Everything You Need to Know About Ube

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Purple Yam, known locally arsenic Ube, for waste a nationalist marketplace successful Tagaytay.

Credit: Michael Edwards / Getty Images

The connection “ube” (pronounced oo-bay) seems ubiquitous nowadays. At Trader Joe’s, you’ve astir apt seen items for illustration Ube Mochi Pancake & Waffle Mix and Ube Ice Cream. In immoderate restaurants and pastry shops crossed nan U.S., particularly successful areas pinch Filipino communities, you whitethorn find ube utilized successful purple-tinted baked goods, desserts and moreover burger buns. 

While ube has grown successful fame successful nan U.S. during nan past decade, it’s really agelong been a staple of Filipino cuisine.

This starchy guidelines rootlike is commonly utilized successful nan Philippines to make desserts and confections. But what precisely is ube and what does it sensation like? Is location immoderate caller ube sold successful nan U.S.? Learn much astir this unsocial Filipino constituent and really to usage it. 

What Is Ube?

Ube is simply a vibrant purple tuber categorized nether nan guidelines rootlike family, akin successful texture and sensation to communal saccharine potatoes and yams. Ube originates from Southeast Asia, and is considered a staple constituent successful nan Philippines, wherever it’s commonly utilized to make various desserts and sweets.

What Does Ube Taste Like? 

Ube (meaning “tuber” successful Tagalog) is simply a tuberous purple guidelines rootlike that originates from Southeast Asia. It is besides known arsenic dioscorea alata, a type of yam that’s autochthonal to nan Philippines. Dioscorea alata is commonly referred to arsenic purple yam, h2o yam, aliases violet yam.

Ube has a people saccharine flavor, and softens erstwhile it bakes. Ube is commonly utilized successful Filipino cuisine to make various desserts and confections. Because caller ube tin beryllium difficult to source, astir recipes for it — like Ube Tiramisu, Ube Swirl Ice Cream, and Ube Crinkle Cookies — telephone for a byproduct, specified arsenic ube extract aliases ube spread.

Where Does nan Word “Ube” Come From?

There’s not a batch of accusation arsenic to wherever nan word ube comes from, but according to Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, a Filipino nutrient historian, “the first Tagalog and Spanish dictionary published successful 1613 mentioned ube (or uvi) arsenic a type of camote (sweet potato) that belonged to nan Convolvulaceae family. But later on, it was classified a yam, meaning it is of nan Dioscorea family,” arsenic quoted successful nan Culture Trip.

What Does Ube Look and Taste Like? 

Fresh ube has grayish-brown, bark-like tegument connected nan outside, pinch a style ranging from information to cylindrical. When you trim it, you’ll find a deep, acheronian purple soma that’s watery successful appearance.

The tuber guidelines rootlike cannot beryllium eaten earthy because it contains immoderate toxins, truthful it’s highly recommended to navigator it thoroughly. When cooked, nan texture becomes soft and sticky, and it has a sweet, somewhat earthy, and nutty flavor. 

“Fresh ube has nan spirit of a rich, earthy vanilla pinch immoderate notes of coconut,” says Abi Balingit, writer of nan cookbook Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed. “Its spirit is rather delicate, truthful I for illustration to navigator it down pinch coconut beverage and condensed milk.”

Ube is not nan aforesaid arsenic taro. The 2 foods are often confused for each other, and while they do person somewhat akin tastes, nan 2 are very different foods. Taro is simply a guidelines rootlike grown from a tropical taro plant.

Taro has a brownish outer tegument and a achromatic soma pinch purple specks. Unlike ube, taro is not 1 of nan astir 600 varieties of yams. When taro is cooked, it becomes soft, drier, and somewhat grainy, and it turns ray purple. It tastes milder and sweeter than ube. 

Can You Buy Fresh Ube successful nan U.S.?

Fresh ube is seldom disposable successful nan U.S., arsenic they are considered an invasive species. If you get lucky, you whitethorn beryllium capable to find caller ube successful nan nutrient sections of Filipino and Asian market stores, though stiff ube is overmuch easier to source. Byproducts of nan guidelines rootlike are besides readily available, specified arsenic ube extract and sweetened condensed milk. You tin besides find it successful a dispersed shape called ube halaya (‘halaya’ comes from nan Spanish jalea, which intends “jelly”). These forms activity awesome successful baking and dessert-making.

Ube is simply a awesome measurement to springiness colour to foods, including cakes, crystal creams, pastries, and baked goods. Fresh ube tin beryllium prepared successful different ways: boiled, baked, mashed, aliases fried. It tin beryllium utilized successful a assortment of dishes successful spot of different starchy vegetables, including soups, stir-fries, and stews. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park