"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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Monday, July 06, 2009

Manang's Ube (Taro) Ice Cream

Manang Kusinera's Homemade Ube Ice Cream
Homemade Ube Ice Cream
This post is dedicated to Yvette and to every Filipino who craves for ube ice cream but has no access to ready made one.

I called it Manang's Ube Ice Cream because I did not rely on others' recipe for this. I just had the idea brewing in my head for some time now, and I dare say it was one very good idea, and it was successful at satisfying my craving for an ube ice cream.

[UPDATE: 7-8-09
I was not aware that July is officially the National Ice Cream Month, until I read about the Social-Ice Cream contest on Tangled Noodle's food blog. The contest is co-hosted by ScottySnacks and SavorTheThyme. My initial thought on the matter was that, non-Filipinos would probably welcome this with mild reception, with the final product looking so plain, and the flavor unknown to most and probably will not be appreciated by anyone who is not Pinoy, who did not grow up in the Philippines. So far, that is the kind of reception it gets from my family, so I get discouraged bringing any ube-flavored Filipino food to a non-Filipino gathering. However, with TN's prodding, I figured it would not hurt to expose to the world the unique Filipino flavors, so here goes my ube ice cream post as my entry to the said contest.

For non-Filipinos, to give you a background on ube, it is the real yam, purple yam at that. Not the sweet potato that are labeled yams in the grocery stores. Filipinos and other Asians use ube on a lot of desserts, especially ice cream and cakes, probably as often as we use coconuts or sweet sticky rice.]

After our family celebrated the 4th of July here at our house, the next day was a much better day to get together and grill foods and swim in the pool, and with a lot of leftovers (uncooked hotdogs and burgers and BBQ) I called/texted out an impromptu invitation to some of my friends for a pool party. Two of my friends came. Some of the items I served were buco pandan salad and ube ice cream (I served the buco pandan salad on the 4th and nobody among my in-laws were interested in it and I made the ube ice cream the next day using leftover homemade old-fashioned vanilla ice cream (which my in-laws and hubby love soft served as in freshly churned).

Out of the 6-qt (1-1/2 gallons) recipe I made, we had about 3.5 qt (about 2 cups less than 1 gallon) leftover. Instead of putting in the freezer to harden further, I left it in the fridge to just keep it chilled, with plans to turn it into ube ice cream. I would have made a two-hour trip to the Asian stores to get some frozen grated ube, but I remembered I had two packets of powdered ube. So even though I did not really like the ube haleya made out of powdered ube, I thought maybe it would do ok when mixed into ice cream. So I made the haleya and cooked until thick but runny enough to make it easy to mix with the ice cream even when fully cold. I even placed it in the freezer for about 1 hr or so and it was still easy to scoop out and mix with the ice cream. Then I churned to make the soft ice cream, then added the rest of the ube haleya by hand. I deep froze for about 2 hrs enough to give us some hard ice cream (at the center it was still soft).

My Filipina friends' verdict? Parang Magnolia daw("It's like Magnolia's.") [To non-Filipinos, Magnolia is a famous brand of ice cream in the Philippines.]

Me: "Pwede na i-post sa foodblog ko yung recipe?" (So,I can post my recipe in my foodblog?")
Celia: "Oo! Pwedeng pwede!" ("Yes, of course!")

Celia often visits my site too for some recipes. If she does not have success in making, say, leche flan, she is lucky enough to get a chance for an actual demonstration from me (For example, I taught her how to make caramel in the microwave).

The next day my ube ice cream was very very hard I had to zap in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes (in increments of 30 second) to easily scoop out. But it was not icy gritty at all. Not as smooth as Magnolia in my opinion, but maybe because I added too much haleya (you know how frozen haleya can get too tough). But who complains anyway of having too much real flavor into something such as this? Our usual complaint about flavored foods (ice cream, ensaymada, etc.) is not having enough of the real flavor (bitin ba), and too often loaded with the artificial flavoring. Well, this one is packed with real goodness of ube. The pandan flavor adds volumes to its goodness.

