Ube Halaya is a popular Filipino jam or dessert made with ube or purple yam as the main ingredient. This delicious dessert is also known as purple yam jam with vibrant violet purple color. It is usually topped with grated cheese or latik (toasted coconut curds).
This Ube Halaya recipe can be incorporated in other recipes like bread, pastries and other desserts.
This ube recipe is easy to make but requires constant stirring.
What is ube
Ube is a vegetable tuber grown in the Philippines and other Asian countries with deep bright purple color. It is sweet, creamy with moister texture than regular sweet potato.
To cook ube, it is boiled, steamed or baked and eaten plain or cooked into ube jam or ube halaya which is also used as ingredient to many popular Filipino desserts like halo-halo or hopia ube. It is a staple in the Philippines often used in bread, cakes, pastries and ice cream.
I was wondering if ube can be fried, I bet I could similar to sweet potato which we call kamote cue.
Ube has been introduced in the US market a few years ago and it is becoming known world wide as plant based diet evolves. It is a healthy vegetable tuber that has many health benefits but when added to sweets, eat it in moderation.
Check this site for image of ube (purple yam) and purple sweet potato available in the US.
Substitute for ube
If you live in other parts of the world, fresh ube might not be available. I’m not sure if it is sold in California or Florida but I have not seen it in any stores.
In Florida, there are some nurseries that carry tropical plants so it is possible they might have it but I am not sure.
If you are lucky, check Asian stores in your area if they have it. It should be around sweet potatoes or other tubers.
If you really like to use the authentic ube or purple yam, frozen grated ube imported from the Philippines are available in the frozen section of Asian stores.
If you prefer fresh, you can substitute ube with Stokes Purple Sweet Potato or Okinawan Sweet Potato. These variety of tubers are very similar to ube in taste and texture.
I have used both variety in making this ube halaya recipe.
Try Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Pie, a Hawaiian dessert with some similarity to ube jam.
Note: Don’t confuse purple yam with taro which is also used in Asian cuisine. They are not the same.
What is ube halaya
Ube halaya is a popular, delicious Filipino dessert made with boiled grated ube or purple yam, butter, condensed milk or coconut milk or both and sugar. This recipe uses both coconut milk and condensed milk. It is cooked until thick and creamy.
Serve warm, room temperature or cold. I prefer it cold.
How to make ube jam smooth
The traditional way of making this dessert is by grating, mashing and stirring it well while cooking. I’ve seen them run it through a fine sieve but this is too much work.
The easiest way to do it is with an immersion blender. Once the diced or grated purple yam is added with the other ingredients, use an immersion blender to smooth the mixture.
Also, you can use a blender. Before cooking, combine the coconut milk, evaporated milk and purple yam and blend until smooth. To cook, when butter is melted, add this mixture together with the other ingredients.
Honestly, I don’t do any of these. I dice or grate the purple yam and mash it while cooking. It is soft that you can easily mash it with a kitchen spoon or utensil.
Toppings to use
Ube halaya can be consumed without any toppings. Latik (toasted coconut curd) and grated cheese are common toppings for this purple yam dessert.
Toasted pinipig or toasted coconut are toppings my mom used as well. It adds some crunchy twist to this dessert.
How to store ube jam
Refrigerate ube halaya in a well sealed container up to 5 days.
Can I freeze ube jam
Yes, in a airtight container preferably a food saver. If properly freezed, it retains its creamy texture up to a couple of months.
I usually make extra servings that I freeze to use for halo-halo, hopia ube or purple sweet potato pie.
Boil whole ube (purple yam) or purple sweet potato or Okinawan sweet potato with skin until tender. Poke it with fork in the center to check if cook. Remove from water and set it aside to cool.
Once cool, you can easily peel the skin. It is soft that you can easily dice or grate before making the halayang ube. If diced, make sure to mash it well while cooking.
I suggest using a big non-stick skillet. Making ube jam requires constant stirring so it doesn’t stick at the bottom but using non-stick will make it much easier.
Ube halaya is creamy and thick but depending on your preference, you can make it thicker and firmer.
Note: The consistency becomes thicker when it cools down. So don’t overcook it.
If using a mold (llanera), grease it lightly with butter or coconut oil from the latik (coconut granules). I usually use the butter wrapper to grease the llanera. Let the mixture cool then transfer to mold and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight then transfer to a platter.
If not using a mold, you can use any container. I am lucky to have a couple of my grandma’s decorative dessert bowls. I remember vividly as a toddler when my grandma’s relatives from Pampanga where visiting, she used this to serve ube halaya or biko kalabasa (squash rice cake).
Ube Halaya Recipe (Ube Jam)
- 2 cups cooked (grated) ube or purple yam (in the US substitute with Stokes Purple Sweet Potato or Okinawan Sweet Potato)
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- Grated cheese or latik for topping
- In a pan, preferably a non stick, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add coconut milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk and sugar. Mix and cook for 2 minutes to dissolve sugar.
- Add the cooked grated purple yam. Mix well.
- When mixture starts to boil lower heat to medium-low.
- Stirring constantly for 30 - 45 minutes or until mixture thickens and starts sticking to the kitchen utensil. Note: If heat temperature is higher it will cook quicker but make sure to stir constantly.
- Set it aside to cool. If using a mold, lightly grease llanera (mold) with butter or coconut oil and fill with ube halaya. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and transfer to a serving plate or just place it in any bowl. Note: Makes 2 small llanera not fully full.
- Ube halaya can be eaten without toppings. If desired, common toppings are latik (toasted coconut curds and grated cheese. We also use toasted pinipig (rice flakes) and toasted coconut.
- Serve room temperature or cold. Enjoy!
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