Though this week I learned that I’ve been confused. And probably wrong. But hey, what else is new???
Turns out the things that I’ve been calling “ubes” are maybe actually not ubes. One of my friends, who is is of Philippino decent, says they’re actually really hard to find fresh here in Vancouver, and that I probably have to get them frozen.
So what I’m probably using is purple sweet potatoes? Honestly, I’m still not clear as to what exactly is the difference between a purple sweet potato and a ube.
But I still like making things with them! They just make everything so pretty.
I wondered if I could do something similar, only using chia and matcha. Et voila!
This is a super simple dessert (or breakfast?) to make, and so pretty, with its colours! The matcha and the purple yam play really nicely off of each other, and the creamy yam puree adds a real richness to the pudding.
Matcha Ube Chia Pudding
1 1/4 cups non dairy milk (I used oat but coconut would also work well)
2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds (white if possible)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon matcha powder
1/4 cup maple syrup (divided)
1 cup cubed, cooked purple sweet potatoes
In a small bowl, place the chia seeds, then add 2 tablespoons maple syrup, vanilla and 1/2 cup non dairy milk. Stir well to combine. Remove half of the mixture to a separate container and stir the matcha into it.
Spoon the matcha chia mixture into the bottom of a pretty glass, and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
After 15 minutes, remove from the fridge and add the rest of the chia mixture on top.
Return to the fridge to set completely, about an hour (or more).
In a blender, puree together the purple sweet potatoes, 3/4 cup non dairy milk and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Pour a layer of this on top of your set chia pudding.
You can serve right away, or return to the refrigerator to set.
My obsession with ubes waxes and wanes, but it’s always there in the background.
Living in a city with a large Asian population helps. Vancouver is pretty in love with ubes, and they pop up in many restaurants and bakeries around the city. Elmo Baking Co does a Ube Croissant, Goldilocks does beautiful purple ube cakes, and many cafes specializing in Philippine cuisine serve Halo-Halo.
Why the obsession? First of all, it’s the colour. There are few foods in nature that have that same beautiful purple colour. Secondly, because it’s basically a purple sweet potato, it can be used in either sweet or savoury dishes. It’s pretty and practical.
Here are a few things I’ve made already from ubes:
But I was recently scrolling Instagram (as you do) and came across a fellow ‘grammer here in Vancouver who’s as obsessed with ube as I am. And we decided to both make a recipe. I think maybe originally, we thought it would be some kind of contest, but COVID has put an end to anything like that. So we both just made something and then posted them online.
I mean… I’m in awe of her photography and food styling. But also, what a great idea to fill a waffle with ube… I might try it this weekend. This would be super cool on a bubble waffle maker if you had one.
Okay, so here’s mine: Ube Swirl Bread (it’s vegan, btw).
The basic recipe is a simple yeasted dough. It’s not that hard to make. This is all about technique. And the technique isn’t really that hard, either. But in the end, it makes this really pretty, show-stopping bread that’s so delicious!
What’s your favourite ube dish? One that you make or one that you buy? Comment below and let me know so I can try it!
BTW, you can often find ubes at many of the Asian markets around the city, though I actually got mine at Whole Foods. Be sure to buy the ones that are purple all the way through. There’s a Japanese Sweet Potato that’s purple on the outside, but white on the inside, and that’s not going to give you that gorgeous purple hue.
Ube Swirl Bread
For the bread:
½ cup oatmilk
½ cup vegan butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup aquafaba
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (or one packet)
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
For the ube filling
1 cup cooked ube
½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoon coconut sugar (divided)
¼ cup dried coconut
Place the oat milk, aquafaba and vegan butter into a microwave-safe bowl and zap for about 30-45 seconds. You can warm this combination in a small saucepan on top of the stove, as well. You want your mixture to be just around 100 degrees, as if it gets much hotter than that, it will kill the yeast.
Pour the warmed milk/butter mixture into the workbowl of your stand mixer (you can do this by hand as well, it just is more work), and add the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast overtop and leave it for 5-10 minutes.
At the end of the 5-10 minutes, the yeast should have bloomed. It will smell yeasty and will be a bit frothy and bubbly.
Equip the mixer with a dough hook and add 1/3 of the flour. Mix, then add the second third of the flour and finally the last of the flour along with the salt.
Continue mixing, scraping down the sides if needed, for about 5-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and clings to the dough hook in one ball. You can also complete this step by hand-kneading if you don’t have a mixer.
Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile mash together the cooked ube (I simply peeled them, then steamed them in my instant pot for about 20 minutes, then allowed to cool), the coconut oil, the coconut milk, and one tablespoon of coconut sugar until smooth and incorporated.
Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out into a large rectangle, about 1/4″ thick.
Spread a thin layer of the ube filling all over the dough, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar and coconut.
Now roll up the dough, along the longest side, like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam to seal.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a bundt pan by greasing it with vegan butter.
With a sharp knife, cut all the way down the middle of the roll, leaving a 2″ header at the top that is not cut. Now “braid” the two halves over each other, flipping them over and under, creating a wavy pattern.
Place the bread (purple side up, of course) in a circle in your bundt pan, ad pinch the two ends together. If you don’t have a bundt pan, just make it in a regular cake pan, forming the dough into a circle.
If you like brush the top with a little oat milk that has a little bit of sugar dissolved in it for additional browning.
Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.