1 gallon or less Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream (Click to get to its recipe page; make 6 qt if you want to experiment with different flavors or just leave out some as plain)- refer to the link on how to make it. You NEED to have an ice cream maker, rock salt, and crushed ice. I have been using the Rival Ice Cream Maker for 3 years already.

Ube Haleya
1 packet powdered ube (4.06 oz)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 tsp pandan flavor (clear colored)
enough purple food coloring to achieve the tint as desired (both for haleya and the final ube ice cream mix)


Prepare the old-fashioned vanilla ice cream. Chill in the fridge good before freezing. This is your base for any flavor you want. Place the aluminum ice cream maker bucket in the freezer.

Prepare ube haleya and chill until cool enough to not melt the fat content of the heavy cream in the vanilla ice cream.

(The fat content of heavy cream, especially ultrapasteurized, plus the egg custard in the base help in emulsifying the mixture. The flour when cooked, plus the cooked ube, both help in hindering any ice lattice formation by the water content. These factors help so that the resulting ice cream will not give you ice crystals. Well, that's how I have come to understand the science behind ice cream making.)

Mix half of the ube haleya with the ice cream base. Place in the cold aluminum bucket, cover and position in the plastic outer bucket.Run the ice cream maker. Make sure the aluminum bucket is covered well before you start placing ice and rock salt around. Keep adding ice and rock salt until the motor stops running. This is the soft ice cream stage. Finish hardening the ice cream by transferring into an ice cream container and deep freezing it. Cover the top with cling wrap to avoid freezer burn if you have air space in the container.

Note: If you have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and don't want to deal with the mess of rock salt and water while churning your ice cream, there is an attachment for ice cream making that you can get. This one only needs to be placed in the freezer for several hours prior to making your ice cream.  It's got lots of good reviews on amazon.


  1. Manang, ang saraaap nito!!!

  2. Easy! I love ube flavor!

  3. ahhh..how i love ube..BUT..it triggers my migrane..BUT i still eat anyway =)

    was here drooling...

  4. Oh, delicious! I miss Magnolia ice cream - it's so expensive here, so no ube ice cream, especially for halo-halo!

    I hope you'll consider entering this post in our Ice Cream Social Contest - details are at my blog or at ScottySnacks.com and Savorthethyme.blogspot.com!

  5. Hi all,
    Yeah, it is funny how ube is one favorite flavor of Pinoys for dessert, no matter what, migraine or not...I was quite delighted with the outcome of my experiment of using the vanilla ice cream as base then just adding haleya for flavor.

    With your encouragement and blessing, I will sure enter this in the contest, win or not!

  6. manang! i am so glad you posted this recipe! i just got an ice cream attachment for my kitchen aid, 2 weeks ago. so far, i've made 3 flavors na (strawberry-rhubard, vanilla yoghurt with blueberries and pistachio gelato). in a few weeks, i'll host a potluck and want to make ube ice cream for dessert. i'll definitely used your recipe and tell you about the outcome!

    ria from sweden

  7. Hi Manang,

    Ube Ice cream looks great, must taste great too as I do love Magnolia's as well. As a sidenote, more people might know ube by it's Hawaiian name, Taro. Which is used to make poi, which most people have heard of at one time or another. Here is Hawaii, our McDonald's occasionally carries Taro Pies, like the apple pies normally available. These are quite good, chunks of taro is a sugary sweet sauce. BTW, have you ever found a recipe to duplicate the peach-mango pie from Jollibee?

    1. I always thought taro is gabi (the white-colored root crop used in sinigang) and ube is yam - some call it purple yam.

  8. Hi RD,
    Thanks for that piece of info. I never knew ube was also taro for most people. I have always referred to it as ube and have been targeting Filipinos for such dessert as this ube ice cream. Funny that yesterday I was in an Asian store and I was seeing all those frozen taro, all the while thinking it was what we referred to as "gabi."

