Ube Flavour

Ube flavour is taken from purple yam. It is similar to sweet potato in flavour. But has nutty, vanilla notes as well.

Ube is a truly unique and versatile ingredient that has been capturing hearts and taste buds globally. In this guide, we will look at the origins, characteristics, and uses of Ube Flavour.

You can buy Ube purple sweet potato spread here.


Introduction to the World of Ube Flavour

What is Ube?

Ube is a purple yam originally from the Philippines, scientifically known as Dioscorea alata. It's renowned for its striking violet colour and sweet, nutty taste.

The tuber is not only a feast for the eyes but also a staple in Filipino cuisine, where it has been used for centuries.

Ube flavour, derived from this yam, has gained popularity worldwide for its unique taste and vibrant hue, which adds a visual pop to any dish. Unlike its more common relatives, the white and orange yams, ube purple sweet potatoes are particularly noted for its deep violet flesh.

When processed, it's often turned into ube jam, or combined with coconut milk. It can be used in sweet or savory dishes.

Origins of Ube Flavour

The history of ube flavour begins in the Philippines, where the ube yam has been a cultural icon and a culinary staple for generations. It’s deeply woven into the fabric of Filipino festivities and everyday life.

Ube flavor's roots can be traced back to Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. Over time, this vibrant tuber has traversed the globe, and its distinct flavour profile has been embraced in various forms.

The traditional use of ube in Filipino desserts such as 'halo-halo' and 'ube halaya' laid the groundwork for its widespread popularity. As Filipino cuisine gained international recognition, ube flavour started appearing in modern culinary trends, capturing the attention of food enthusiasts and chefs alike.

Its expansion into global markets has led to a surge in ube-flavoured products, from ice cream to pastries, showcasing its versatility and appeal.

The Science Behind Ube Flavour

The Unique Taste Profile of Ube

Ube's taste profile is as distinctive as its vivid purple colour. It presents a subtle sweetness, akin to white chocolate or vanilla, with a smooth, creamy texture that is highly pleasing to the palate.

This sets it apart from other root vegetables and makes it particularly suited for desserts. The flavour is also marked by hints of nuttiness, often compared to the taste of roasted sweet potatoes or potato with a touch of coconut.

This complex but mild flavour composition allows ube to stand out in a variety of dishes, complementing other ingredients without overpowering them.

Its natural sweetness means that ube can reduce the need for added sugars in recipes, contributing to a more balanced and nuanced dish.

The unique taste profile of ube makes it a favourite among chefs looking to create innovative and memorable culinary experiences.

How Ube Flavour is Extracted

Extracting ube flavour involves a process that brings out the best of its natural essence. The earthy yam is first cleaned, peeled, and then boiled or steamed until tender. This cooking process not only softens the yam but also intensifies its sweet flavour. Once cooked, the yam is grated or mashed to create a fine, smooth texture.

In commercial settings, this soft mash is further processed to produce concentrated flavour extracts, powders, or pastes. These forms of ube are then used as ingredients in a myriad of products, allowing for the distinct ube taste to be infused into diverse culinary creations.

The extraction process is key to preserving the ube's characteristic hue and taste, ensuring that when the flavour is added to recipes, it imparts the genuine ube experience that enthusiasts seek.

Incorporating Ube Flavour in Cuisines

Ube in Traditional Filipino Cuisine

Ube has been a cornerstone in Filipino cuisine for a very long time, with its use dating back to pre-colonial times. It is most commonly used in desserts and sweet treats, where its natural sweetness and vibrant colour can shine.

One of the most iconic Filipino desserts featuring ube is 'ube halaya', a sweet jam that's rich and creamy, often eaten on its own or as a spread. Another classic is 'halo-halo', a layered shaved ice dessert that includes ube ice cream or ube halaya among its varied ingredients.

Ube also makes its way into 'puto', a type of steamed rice cake, and 'bibingka', a rice cake that's traditionally served during Christmas. These dishes showcase ube's ability to imbue traditional Filipino sweets with its unique flavour and aesthetic appeal, making it a beloved ingredient across generations.

