Purple Yam known as Dioscorea alata, and many other names, is a species of yam, a tuberous root vegetable, that is bright lavender in color. People sometimes confused this with taro and the Okinawa sweet potato.
In my country, the Philippines, Purple yam is known as ube we used this in a variety of desserts, as well as a flavor for ice cream, milk, Swiss rolls, tarts, cookies, cakes, and other pastries. It is eaten as a sweetened jam called ube halayà, which is a popular ingredient in the iced dessert called halo-halo or just eaten by itself.
Yes, this is a starch on starch dessert. So if you are on a diet this is not for you.
Ube Halaya is a dessert usually serve in the Philippines for special occassions. You'll see this serve at Fiestas, most of the time. One thing about us Filipinos, we'll find any excuse to have a celebration. There's even this ridiculous thing young people do now. MONTHSARY's!!! They celebrate monthly anniversaries since the first day they dated or married, or celebrate their children's birthday every month until the baby turns one.
For some who have not tried Ube/purple yam, it will sound weird, unusual, or bizarre.
It taste a bit like sweet potato.
When made into ice cream it has a similar taste to red bean ice cream but has a smoother consistency.
So next time you visit an Asian Market look in the freezer, and see if you can find Ube Ice Cream. Be a wee bit adventurous and try it.
In the United States it will be hard to find fresh Purple Yam, you'll mostly find frozen grounded purple yam (labeled UBE) in the freezer aisle of your local Asian markets.
I won't be able to share with you my recipe for Ube Halaya because this is a dessert we sell at Dulceria Maria. We keep our recipes well guarded at Dulceria Maria, it's locked in a vault. ;)
Here's my bestfriend's recipe that I can share with you.
2 bags of Frozen Ube (Purple Yam), thawed
2 cans condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
2 sticks of unsalted butter
- In a medium size pan preferably non-stick, add and melt butter in medium heat.
- Add the condensed milk. Blend well.
- Add the Ube/purple yam.
- Adjust the heat to low.
- Continue mixing the ingredients for about 20-30 minutes, or until it is a thick and sticky consistency.
- Add the evaporated milk a little at a time, and continue to stir for another 15 minutes.
- Let cool. Transfer to a mold or you can just keep it in an airtight plastic container.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Make sure you constantly stir, it coagulates and dries easily.
- I like to put the ube mixture right after it has cooled in the food processor to get a smoother consistency.