Homemade ube halaya! So much better than store-bought. Smooth, creamy, and lusciously rich. Perfect as a dessert, topping for halo-halo, or as an ingredient for your favorite ube-based recipes.
Ube Halaya (Ube Jam)
This ube halaya recipe is inspired by Baguio's Good Shepherd's Ube Jam. If you're lucky enough (like me hehehe) to have tried it, I say high-five! It's so so good, don't you agree?
I have tried many many versions of ube halaya and nothing came close to it–sweet, creamy, and most important of all made of fresh ube! I guess that's the secret.
How do I know it's fresh? Well, it is only sold every morning at the Baguio market. When you hold the jar, it's still warm and that's how you know it's freshly made.
The jam sells so fast that if you go there late, you might miss it and end up having to wait for the new batch.
The next morning.
Here are the key ingredients to make ube halaya.
- Purple yam or purple sweet potato - use interchangeably. Note that color may differ i.e. deepness of the purple color
- Coconut Milk - is the second most important ingredient in this recipe. Its nutty aroma is what gives "ube halaya" that distinct flavor.
- Evaporated Milk - gives the jam a rich caramel and nutty flavor
- Condensed Milk - is the main sweetener. This can be substituted with sugar but I highly recommend just using this.
- Salt - balances the sweetness of the jam.
- Butter - gives the jam a smooth consistency.
I'd like to point out that I did not use any food color in this recipe. I was lucky enough to find a sweet purple potato with such a beautiful deep purple color.
How to Make It
It's so easy! Here's how:
1. Boil and mash
- Begin by boiling the purple sweet potatoes or ube until they reach a tender consistency. Once softened, mash them into a smooth texture, and blend them with milk, coconut milk, and condensed milk for the next step of the recipe
- Use just enough water to boil with the purple yam/purple sweet potato. It doesn't have to be covered. Using too much liquid may dilute the color. You can also steam it but I find boiling to be a much faster cooking method.
- For a smooth and creamy consistency, use a blender or food processor to incorporate the ingredients.
2. Cook the ube mixture
- Cook until thick and smooth - Pour the ube and milk mixture into a wide deep pot and cook over medium-low heat.
- Stir frequently and use medium heat–note that the operative word is "frequently". Meaning not constantly. You can take a break for a minute or two. Don't hurt your arms 🙂 The goal is to prevent the jam from sticking to the pan. Patience is the key here.
- Taste and add ube flavor or ube extract as needed.
Using Ube Extract for Homemade Ube Halaya
Using ube extract for ube halaya can improve the overall flavor and aroma of the jam. This is optional and I recommend using it sparingly.
How to Use Ube Halaya
There are many uses of ube halaya aside from it being a jam. During Christmas, we Filipinos enjoy it as a dessert. I personally like it freshly made and warm while others enjoy it cold as a topping for halo-halo.
Weird as it may sound, many Filipinos also enjoy it with grated cheese. I only learned about this flavor combo quite recently. I was skeptical at first but after tasting it, I understood. It's the flavor contrast that makes it work. BASTA, MASARAP! 🙂
In modern times, this purple jam has evolved into becoming a popular ingredient for many ube-based recipes. I have personally used it to make the internet sensation ube cheese pandesal. It can also be used to make ube cakes and cookies (recipe coming soon!) and many many more!
Watch this space. More ube recipes are coming, hopefully, sooner!
Storage and Shelf-life
Store ube halaya in an airtight container, best to use a glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 5 days and 1 month in the freezer. Use a freezer-safe plastic container if freezing. Divide into smaller amounts.
Frequently asked questions
Ube is a type of purple yam. It is a root crop native to the Philippines; grown and cultivated in other parts of the world. Note that it is definitely not the same as sweet purple potato.
To know more about ube, please visit this site and this site. They are the only ones I found with the exact photo and best description of ube.
The best substitute for purple yam that I have personally used time and time again is purple sweet potato. It's much more accessible than ube purple yam.
Watch the Ube Halaya Recipe Video
Try these next
More Ube Recipes you need to try...
Ube Halaya Recipe
- Peel ube or sweet purple potato. Cut into chunks, about an inch thick. Place in a pot. Add water and cover with lid. Boil over medium heat until a fork inserted in the middle goes in easily with almost no resistance. Carefully drain out all of the water.
- Transfer to bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add coconut milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. Stir until combined. For an even smoother consistency, you can blend the mixture in a food processer or blender. Taste, add sugar if preferred.
- Add the ube mixture and simmer until it becomes thick and smooth. Stir frequently to prevent the halaya from sticking to the pan. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt, butter and ube extract, if using. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
- Carefully transfer to a heat-proof jar with lid. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Ube - Use fresh ube purple yam or fresh sweet purple potato or purple Okinawan sweet potato. Note: that this recipe has not been tested with frozen or powdered ube.
- Ube extract can be added to boost the aroma of the jam. This is optional. If using, start with ½ teaspoon and add more base on preference.
- Consistency - as the jam cools down, the consistency will get thicker.
- Storage and Shelf-life - store in an airtight container, best to use a glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 5 days and 1 month in the freezer. Use a freezer-safe plastic container if freezing. Divide into smaller amounts if preferred.
- Nutrition: around 2 tablespoons per serving–impossible to be measure accurately. Please just use this as a guide.
Originally published in May 2021. Updated on Nov 2023.
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