Ube Shopping Tips
Staples of Asian cuisine such as ginger, daikon, rice vinegar, and spicy chile sauces like Sriracha add bright, fresh flavors without lots of fuss.
Ube Cooking Tips
Sriracha has good heat but also has flavor - its mild sweetness comes from sun-ripened chili peppers as well as sugar and garlic.
UBE Brownies – a simple and easy purple yam recipe
Get your baking bowls ready for these Ube Brownies – a simple and easy purple yam recipe. It’s so deliciously delicious, it’ll knock your pastry hats off.
Ooooh-Bae Brownies! These treats should be called Ube Blondies since we’re not using any kind of chocolate. Purple-ies might be the right term to use because of the Ube/Purple Yam’s color but no one’s going to know what I’m talking about. We’ll stick to the word brownies, for now, since the term is familiar to everyone.
What is Ube/Purple Yam?
It’s a root crop used in the Philippines mainly for desserts though we also eat plain Ube roasted/steamed/boiled or slathered with butter and sugar.
What does Ube/Purple Yam taste like?
It’s flavor is mildly sweet and nutty. In fact, the taste of Ube is difficult to enhance on it’s own when used in desserts. Therefore, it’s common for Filipinos to add Ube extracts or flavorings and even purple/violet food coloring when making cakes, cookies, and ice cream.
Where can I find Ube/Purple Yam in the USA?
You don’t need fresh Ube in this recipe but in case you’re curious, Asian grocery stores in larger cities have the yams readily available. In smaller cities, it’s appearance in Asian stores is sporadic. Ube is a novelty root crop in the USA so specialty/deli brands like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and our local gourmet/organic grocery have started selling it.
Where do I buy Ube extracts or flavorings?
Here are the brands I use, how much, recipes per bottle, and links to purchase:
Since I’m an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
Butterfly Ube Flavoring = 1 ounce – 3 recipes = purchase here
McCormick Ube Flavor Extract = 20 ml = 2 recipes = purchase here
Two McCormick Ube Flavor Extract = 40 ml = 4 recipes = purchase here
What ingredients are in Ube/Purple Flavoring/Extracts?
I hate to break it to you but Ube desserts – specially ones that have the rich purple color – are not usually all-natural or organic. Since purple yam’s flavor is so mild, it’s been a practice to add Ube extracts or flavorings and even purple/violet food coloring when making cakes, cookies, and ice cream.
The flavorings or extracts are a mix of sugar and red and blue food coloring. If this is a concern, well, I’m not sure what to tell ya. It’s just how it’s done in the Philippines and we’ve enjoyed royal-purple-scrumptiously-delicious Ube/Purple Yam desserts for many, many years.
How to make Ube Brownies – a simple and easy purple yam recipe
Ingredients for Ube Brownies
- 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
- 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons ube extract/flavoring
Instructions on how to make Ube Brownies
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly grease 11 inch baking pan then line with parchment paper
- Sift dry ingredients together
- Mix with a whisk or spatula to combine, set aside
- Add sugar and melted butter in a bowl
- Mix with a whisk
- Keep mixing until until thick and lighter in color
- Add egg and ube extract
- Mix until smooth and drips evenly from whisk
- Set whisk aside and start using spatula
- Add flour gradually and fold until no traces of flour is visible
- Transfer mixture to baking pan
- Spread surface evenly with spatula
- Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until tester is clean
- For fudgy Ube brownies, bake 14-15 minutes, tester should have a few fudgy crumbs
Helpful tools to make your scrumptious Ube Brownies.
*as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
Ube Bars – Another recipe you shouldn’t missed out. Great home business you can make at home and let your kids try this simple Filipino snack bars.
Ube Bars Recipe
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 packet instant yeast
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ⅔ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. McCormick Ube flavoring
- 1 tbsp. McCormick Ube flavoring
- ½ cup Purple Yam powder
- 2 cups confectioner sugar
- 1½ cups water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a bowl, combine bread flour, instant yeast and sugar and mix till fully combined.
- In the same bowl, add milk and Ube flavoring mixed in warm water and melted butter.
- Using the stand mixer, keep mixing until the flour absorbs all the liquid.
- Remove the dough from the mixer when it turns smooth.
- Place the dough in a greased baking pan and stretch it evenly using hands or rolling pin.
- Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes or until done.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack. Let it cool and cut into rectangles or bars. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, mix the purple yam powder and water over medium heat.
- Add the purple yam flavoring, stir and bring to a boil.
- Then, add the confectioners sugar. Stir and let it simmer until it thickens.
- Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Soak the Ube bars in Ube/Purple Yam syrup.
- Shake it gently, let the excess syrup drip back on the bowl.
