Once in a while, someone would gift us with ube jam (purple yam jam) in a clear mason jar. Its deep purple hue was pretty to the eyes but it was the delicious sweet and nutty flavor that was truly tempting. We’d eat it off a spoon or spread it on bread and it was delicious. It is one of those things that make Filipinos abroad homesick for the Motherland. It is a flavor from our past, from our childhood.
So during a visit to the Philippines years ago, I was happy to introduce my children to the food I grew up with – like ube. In an effort to get my then-3 year old son to try this exotic new ice cream flavor, we told him it was “Monster Throw-up.” And what little boy isn’t excited by all things monster let alone gross-sounding like vomit? Right? Well, it worked! Since then, the purple colored “Monster Throw-Up” otherwise known as UBE ice cream has become my both my kids’ favorite!
So when I heard that the former food truck, Buttermilk, created an Ube product, I was all over it.
First came the baking mix.
Buttermilk Inc, which first started as a food truck in Los Angeles, has a Purple Yam (Ube) Baking Mix. Pastry Chef Gigi Pascual of Buttermilk Inc. created the Ube mix to pay tribute to her Filipino roots. Ube or Purple Yam is often compared to and mistaken for the Asian taro root. But while they are both associated with the color purple, it is ube that is actually a dark natural color while taro is actually white with food coloring. Also, taro is a tuberous root vegetable that grows on a vine above the ground while yams grow under ground. Ube is a major crop and food source in and from the Philippines. It is used in desserts such as ice cream, rolls, tarts, cakes etc.
Next came the donuts
Not too long ago, I attended a media tasting events for…wait for it… ube DONUTS! In an exclusive partnership with Buttermilk Inc., Friendly Donuts in Orange County, created a new Purple Yam (Ube) Donut using the mix. The family owned shop located in the city of Orange, is known for their Fresh Strawberry-Filled Cream Donuts and Dossants (Croissant Donuts).
Behold…the purple one! Ube/Purple Yam Donut
Glazed with a hint of blueberry flavor, the nutty purple yam taste is in the dough. While it may be a tad sweet for some, this could be one way Filipino food can find its way to the mainstream. Give it a try.