Ube's Global Culinary Influence

The appeal of ube flavour has transcended the borders of the Philippines, making a mark on the global culinary stage. Its unique taste and striking colour have inspired chefs around the world to experiment with ube in unconventional ways.

You can now find ube in everything from artisanal ice creams and sophisticated pastries to lattes and cocktails. In the United States, for instance, ube doughnuts and cakes have become a trendsetting sensation.

sian fusion restaurants often incorporate ube into their desserts, creating a blend of Eastern and Western flavours. Vegan and health-conscious food producers also use ube as a natural purple colourant and flavour enhancer for a variety of plant-based offerings.

This global culinary influence highlights ube's versatility and ability to adapt to different tastes and dietary preferences, securing its place as a sought-after ingredient in international kitchens.

Exploring Ube Flavour in Desserts

Ube Ice Cream: A Fan Favourite

Among the many sweet applications of ube, ice cream stands out as a fan favourite. Ube ice cream is celebrated for its creamy texture and rich, vanilla-like taste mixed with a hint of coconut.

Its natural purple colour makes it visually striking and a popular choice for social media shares. Ube ice cream is often used in a variety of dessert creations, such as milkshakes, sundaes, and ice cream sandwiches, adding a playful and exotic twist to these classic treats.

Additionally, its unique flavour profile pairs well with other popular dessert ingredients like macapuno (coconut sport), leche flan (caramel custard), and even cheese, offering a delightful contrast of flavours. The popularity of ube ice cream is a testament to ube flavour's ability to reinvent traditional desserts and appeal to a broad audience, resonating with those who seek a taste of the tropics.

Ube Pastries: A Delicious Twist

Bakeries around the world are embracing ube flavour, using it to add a delicious twist to pastries. Ube lends a subtle sweetness and moistness to baked goods, which makes it an excellent ingredient in cakes, breads, and pastries.

Its natural purple hue gives a visually stunning appearance to items like ube croissants, tarts, and Swiss rolls. Creatively paired with ingredients such as matcha, chocolate, or fruit fillings, these ube flavoring pastries not only stand out for their taste but also for their aesthetic appeal.

The rise in popularity of purple ube pastries can be seen in the increasing presence of ube-flavoured options in mainstream coffee shops and boutique bakeries alike.

This trend is also bolstered by the growing number of people looking to try new and Instagram-worthy food experiences. Ube's versatility in the realm of desserts continues to endear it to both pastry chefs and dessert lovers worldwide.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Ube

The Health Boost from Ube

Ube isn't just a treat for the senses; it offers a variety of health benefits too. This purple yam is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. It is high in vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system, and vitamin B6, which plays a vital role in metabolism and brain health. Ube is also packed with antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, the pigments that give it its characteristic purple colour.

These compounds have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and age-related cognitive decline. The fibre content in ube supports digestive health and can help in managing blood sugar levels, making it a beneficial addition for people with diabetes. With its low glycemic index, ube is a nutritious choice for those looking to maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.

Is Ube Flavour as Nutritious as Ube?

When discussing the nutritional value of ube flavour, it's important to distinguish between natural ube and products that are ube-flavoured. Pure ube in its natural form retains all its vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

However, ube-flavoured products may not offer the same health benefits, especially if they contain artificial colours or flavours. These products often have added sugars and lack the fibre found in the whole yam.

To reap the full health benefits of ube, it's best to consume it in its natural state or through minimally processed forms like ube powder or puree, which retain more of the yam's nutrients. When enjoying ube-flavoured foods, consider them as part of a balanced diet, and check the ingredients list for the presence of actual ube extract versus synthetic flavourings.

This way, you can enjoy the taste of fresh ube while still getting a nutritional boost.

Shop Ube here at Sous Chef!


Purple Yam Spread - Ube, 340g

Purple yam spread is a favourite in the Philippines. Use it in baking and desserts or serve it as a jam on toast! The striking violet colour is instantly recognisable. Use it to make a striking ice cream, or serve in halo halo – a classic shaved ice dish.



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