- Then roll the Ube bars in the dessicated coconut making sure to coat all sides.
- Transfer the Ube bars to a plate and serve with your favorite drink!
Image Source: yachie9
Looking for other Lutong Bahay Recipes to try on? Feel free to check out our ulam recipes, desserts recipes and snacks recipes.
How to bake ube cake
So this ube cake was born.
For my previous ube cakes, I used either ube extract or ube powder but now, since I have the real thing, I thought to use ube jam. And the result was an ube cake that&rsquos bursting with ube flavour I could cry.
Ube cakes are technically chiffon cakes that taste like ube but this version, while still soft, is much denser, I&rsquom thinking because of the jam which was very thick. But it is delicious nonetheless.
And like chiffon cakes, you beat the egg whites separately until stiff. Then you fold your cake batter into your egg whites.
Hopia Recipe- Munggo and Ube filling
Hopia is yet another favorite 'merienda' or snack for Filipinos. Hopia is made of thin flaky pastry, traditionally filled with mung bean paste (Munggo). But nowadays, there are more variations to choose from when it comes to the filling, most popular is the Ube or Purple yam and the one I prefer more personally.
The truth is, I've been wanting to try to make Hopia for some time now (because of course, you can not buy them here in Germany) but it somehow intimidated me, it looks too complicated. just think about those thin flaky pastry encasing the filling ..and how the h*** do you form them into that round, flat disk shape. Scary right?! But somehow I had to summon up enough courage and give Hopia a go because a special lady, named Shirley, asked for it after she tried the Ensaymada recipe I posted here some time ago (and I am really glad she liked it..wink! wink!). So after some intensive research, I was ready to make my very first Hopia.
BEAN PASTE USING RED KIDNEY BEANS
As it turns out, it was not that difficult after all. Although it does require some muscle work when rolling the dough as thin as possible and believe me I've had arm muscle pain for some days that lasted longer than my Hopia that was gone so fast it was unbelievable. but it was all worth it.
Although Shirley asked only for Hopia Munggo, I also tried making some with Ube or Purple Yam filling since I have some already made using my Ube Halaya Recipe .
I like them both and so did Armin (apparently) but I like the Ube more, aside from the taste, the texture is finer but the Hopia Munggo (I used red Mung bean) gave me some feeling of nostalgia, it brought back memories of my childhood days when I and my siblings would go to our neighboring Sari-sari store to buy Hopia for our afternoon snack.
Tips How to Make Ube Cheese Pandesal
- You may use 1 tsp ube liquid flavor or more as needed. Alternatively, use ½ cup ube powder, fresh or ube halaya, depending on which is available in your area. Please note that you may need to adjust the flour.
- For ultimate flavor, I suggest you add ½ cup ube halaya to this recipe.
- If you can't buy bread flour, just use plain flour instead.
- Make sure the milk is not too hot when proofing the yeast. Let mixture stand for about 5-10 minutes until it begins to foam vigorously.
- Remember to rise the dough inside a warm place of your house. I usually preheat the oven at 100°C for 10 minutes then turn it off and place the dough inside. This will help to raise the dough, especially in winter months.
- To make ahead, prepare the dough, cover with cling wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add the cheese filling and shape into a ball. Arrange in pan baking tray and cover with a tea towel. Allow it to rise for another 30 minutes before baking.
It sure is nice to buy it from where it originally came from, but not all people have the opportunity to travel all the way to Cavite just to be able to taste it. The solution? A homemade version of Ube Cheese Pandesal Recipe!
It will be a nice change to wake up to ube cheese pandesal instead of the usual bread that Pinoys eat for breakfast.
Not only will be a lot healthier because of the additional ingredients which are both nutritious, but kids will also love its flavor for sure!
What Is Ube?
Ube, pronounced OO-BEY, is a purple yam. If you’re from Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, you already know very well what ube is — as it’s one of the most important crops grown in the area. Fresh, it can still be difficult to find here in the U.S., but luckily for ice cream, you can use ube in its powdered form — and even a bit of ube extract (like I do!).
So, what does it taste like? It’s hard to describe — definitely lightly sweet. For me, it’s almost floral like lavender, but some describe it as almost a vanilla-y pistachio. Honestly, you just have to try it! And if you think ice cream is the only way to enjoy ube, think again. You can use it in things like donuts, cookies, and more.
The recent explosion in popularity of Trader Joe’s Ube Ice Cream (Trader Joe’s is a smaller, yet popular grocery chain here in the U.S.) caught my attention here in Los Angeles, and I thought to myself… I can do that.
What Is Ube?
