Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe is a dessert that is made from grated and boiled purple yam which is locally known as ‘Ube’ in the Philippines. Besides the purple yam jam (Ube Halaya), many different desserts such and pastries such as ice cream, tarts, and cakes make use of this root crop. Halaya (en español: jalea), directly translates to jelly or jam, but it is hardly a traditional jelly or jam.
I know I basically say this is every post that I upload, but let’s face it, if it not one of my favourites then I wouldn’t be posting the recipe online! Anyway, this is also one of my favourite Filipino desserts besides Leche Flan. Here in Brunei, you can find this root crop in the local markets known as ubi belayar ranging from $3.00 to $5.00, and sometimes even $7.00 per kilo especially if it has been newly harvested (you just have to shop around to find the stall that sells for much cheaper). We managed to buy some from an old man selling them for $3.00/kg and the root still looked fresh.
I am not sure of how readily available the purple yam is in various countries, but I am aware that you can buy ready-made boiled and grated purple yam in Asian stores. Having a prepared product such as this definitely saves time in the kitchen, but if it’s definitely available raw from the markets, I definitely recommend making it from scratch and burn some calories in the kitchen with this dish! In the past, I have found that by just grating and pounding the flesh, you still get lumps of the yam in your end result, and therefore not as smooth. We therefore pass the flesh through a sieve as well to get rid of any remaining lumps. A lot of work, but a stellar end result; smooth and creamy lump-free halaya!
PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 10 MINS | SERVES 8-10
- 2.5kg purple yam, skin on, thoroughly washed and scrubbed
- 1 can (395g) condensed milk
- 125g unsalted butter, chilled
- Submerge the purple yam in a very large pot (the largest you have!) of hot water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the purple yam for 30-45 minutes or until the yam is soft and tender. If you don’t have a pot big enough to fit the yam, you may cut it on half (or quarters if needed).
- Once tender, remove from the pot and set aside to cool down before peeling the skin off.
- Working it batches, finely grate the purple yam. Once you’ve done that, get out your mortar and pestle and get pounding! Once you’re done with the pounding, get you sieve out and press the mashed purple yam through the sieve. This ensures that your ‘jam’ is smooth and there are no lumps in your mixture. This is probably the most labour-intensive part of the recipe!
- Next, heat a large cooking pot on low and add in the butter to melt.
- Once the butter has completely melted, add in the condensed milk and stir well. Add the purple yam in and stir occasionally so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the texture or the mixture becomes really thick (about 20-25 minutes). When cooked, turn the heat off and let it sit in the cooking pot for another half hour before transferring them into moulds/containers.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours, then serve and enjoy with family and/or friends!
PS: It was very hard as to not resist the temptation to wrap this yam jam in spring roll wrappers as an experiment to see if they would work just as well as wrapping leche flan. Guess what? It was successful! There’s this phrase in Tagalog that you would use when you have too much of something that you get fed up, but it’s quite the opposite when you have it wrapped in spring roll pastry; it becomes “hindi nakakasuya”. Anyway, basically add about a teaspoon or two of purple yam jam on top of a spring roll wrapper together with a few strips of fresh coconut; then fold, locking the wrapper on each side. Freeze it overnight before frying and viola! Crispy Fried Ube Halaya. You’re welcome.
– Ally xx