Halayang Ube ( say ‘hah-lah-yang oooh-beh’) also known as haleya is purple yam jam. As mentioned in previous posts, ube is a tuber that grows above ground, commonly found in Asian countries. On the outside, the ube or purple yam looks like a long, large potato with a rough, brown outer skin. Once peeled or sliced, the inside reveals a pink, smooth flesh similar to that of a potato.
What makes the ube so irresistible? At first glance, one cannot imagine the marvelous dishes or desserts you can make out of this. Who knew that a tuber and a vegetable could make the most divine pan de sal, cookies, pies or tarts and even marshmallows like I have done?
The purple yam’s peak season is during the last months of the year. I have fond memories of Halayang Ube given as gifts during the holidays. As a child, I used to look forward to the large mass of purple, smooth shiny, heavy and heavenly jam that looked like a thick paste, encased in banana leaves atop a large basket and delivered to our home.
The best halayang ube I remember was the one my parents bought from Good Shepherd Convent in Baguio (a mountain city in the Philippines). It was made by nuns and nothing else in the world has come close to the splendid sweetness of that jam.
Whenever our family brought back a jar of halayang ube from Good Shepherd, I can’t forget how we all dived into it relentlessly. The dairy-like creamy flavor of the ube was my nirvana. It could not be replaced by any other guilty indulgence – not peanut butter, nutella, cookie butter, none of these could match the crazy, addictive feeling we all got once we had a jar of ube jalaya in the house.
How do you eat halayang ube? Once you see a jar, it is self explanatory. No need for anyone to urge you to have some. Stare down at the large jar of voluptuous dark purple, thick jam. Take a large spoon and plunge it into the floral-like fragrant jam. Embed the spoon into the soft, thick paste. Scoop out a mammoth overflowing serving that will fit in your mouth. Savor it. Roll your eyes in reverie. Relish the smooth, velvety texture. Allow the sweetness with a hint of almond-like flavors to overpower you. Feel the head rush from the sugary sweetness and smile like you won first prize. Repeat the process. Dig in again. And again. And again.
Halayang Ube: Purple Yam Jam
Halayang ube or also called haleya, is a popular Filipino dessert made from boiled purple yams. If you finish the jar all by yourself, try not to feel guilty. We all have done it, too. If it will make you feel better, here’s a recipe for homemade halayang ube. Once cooked and stored in jars, be sure to have a good hiding spot in the refrigerator for this one. You’ll want a place to keep your own stash. It’s ube and in Filipino homes, this is always an endangered jar. Serve the ube halaya as a dessert on its own. Or place it on top of halo-halo desserts, ice creams, pies or even cakes. This recipe was slightly adapted from the ube cream found in ‘Memories of Philippine Kitchens’ by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan (from the Blueberry-Ube Tart recipe of their cookbook). This makes 2 cups of halayang ube.
- Medium-sized, heavy stock pot
- 16 ounces boiled ube or purple yam pre-boiled, mashed (can be found frozen from Asian markets),
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- If using frozen ube: Thaw the frozen boiled ube at room temperature. (Do not use the microwave to thaw.)
- In a medium-sized, heavy stock pot, combine the boiled ube, granulated sugar, coconut milk and condensed milk. Stir and blend till ingredients are mixed together.
- Over medium heat, stir the ube mixture and cook till it becomes thick. Stir continuously. Do not leave the stock pot unattended or the mixture will burn. Stir the mixture slowly for about 30 to 35 minutes till the purple yam jam comes off the sides of the pot.
- If the medium heat becomes too intense while stirring and cooking, lower heat to simmer. The coconut milk should not curdle.
- At the last 5 minutes of cooking, when ube jam has thickened, add the butter to make the jam shiny. After the jam is cooked, remove the stock pot from the stove top and cool on the counter.
- Store ube in glass jars that have been washed thoroughly and sterilized. Keep refrigerated. This keeps for a week up to ten days in the refrigerator.
- Recipe notes: if using purple yam from scratch, boil the ube till it is soft, about 35 minutes. When cooked and soft, peel the ube. Grate the boiled ube and add as an ingredient to the Halayang Ube according to directions above, but be ready to cook the jam by ten minutes longer than the above (total 45 minutes cooking stove top). Please note the fresh ube or purple yam is abundant and easy to find in the Philippines. Here in the USA, the fresh tuber is not readily available, so I buy the frozen pre-boiled pack in Asian groceries.
- Update - Instant Pot Halayang Ube:For my recipe of Instant Pot Halayang Ube, find it in my newest cookbook "Instant Filipino Recipes" by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. This is a collection of classic Filipino dishes cooked in the Instant Pot, or any brand of multicooker. My cookbooks are sold worldwide in paperback or Kindle format on Amazon. CLICK HERE to buy on Amazon.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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