Pronounced OO-BEY, is a popular crop grown in South Asia that is becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world. The taste is somewhat hard to describe to a person who has never had it, and the beautiful purple color may raise a few eyebrows. To me, it is a wonderful, lightly-sweet that reminds me of a vanilla-y pistachio.
Fresh ube may be hard to find at your local grocery, but frozen works well with this recipe as well.
Ube jam is simply a jam made from the boiled and mashed purple yam and a few other ingredients, like full-fat coconut milk and condensed milk.
Full instructions are in the video above. You can start by separating 5 eggs. (If you want the cake to be even fluffier or taller, you can use 6 eggs.) Place the egg yolks in a bowl, and the egg whites in a mixer bowl.
Place the butter, cream cheese and 1/4 cup of fine sugar into a pot over low-heat. Allow the ingredients to melt, and mix together into a beautifully smooth batter mixture.
Remove the pot from heat, and add the egg yolks into the batter mixture. Mix well, but gently.
Add the cornstarch and flour. Once again, mix well. Clumps should disappear.
Add the milk and optionally add vanilla extract or other flavors of your choice.
Mix well. The batter should be smooth and liquid-y. This is not a thick cake batter and it’s okay! Add 1 teaspoon of ube extract. Mix well again. You won’t have to strain this mixture. (See video) If you want pandan flavor, you can addd 1 teaspoon of pandan extract instead of the ube extract.
Set aside the cake batter as you beat the egg whites into stiff peaks (see below for egg beating tips). Egg white meringue requires the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. Please scroll below to see proper egg white beating steps. Properly beating egg whites into stiff peaks requires at least 8-10 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 330F. Depending on your oven, you may want to either lower the temperature to 325 or raise to 340F. Prepare a bain-marie by putting water in a deep rectangular baking pan or dish. Place into the oven.
Prepare baking pans— with these ingredients, you can bake one 8-inch cake or two 6-inch cakes. Line the bottoms of the baking pans with circular parchment paper, and the inside sides with rectangular strips of parchment paper. (Not wax paper.)
Once you achieve stiff peaks, place some beaten egg white into the batter and mix together.
Repeat the above step two more times.
You don’t want to over mix the batter. Pour the batter into the rest of the egg whites and mix together using folding techniques. You don’t want to over-mix or under mix. If you over mix, the cake will not rise. If you under-mix, your cake will be uneven. The egg white will float to the top and you’ll have meringue-like cake at the top, and a dense cheesecake at the bottom.
Pour the well incorporated, but not over-mixed batter into the baking pan(s).
Bake bain-marie style for 25 minutes 330F (Depending on your oven, you may have to adjust the temperature.) If you see the cake is not rising at all, this temperature may be too low. Raise the temperature by 10 degrees. If your cake rises meteorically, then you may have under-mixed your final batter, and your cake top will likely crack.
After 25 minutes, your cake should rise. If it has not risen yet, allow it to stay at the same temperature and give it time to rise. Once it rises nicely, crack open the oven door slightly and keep it opened for 10 seconds (approximately). Lower the oven temperature to about 245-265F, depending on your oven and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Allow your cake to rest in the oven after baking for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Be careful and use oven mitts as needed. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the cake. Place a plate over the cake and parchment paper. Flip the cake upside down so the top of it is now the bottom, while resting on the parchment paper over the plate. Remove the cake from the pan by sliding it out, or gently shaking it out.
Remove the wet parchment paper from the cake, replace the bottom parchment paper of the cake.
Now place another plate— the presentation or serving plate, on top of the cake. It should be on top of the bottom of the cake. Flip the cake again, carefully.
Play with the bouncy jiggly-ness of the cake. Serve when still warm, or chill in the fridge. It won’t be bouncy or fluffy after chilling though!
The Wonderful World of Ube: What It Is and Sweet Purple Recipes
Not the same as purple sweet potato, the starchy purple yam is used often in desserts, especially in Halo-Halo, the Philippines' chilled showstopper. But there's more to ube than meets the eye. Find out what it is, and what it isn't how to cook with it and how to store them
First thing: Ube isn't sweet potato, it's yam - read on and you'll soon know all the differences. Next thing: almost every single Filipino restaurant in the archipelagic country has some form of Ube (pronounced as oo-bae) in their kitchens. That’s how well-loved this vibrant purple yam is, especially in classic Filipino desserts like Halo-Halo. Ask any local where you can find this icy-cool, creamy dessert and the nearest option is never more than a few steps away.
Whether you have grown up with this tuber vegetable in your backyard or completely new to this next-superfood-to-be, we’ve got some pretty interesting fun facts and uses for Ube that will whet your appetite and curiosity!
