If you're on social media and you love following desserts, you've probably seen beautiful purple pastries and confections on your feed. Chances are the tasty treat you were looking at was made with ube! If you have no idea what that is or you're just looking to learn more about the delicious tuberous root vegetable, don't worry, we got you!
What is Ube?
Ube (pronounced ooh-beh) is a purple yam that originates from the Philippines. At first glance, it may look very similar to an orange sweet potato, but when you cut the ube open, you'll see the ube's signature lavender-purple color. It looks beautiful and we guarantee that it's just as delicious as it looks.
Ube has long been a staple in Filipino Cuisine and is typically used as a key ingredient in Filipino desserts. It is most commonly made into a jam called ube halaya. Ube halaya is a sweetened spread made with ube, butter, sugar and a combination of evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk (or coconut milk). With the halaya as a base, there are so many directions you can go into creating a tasty treat.
Currently, ube has gained international popularity and is often featured in all kinds of desserts and snacks. From traditional Filipino favorites like halo-halo, pandesal, polvoron, ensaymada, and hopia to western mainstays like ice cream (our favorite!), pies, pancakes, cookies, cakes, ube has taken the world by storm and chefs from every background and even mainstream grocery stores have been inspired to make ube treats for all to enjoy. What a time to be alive!
Ube Ice Cream on an Ube Waffle Cone
What Does Ube Taste Like?
Compared to the orange sweet potato, this purple yam has a naturally sweeter taste that is mild. You'll also find hints of nuttiness and similarities to vanilla. Author/Chef Nicole Ponseca beautifully describes the ube flavor as an "amalgamation of vanilla with the nuttiness of pistachio." This combination is what makes ube such a natural fit for dessert dishes and sweet treats.
Don't completely box ube into the sweets category though, because ube can hold it's own in savory dishes. Dishes like Rezel Kealoha's Vegan Savory Ube Pierogies and Foxy Folksy's Ube Cheese Pandesal are just a couple examples that showcase the versatility of the purple wonder.
How Healthy is Ube?
Good news! Ube on it's own is pretty healthy! Ube has a nutritional profile that is similar the the orange sweet potato. That means it's got an abundance of healthy carbs, vitamins, and fiber. Recent studies have also shown that ube contains extra-high levels of antioxidants which can be beneficial for our overall health. However, please keep in mind that ube is usually prepared in dishes that contain high amounts of sugar and fat. So just remember that, like with most dessert dishes, it is best to consume ube flavored desserts and sweets in moderation.
Extra Note: Sweet potatoes are a common staple as side dishes in healthy weekly meal prepping. Since ube has a very similar nutritional profile to the orange sweet potato, it's very possible to make healthy ube side dishes to compliment your lunch!
What's the Difference Between Ube and Taro?
Ube & Taro
Ube and taro are often mistaken for each other because they are both root vegetables and are utilized found in Asian cuisine. Taro (Gabi in Tagalog) is commonly mistaken to be an all purple vegetable due to taro powders used in desserts and drinks having a purple color. In actuality, when you cut open a taro, you'll see that it is white with little swirls of pinkish-purple peppered throughout.
Another difference, is that taro contains a more earthy flavor with very mild sweetness. This makes taro more suited for savory dishes. For example, Filipino cooking utilizes taro in popular Filipino Soup, Sinigang, to give it a complimentary creamy texture. Additionally, taro leaves are a commonly used ingredient in Filipino dishes such laing. as With that said, a good Taro Milk Tea Boba shows some of taro's versatility.
Where Can I Find Ube and Ube Recipes?
You've come to the right place! Here at Sarap Now, we are obsessed with ube and we're so happy we can make it available for the whole world to try! You can find our whole selection of ube ingredients, snacks and treats here.
We're also constantly updating our recipes page and it features plenty of ube recipes! You can find all our recipes, including ube based recipes here.
Ready to dive in? Great! We recommend that you start by trying out making ube halaya. The options become endless from there!
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot! We love talking all things ube!
Ube in Social Media