    Now I can edit this post to include the word "taro"

  9. I have all the ingredients to make ube ice cream but just haven't gotten around to it. You've inspired me to get moving! :)

  10. JMom, go for it!
    Last night I made pan de sal, and had this as palaman. Sarrap! I had another nostalgic trip!

  11. Manang, maraming salamat po sa iyong tiyaga sa pag-post ng mga ganitong recipe. I also admire you for responding to everybody's comment.
    I used to live in NH and we went back to visit some friends there and we also went to Maine at naalala kita. Anyway, I have a question about the ube ice cream, yung ube haleya do I just mix the ube powder with the heavy cream and milk or do I do your recipe for ube haleya and then mix heavy cream and milk? Salamat po

  12. HI Anonymous,
    I try...:) I can't always respond, though...or I respond late...
    Prep the ube haleya per directions on the packet (or you might want to try the above recipe. I can't remember the brand that I used; if I am not mistaken, Giron's, which tasted good enough for this purpose. There was a recent other brand that I tried to make per recipe on label, but as soon as I mixed the powder and milk, it was so sticky already that I kept adding milk until it was fluid enough to cook before it turns thick. Plus, it tasted more like camote, so I did not use it to make another batch of ube ice cream). Once ube haleya is made, cool first before adding to the chilled old-fashioned vanilla ice cream (you may want to add some drops of clear pandan essence) so you will not melt out the oil from the heavy cream.
    I suggest you go easy on the haleya...mine was super hard after freezing overnight. Maybe half of the above will do. Bawiin na lang sa food coloring.

  13. Hi Manang!
    I just came by across your blog and was fascinated, I must try some of your recipes! I have a petpeeve about calling UBE taro... because it really isn't.. you are right to call them gabi.. because they are gabi the ones where you can use the leaves to make laing. Ube as a plant is very different, although they are both roots, taro has huge fan like leaves with big stalks while ube has vines like you would see with grapes. Sorry! I grew up in the US but ube haleya is one of my favorite food and as a child vacationing in the Philippines, i would go with my manangs to find ube or dig it ourselves!

  14. Hi Kim,
    One of my readers based in Hawaii told me about ube being called taro there, and I am indeed used to gabi as being the taro...but, just like cassava in the Philippines would be called yucca here, I have long dismissed my tendency to be rigid in what I was accustomed to prior to my immigration. It helped me in searching for something, because we usually do not call some items the same...sampaguita here would be a variant of jasmine.

    I once had some ube tubers from a friend which her family just dug up from their home in the province...at the time I did not know what to do with them...sayang...I think I ended up giving them to an aunt who knew how to cook ube haleya.

  15. I live in Hawaii and ube is not called taro here. Here Ube is known as purple yam or okinawan sweet potato.

    I recently purchased an ice cream maker and I wanted to make ube ice cream with macapuno. I am looking forward to trying your recipe.... But i'll be adding some macapuno.


  16. Hi Anonymous,
    Now I am confused...haha! Anyway, ube, purple yam...whatever it is really called...I am okay to be corrected by those who know how it is called in their place, as long as we are on the same page and we're talking about the same thing. To me, taro is still gabi. Ube is purple yam...maybe people in Hawaii call them differently depending on their local areas???
    Macapuno and ube ice cream...I gotta make them too!!!

  17. Manang, what else can I use if I don't have an ice cream maker? :(

  18. June, without an ice cream maker that uses a rock salt, your hope would be something like ice cream maker attachment for the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Yun nga lang, you gotta have the mixer first. The ice cream maker attachment has special liquid component in its wall that when you freeze it prior to using, it does the job of the rock salt+water.

  19. Manang thanks for this. Been itching to do it but I have a question. I wanna try it using the frozen grated purple yam / ube. When I'm making the haleya do I make the haleya very thick for this purpose, as if I am going to eat the haleya or is it ok to leave the haleya a bit runny/ not as thick since you will mix it with ice cream anyway? what do u think?

  20. Unknown, I think that will be just fine as long as you're sure it's cooked :)

  21. Kailangan ko upang ilagay ang pulbos ube sa sa?Maaari ko lang gamitin ang ube siksikan?

    1. Medyo malabo ang tanong mo...pakilinaw...

  22. Manang pwede ko po bakomaginquire sa inyo about sa producers nyu ng ube..maybe we can suppoer you as how many you need...has a low price!!


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