"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Yema Balls

Yema Balls and Ube Balls
Photo above shows (jaundiced) yema balls and ube balls. I experimented for the purpose of using them as filling for ensaymada, per Bobong's suggestion.

I looked for recipes for yema, but many have mashed potatoes...don't know why, but my instincts told me there should be none. I then checked out a youtube vid. . No recipe there, but I had something in mind, and I think the cook and I felt the same way about yema not having potatoes. So I made up my own. However, since this was experimental, I thought I'd try to shortcut the cooking process by using microwave. And when the resulting yema was somewhat chewy, I thought of adding granulated sugar and reheating some more to make it easier to bite into once cold (gritty, though). Then instead of coating the yema balls with caramelized sugar, I did not bother because it would be a filling anyway. (The first batch I experimented on I rolled in granulated sugar, but that batch was too dry because I was waiting for the yema to turn brown. Big mistake.)

The process is simple enough, but not practical for big batches.

I did some more experiment because I wanted to come up with yema as I remembered them: brown and soft, not chewy. Those were the yema that I remember being wrapped in cellophane as small pyramids. I think I came close to it in my succeeding experiments, but that will be for another post in the near future.

1 can condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar


Pour the content of 1 can condensed milk into a big microwaveable bowl (if you use a small one, it might boil over and spill). Put on your gloves as this can get hot. Microwave for 1-2 minutes on high while keeping watch (microwave ovens vary, you know). If you see it starting to boil and rise, stop and stir.

Once it has started to boil, microwave in increments of 10 seconds and stir. There will be a point in time that it can't rise anymore, kinda just deflates, but repeatedly do the microwave-stir cycles until the consistency is thick but still very runny(this is a jaundiced dulce de leche at this point). Do not wait for this to get brown, because then it will be too dry and will be hard when it gets cold (that happened to my first attempt)

Take out the bowl. Get the eggs and separate the whites. (Use the whites for something like meringue, macaroons, or sans rival, or plainly fry them or add to soups). Add the yolks to the dulce and microwave again until it creates bubbles again (this way you know the egg was cooked). Stir and repeat until it becomes almost like paste. Add the sugar and stir, microwave for 10 seconds and stir and repeat. Check once cool enough to handle if it is tacky but does not stick to your skin.

Cool completely and shape into balls.


  1. hello manang, these two fillings look so good, but believe it or not, I have never had any yema before. I'm going to make this so I can try them.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Hi! Try dipping the yema balls in caramelized sugar for an added dimension in texture and taste. Just stick a toothpick in each ball, dip in caramel and place on waxed paper or silpat until the caramel hardens

  3. Hi Mely,
    I also made a brown version, but I want to try again to come up with more solid yet still soft yema...

    Hi Maricel,
    That was exactly what the YT vid shows, but like I said, I did not bother to coat with caramel since I was going to use these as fillings for ensaymada.

  4. yema balls! this transported me back to my elementary school days where i'd spend my allowance buying yema from the canteen! or sometimes our teacher would sell them.. lol! thanks for the memory.. i'd add a bit of crushed peanuts too.

  5. hi Manang,
    its me again.
    my yema in nueva ecija are just condensed milk stir in pan with 2tbs of butter, frequently stir until you reach the desire yema thickness. so simple, so yummy, my kids love it.
    by the way, i tried supersoft ensaymada, my little girl eat like a giant. she keep on asking for more.
    my son, urging me to do spanish bread and pandesal.
    i promised them, as soon as i get my BM.
    thanks again for recipes and more recipes to come. hep hep hoorayy! Riza

  6. Oh so these are yema balls. I've always wondered about them: never tasted and tried. Now I know them to be delish!

  7. Hi,Manang komosta naligaw ba ako Ha!Ha! kasi nang makita ko yon nag thanks ako siyo dahil matagal na gosto kong maggawa nang yema,Many thanks,And advance Happy Mother's Day! to you, God Bless, Aida

  8. Hi Riza,
    Do you mean, meron nang BM sa Pilipinas? Or are you not in the Philippines anymore?
    You are so welcome! And thanks also sa walang sawang pagsuporta sa akin (naks, kala mo artista!)

    Yap it is delish and so much a favorite candy in the Philippines!

    Hi Aida,
    abangan mo yung dulce de leche also...Happy Mother's Day as well!

  9. Hi Manang,
    Mukhang masarap ang yema balls especially the ube balls. Basta pag ube favorite namin ng family ko. sana lang palaging may ube dito sa MY :) God bless! Happy Mother's Day..

  10. I'm trying to remember what yema taste like - maybe I've never had them before. But these look sooo good!

  11. Ay naku manang, ang sasarap ng mga luto mo. itong yema na ito ay matagal ko nang gusto gawin pero hindi ko pa nagagawa...

  12. manang,ask kolang po,kelangan pobang i dulce de leche muna yung condensed bago gawin ng yema?kasi po yung slide show,dulce de leche po yung umpisa.salamat po at sana pakisagut nyo aagad ito kasi po prpare na yung ingredients ko at gagawa nako now

  13. Hi Manang!
    salamat at natagpuan ko ang kusina ni manang, sarap na sarap mga anak ko sa pandesal,unanag try ko naging monay, aba masarap din, ngayon gusto kong try ang yema, manang naalala ko gustong gusto din po ng pamily ko ung leche plan, katawa sila kasi unang tikim nla noon, dito kasi km sa west africa mag 5 yrs na po, salamat sa inyo.

  14. Hi Anonymous,
    thanks sa feedback!
    Mas maige siguro kung pressure cook mo yung nakalatang condensed milk (tingnan mo yung dulce de leche post ko). Yung yema na nakacellophane na triangle ang shape is basically dulce de leche na binalot at medyo natuyo yung pinakalabas.

  15. I've tried cooking this before, but not ube yema yet, ty for sharing


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