It's a superfood
There is a good reason we are drawn to the bright amethyst hue of Ube. Their unique shade actually indicates the high concentration of anti-oxidant anthocyanin present. This plant compound provides anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and blood-pressure reduction benefits, which is shared by super-fruits like pomegranate and blueberries.
A modest 100 grams of this purple yam packs 40% of your daily needs for Vitamin C! If you don’t already know, Vitamin C is essential in iron absorption and boosting immunity. Enjoying Ube in the long run leads to greater protection from cancer and cell damage, plus it improves your gut health. That’s right, when you break apart that fibrous purple yam, that complex, resistant starch within actually promotes the growth of good gut bacteria, Bifidobacteria. Before you rush off to buy a tub of Ube ice cream though, do note that many Ube desserts have a lot of added sugar and undesirable calories. Make your Ube treats at home to moderate the less healthy additions or pair them with lean protein and complex carbs like quinoa to really reap the benefits of a wholesome meal.
What ube is, and what it isn't
Okinawan sweet potatoes, with a gorgeous purple interior and often best eaten just roasted or steamed.
If you are like us, you might have held Purple Sweet Potato, Taro or Okinawan Sweet Potato (pictured) in your hands once upon a time at the market, and mistaken it for Ube.
Sweet Potatoes: Purple Sweet Potato or Okinawan sweet potato can be easily distinguished by their lighter exterior (colors range from pale copper to purple) and smoother, almost slick skin. Ube yam though, is different. It has a rough, bumpy texture that resembles a tree-bark, with dark brown skin. Taros might also have rough, brown exteriors, but their shapes are generally rounder (like ovals).
When you slice them open, all these root vegetables also differ in their flesh color, and it’s another way to determine whether you have Ube in your hands. Taro is typically white inside, and might turn a little purplish-grey when steamed, but that’s about as vibrant as it gets. Purple sweet potato are an overall rich violet in color within, and Okinawan sweet potatoes have dark blue-ish purple flesh. As for Ube itself, a cross-section of this yam reveals a splotchy light purple and white interior (colors range from very light purple, almost white to medium purple).
Taro, characterised by a rough texture, and speckled, off-white colour
Sweet potatoes, as its name suggests, are sweeter than yams, and are entirely different root vegetables. Taro is slightly sweet, starchy root vegetable – not yam. It’s easy to get confused though, as Taro’s name in other languages (Ñame or Malanga in South America or Gabi in the Philippines) translates to yam in English, despite it not being of the yam family. As for our main star Ube, it has a mellow, nutty taste that resembles vanilla, and contains more moisture than sweet potatoes.
The next time you go shopping for Ube, note its exterior and shape, and the typical telltale specks within when you cut it up at home to determine whether you have a real yam or not! Or do a taste test for its unique nutty, vanilla-like flavors.
How to cook with ube
Apart from being a staple in Halo-Halo, there are plenty of other pastry, cookie, cake and jams possibilities with Ube. Mix it up with coconut sport or macapuno to create a lovely, fluffy and beautiful Ube Macapuno Pandesal (pictured). Or combine Ube with Mochiko or Japanese glutinous rice flour to create little Ube Mochi treats that will be the highlight of any dessert table.
To create Ube Halaya or Halayang Ube as a base for your Ube ice cream, pastries or pudding, you just have to grate your yam, before adding brown sugar, condensed milk and evaporated milk in a pot or pan greased with butter. Stir till you’ve got the desired texture and its ready to be used as a jam spread or stored as a base ingredients for your future baked goods in an air-tight container within your fridge (best kept for a week at maximum).
Sweet desserts aren’t the only things you can create with Ube. Mash it with regular potato to create a filling mashed side for your steak, fish fillet or pork chops or stuff it in Savory Ube Pierogies (dumplings).
Choosing the best ube
For the best Ube, pick the ones that are firm all around, with no squishy spots. Even though the skin is rough like a tree bark, it shouldn’t be too wrinkled like an old cucumber. Good yams should be free of bruises, soft spots and discoloration. Be careful when handling fresh yam as the inner flesh may cause irritations on more sensitive skins.
How to store ube
Contrary to most vegetables, Ube should not be stored in the fridge, as this encourages “sweating”, which accelerates the decaying process. Stash it away in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area of your kitchen and properly stored yams will last you about 3 weeks.
Having this easy to follow the best recipe is helpful enough as a guide in executing beautiful cuisines. Before, only the elder could cook these traditional snacks. But now, through this recipe, such a magnificent masterpiece is within reach.
Now that you know how to prepare the best cuchinta ever, you can find it as easy as making waffles. So, what are you waiting for? Ditch into the nearest groceries and buy your ingredients. Have your version of this sweet dessert. Now you can prepare your own at the comfort of your home any time you want with your loved ones.