not sure what the dish is called, probably bulanglang, goes well with shrimp or grilled fish.

    Nov 13, 2007 | 8:55 pm

  16. noemi says:

    we call it bunga ti singkams in ilocano. good for pinakbet or dinengdeng.

    Nov 14, 2007 | 1:57 am

  17. MRJP says:

    para syang snow peas, tama ba? this is the first time i saw bunga ng singkamas. i didnt even know that such a thing exists. very educational for me.

    Nov 14, 2007 | 12:55 pm

  18. Lani says:

    This is one of my favorites, too. Like many (fellow Ilocanos) here say, it is an ingredient in dinengdeng. In my house, we usually pound the pods a bit to break the thick skin because they can be a little tough, especially the more mature ones. From my experience, it is a very good source of fiber, a laxative. So don’t eat too much. :-)

    Nov 14, 2007 | 3:51 pm

  19. celi says:

    I love this veg.Actually I’m looking for seeds to plant.I agree with Liz.This thing is sooo goood!

    Jan 13, 2008 | 6:44 am

  20. Mr. T says:

    di ko alam, lason daw ang singkamas

    “It’s only in the root that jicama is edible as the rest of the plant is very poisonous – its seeds contain the toxin rotenone”

    Apr 24, 2008 | 12:36 am

  21. Gerald says:

    please be informed that patani should be avoided by mother with new born positive test for G6PD deficiency…the test is NEW BORN SCREENING…

    Apr 19, 2009 | 9:57 am


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