Monday, 5 May 2014

New ingredient: purple yam

What is this? It's a purple yam (Dioscorea alata). 
  • Mostly used in sweet dishes, in this country you can buy it in jars marked 'Ube' in ethnic shops.
  • Ube is what they call it in the Phillipines. It can be used as a sweet spread. 
  • The sweet spread tastes like granular condensed milk mixed with chestnuts. 
  • Purple yams can be fried, boiled or baked. Keep the skin on when boiling, then peel off afterwards.
  • It can be used as a cure for leprosy, gonorrhea and hemorrhoids
  • Yam is an important tuber in African cuisine. In Nigeria, there is even a religious festival involving yam. It can be stored for months. 
  • It's important not to confuse purple yam with purple sweet potato or purple potato. Americans often call 'soft' sweet potatoes 'yams'. 

The fabric used here in the background is called 'Letesi' or German Print. I bought it in Botswana, where it is used for traditional print dresses. It is an oiled cotton made in South Africa, using copper etched patterned rolls. The best known trademark is 'Three Cats'. 


  1. I have never seen one before. I don't think we have them in Australia, such a gorgeous colour!

    1. I have seen the ingredient on Australian recipe sites I think. But a lovely violet shade isn't it? to think that this is entirely natural!

  2. This entire post is a series on non sequiturs. So bizzare. Why not at least describe the flavour? Anyway, off to rubs yams on my leporosy - thanks for the tip!

    1. mm it sorta tastes like purple fudgy sweet potatoes/yammy. Or granular condensed milk? Really it's all about the colour.

    2. By the way, if you are going to be snarky, which is totally fine, do at least have the courage to sign your name. Much more fun! (I can honestly say I've never left an anonymous comment in my life).

  3. I'm so intrigued by this! I wan't to try some. On the look out now :)


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