This easy Ube Halaya recipe makes a smooth, creamy, and rich purple yam jam that can be enjoyed as a dessert or snack. Serve it as it is or topped with 'latik' or grated cheese.
You might know it as Halayang Ube, Purple Yam Jam, or Ube Jam. Aside from being a sweet dessert or snack, you can also use it as a base when making other Purple Yam delicacies. Ube Ice cream, Ube Pandesal, Ube candies, Sapin-Sapin, Ube Champorado, and Ube cake to name some. It is also commonly used as a filling for Hopia and Buchi and as a topping for Halo-halo.
What is Ube Halaya?
Ube Halaya is a Filipino dessert made from purple yam or "Ube " as we call it. It is a variation of "Nilupak" which is a general term for starchy fruits or crops that are mashed or pounded and mixed with coconut milk and sugar.
It is usually served cold and usually topped with coconut curds or Latik or sometimes with grated cheese. A popular dessert offered to guests most specially during Christmas and New Year.
The recipe is actually really simple and so is the process. But I have to warn you though that it requires some muscle power and patience! But do not get discouraged because it is worth all the effort. And with new kitchen gadgets (special mention to my immersion blender) nowadays it can be a lot easier.
What is Ube?
Ube or purple yam is a starchy root crop with a mildly sweet, nutty, and vanilla-like taste. It grows in tropical countries and is abundant here in the Philippines. Known for its vivid violet to softer lavender hues, it is a key ingredient to many Asian treats!
If you are having difficulties in finding fresh Ube, you can always buy frozen ones in Asian markets. It also works well with this recipe.
How to choose Ube or Purple Yam?
- When you’re buying ube, try to pinch or scratch a bit of the skin off. The skin should be a very deep shade of purple.
- Get the ones that are firm with no wrinkles and soft spots, and without so many fine roots. This means they are fresher and newly dug.
- Choose medium to big ube that have a more regular shape, they are easier to peel.
Foxy Tips when making Ube Halaya Recipe
- Before peeling, scrub the dirt away using a brush and water.
- Better to use gloves while peeling and cutting so you won't stain your hands. Use a plastic cutting board or cover wooden boards with foil to avoid stains.
- The best way to peel Ube is by using your fruit or veggie peeler. Despite its tough-looking exterior, the skin is actually quite thin.
- Don't worry if your Ube is pale upon peeling, the color will deepen as it cooks. It is also normal for the freshly cut yam to have some (brownish) discoloration. If you want a really vivid color, you can add a few drops of Ube extract to your mixture.
- Use a pan with a thick bottom to prevent the mixture from burning.
- You have to constantly stir while cooking using a wooden spatula so you can scrape the bottom.
- Be careful of hot spits from the mixture when stirring.
- You can make these ahead of time! Just tightly cover the llanera with cling wrap and place it in the fridge. It will last for 3 to 5 days. If you want to keep them longer, place your Halaya in an airtight container and freeze for a month or two.
If you enjoyed this Ube Halaya recipe, try these too:
Ube Halaya Recipe (Purple Yam Jam)
- Melt the butter in a wide, deep pan over medium heat. Add the purple yam and coconut milk. Bring it to a boil while stirring occasionally. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked yam mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to turn it into a fine puree.
- Return the yam mixture back to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Turn heat to medium-low and let it simmer while stirring regularly, for another 20-30 minutes or until it becomes very thick and heavy and pulls away from the side of the pan when stirring.
- Grease 2 -3 llanera generously with butter. Divide the Ube Halaya into the llanera and let it cool down to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until cold.
- Top with Latik or grated cheese before serving.
This recipe of Ube Halaya was originally published in November 2015. Updated in December 2020 to include new photos, more tips, and a recipe video.