The Veritable Ube: Purple Yam Treats and Dishes for Those not Into Ube

The Veritable Ube: Purple Yam Treats and Dishes for Those not Into Ube

It surprises us to find out that there are some Kagay-anons who just don’t like the taste of ube. What’s there to not like with the veritable ube? Its color alone attracts food lovers all over and it has a taste and texture that makes it mix well with other ingredients, especially when made into sweet treats or desserts. What’s there not to like with the Pinoy ube… but wait, is the ube truly Filipino in nature? Time to find out. Its scientific name is Dioscorea alata and is called purple yam or water yam. It is a species of tuberous root vegetable, and is usually lavender in color, hence the common name.

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It is native to Southeast Asia and the surrounding Pacific areas like Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands, Assam, Nepal, New Guinea, and Christmas Island. It also grows in China, Africa, and Madagascar. It is wild and an invasive species in some parts of the Southern United States and U.S. Virgin Islands. In Southeast Asia it is known by a variety of names and used in a wide range of desserts and dishes such as ice cream, milk, Swiss rolls, tarts, cookies, cakes, and other pastries. In the Philippines the purple yam goes by the name, “ube.”

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It is also made into a sweetened jam or mixed in the iced dessert called halo-halo. So there, the veritable ube isn’t originally Filipino after all, but we have given the ube a Filipino identity nonetheless, due to the different treats and dishes we can think of to mix in the purple yam. For those who aren’t into ube, here are some dishes being served in many restaurants all across the country. Many local restaurants and pastry shops in Cagayan de Oro also serve their own ube dishes and treats, so we encourage you to try them. After all, as mentioned earlier, the purple yam is a vegetable, and therefore good for your health. Some are even calling it healthier and the new matcha.

Bibingkang Ube

Now being sold and served in restaurants and even as street food, this classic Pinoy favorite is made soft and creamy with ube and even shaved coconuts sprinkled and placed on top.

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The sweetness of the ube will even blend well into the salty kicks of the salted eggs that accompany the bibingka. You might even feel the saltiness and sweetness tugging at each other in your mouth.

Ube Leche Flan Cake

Imagine the veritable ube and the Pinoy leche flan mixed together. Delicious. Now, mix it up into a two-layered cake and this delicacy will really look rich and inviting, so abandon ye, all who hope to diet when you see this masterpiece.

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Surprisingly, this cake, even with three elements combined, is extremely light and smooth, but sweet, inviting, and very addictive for its sweet flavor, which can be subtle but never too overwhelming.

Ube Waffles

Ube waffles mixed with anything else? Why not? Have you tried tuna ube waffles, banana ube waffles, or chocolate ube waffles? After all the purple yam is a starchy vegetable.

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Ube waffles are not so sweet and not so salty, and can even be consumed as a snack or with your breakfast. Once you sink your teeth into one, you’ll wonder why this food wasn’t invented sooner.

Gelato Ube Ice Cream

Ube ice cream by itself is already delicious and sweet. But when it’s done in Gelato style, you’ll be going back for seconds and thirds.

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This is because the ube and its flavor is really dense due to the gelato, with the ube taste working well into the ice cream, but not too intense, and releasing a luscious chewy effect that deserves mouthfuls.

Ube Pancakes

Well if the starchy ube can be made into waffles, then the pancake isn’t far behind. And when the ube pancake is served hot and ready to eat, you can place anything on top to mix it with.

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Believe us when we say it pairs well with sweet coconut, sweet creams, sweetened sago, or sweetened banana slices. Or you can just eat it with ube jam on top. Why not? Ube on ube.

Ube Piaya

Ube piayas are now commonly being sold as “pasalubong” delicacies alongside the normal sweetened piayas.

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If you’ve tasted piayas before and enjoyed their sweet taste, the same goes with ube sweetened piayas, but with the ube’s sweetness, there is a difference that is appealing and addictive that will have you reaching into the bag for more piaya.

Ube Donuts

These are simply ube flavored donuts. Ironically, they were first tested out by Filipino pastry chefs in New York on American customers, and they loved it.

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So if you happen to stumble upon these at any donut shop, order them up by the box immediately because they go fast. They sure die in New York. The trend is slowly picking up in some restaurants in the U.S. and they’re trying out the purple yam in some of their dishes and treats.

Ube Ice Cream Sandwich

Yes some people actually perfected the ice cream sandwich first made in Singapore by using a different kind of bread and the ice cream is specially made so it doesn’t melt immediately.

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Now, add a dash of ube ice cream in it, and you have an ube ice cream sandwich heaven that’s far different from the normal ube ice cream you may have had before.

There you have it, and perhaps there may be even more we haven’t discovered yet. But after all is said and done, if you just love ube, then run on down to the nearest large bakery and chances are they may serve ube bread.

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