Thursday, December 24, 2009

Purple Yams

These yams (Dioscorea alata) are known locally as ube. Their flesh is bright purple, and they are delicious.

Eaten like this, roasted (actually whacked into a microwave oven for 3-4 minutes) and slathered with butter, salt, and pepper, they easily beat a roast potato.

I haven't quite worked out yams; they are very similar to Camote or Colibri (Ipomaea batatas) sweet potatoes, and I sometimes suspect that Lindo, who sells them in town from his tiny shop, mixes them up. Some varieties may not be purple at all.

Ube has very thick skin, so I eat it like an avocado, scooping out the purple flesh. It's a very coarse flesh, and very chewy, but I like it that way.

It also makes a wonderful and colourful flavouring for ice cream and cakes. It's one of the most popular flavours here, and goes well with orange mango ice cream when it's slapped into a cone by the local vendor.

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