Ube powder has become an increasingly popular ingredient around the world due to its vibrant purple color and sweet, nutty flavor.
However, many recipes call for rehydrated ube paste instead of the powdered form.
What is Ube Powder?
Ube powder is made from purple yams native to the Philippines, where they are known as ube. The starchy tubers are dried and ground into a fine, vividly purple powder that retains the signature color and flavor of fresh ube.
Ube powder adds both visual appeal and nutty sweetness to desserts, drinks, and other dishes. It has grown in popularity beyond the Philippines in recent years, making its way into international baking trends and culinary creations like ice cream, pastries, cakes, and more.
Benefits of Ube Powder
Aside from imparting color and flavor, ube powder offers some excellent nutritional benefits:
- It provides complex carbohydrates and fiber for digestive health.
- The powder is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like carotenoids.
- Antioxidants in ube may help reduce inflammation and protect against diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Using ube powder allows you to control the amount of added sugars in recipes, as opposed to pre-made jams or extracts.
So ube powder offers both visual appeal and nutritional value!
Key Takeaway: Ube powder contains fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that provide health benefits beyond its vibrant color.
How to Use Ube Powder
Ube powder is extremely versatile. Here are some of the many ways it can be used:
- Add it to doughs, batters, and mixes for baked goods like cakes, cookies, and pastries.
- Use it to color and flavor ice creams, custards, puddings, and other frozen desserts.
- Mix it into smoothies, shakes, and drinks for a pop of color and nutty sweetness.
- Fold it into whipped cream or meringues for an ombre effect.
- Sprinkle it over finished desserts like cakes and cupcakes before serving.
The powder dissolves and incorporates easily into both sweet and savory recipes. It pairs especially well with other Filipino flavors like coconut and pandan.
Ube Powder vs. Ube Extract
Some recipes may call for ube extract instead of the powder. Here's how they differ:
- Ube powder retains more nutritional content like fiber.
- Ube extract contains concentrated flavor without starch or texture.
- Use powder when you want visual appeal, texture, and sweetness.
- Use extract solely for flavoring without affecting texture.
Either one will provide that distinctive ube taste, so it comes down to the specific recipe and your preferences.
Why Use Powder Over Pre-Made Ube Jam?
You can also purchase pre-made ube jams, spreads, and halayas. However, there are some advantages to using ube powder instead:
- You control the amount of added sugars. Jams and spreads often contain a lot.
- Powder offers more flexibility in recipes. Jams can make batters too wet.
- Rehydrating powder allows you to achieve the desired consistency.
- The powder dissolves more evenly throughout recipes.
So for the most versatility and customization, ube powder is often the better choice over ready-made jams and fillings.
How to Rehydrate Ube Powder
Many recipes call for rehydrated ube paste rather than dry powder. Here is a simple process for rehydrating ube powder:
- Ube powder
- Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Use a 1:2 ratio of powder to water. For example, for 1/4 cup powder, use 1/2 cup water.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in ube powder until dissolved into a smooth paste.
- Allow paste to cool completely before using in recipes. Store leftover paste in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
- Stir continuously to prevent clumping when adding powder to the water.
- Add more water in small amounts if needed to reach the desired consistency.
- The paste will thicken more as it cools.
And that's it! With just ube powder and water, you can easily make ube paste.
How to Tell When Ube Paste is Fully Rehydrated
Here are some signs that your ube powder is fully rehydrated into paste:
- It has a smooth, glossy texture without any grittiness.
- It tastes cooked through without any raw starch flavor.
- The paste is thick and spoonable, not watery.
- The color is a vivid purple rather than blue-gray.
Test the paste by tasting it and running it between your fingers. When the gritty powdered texture is gone, your ube paste is ready to use!
Key Takeaway: A properly rehydrated ube paste will have a smooth, spoonable texture and rich ube flavor without grit or starchiness.
Uses for Rehydrated Ube Paste
Rehydrating ube powder opens up many possibilities for using it in your cooking and baking:
- Use it as a filling for cakes, cupcakes, pastries, crepes, and more.
- Swirl it into ice cream bases and batter before freezing.
- Mix it into frostings, glazes, and buttercreams.
- Make ube pancakes, waffles, breads, and other breakfast treats.
- Add it to chia pudding, yogurt, oatmeal, and granola.
- Use it in Filipino desserts like ube halaya jam and ube cheesecake.
- Stir it into cocktails, lemonades, and drinks.
Anywhere you want deep purple color and sweet nuttiness, ube paste is sure to be a hit. Get creative with it!
Tips for Intensifying Ube Flavor
Want to really make that ube flavor pop? Here are some tips:
- Add a teaspoon of ube extract to the paste.
- Mix in coconut milk or cream.
- Combine with vanilla, chocolate, coffee, or citrus flavors.
- Add a pinch of salt to balance out the sweetness.
- Top ube desserts with toasted coconut.
- Infuse liquids like milk or cream with ube paste overnight.
Balancing and blending flavors with the subtle earthiness of ube will make it shine.
Dehydrating Ube Paste into Powder
You can actually reverse the rehydrating process to turn ube paste back into powder. Here's how:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
- Spread the ube paste in an even thin layer across the sheet.
- Bake at the lowest oven temperature (around 170°F), with the door propped open slightly, for 2-3 hours.
- Test for dryness and brittle texture. If not fully dried, bake in 30 minute increments.
- Allow to cool fully. Break into pieces and grind into a fine powder in a food processor.
- Store the ube powder in an airtight container for up to 1 year.
While store-bought ube powder is simplest, you can make your own by dehydrating fresh ube or leftovers!
Does Ube Powder Go Bad?
Properly stored, ube powder has a long shelf life of up to 1 year at room temperature. To maximize freshness:
- Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
- Keep away from moisture, humidity, and direct sunlight.
- Use a clean, dry utensil each time to scoop out powder.
- Best by dates over a year indicate added preservatives.
- Look for clumping, fading color, or staleness in expired powder.
With optimal storage conditions, ube powder stays fresh for everyday use. Smell and taste test periodically.
Key Takeaway: Ube powder lasts up to 1 year stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Does ube powder need to be refrigerated?
Ube powder can be kept at room temperature. Refrigeration can extend its shelf life but is not required.
Can ube powder be substituted evenly for fresh ube?
Due to moisture loss, ube powder does not substitute 1:1 for fresh. Rehydrate it first and adjust recipe wetness as needed.
Should ube powder be sifted before using?
Sifting ensures an even consistency and prevents clumps. But it's not strictly necessary if the powder is already smooth.
What recipes work well with ube powder?
Baked goods, frostings, frozen desserts, pancakes, drinks, and more! Ube is versatile but pairs especially well with cream, coconut, and fruit.
Is ube powder healthy?
Yes! Ube provides fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Watch added sugars by controlling how much you use in recipes.
With its stunning color and multi-dimensional flavor, ube is a staple of Filipino cuisine that is catching the eye of bakers worldwide. Ube powder provides convenience, versatility, and customizability compared to fresh ube.
Properly rehydrating ube powder unlocks its full potential for use in both sweet and savory recipes.
A simple ratio of powder to water transforms it into smooth, vividly-hued ube paste.