Ube Kalamay

Sticky purple perfection! Ube & coconut collide in this Filipino rice cake. Steamy, sweet & full of history. Dare to try? My Grandma’s secret weapon? This sticky purple wonder. Forget fancy pastries, this homemade magic wins every time. #MadeWithLove #FilipinoFood #KakaninLove

Ah, ube kalamay. The mere mention of its name conjures up childhood memories of sticky fingers, stolen bites, and the warm embrace of Filipino heritage. More than just a dessert, ube kalamay is a portal to the past, a testament to the enduring spirit of tradition, and a delicious reminder of the love poured into every Filipino kitchen.

Growing up beside my Lola, I became her loyal (and sometimes reluctant) sous chef. We’d spend hours hunched over large woks we called “talyasi“, my tiny hands clumsily mimicking her practiced strokes as we grated coconut, squeezed milk, and stirred the viscous batter until it glistened like amethyst under the flickering wood fire. It was hard work, demanding patience, and muscle, but there was a rhythm to it, a shared dance between fire, flour, and family that wove its magic into every sticky bite.

Ube kalamay, like most Philippine kakanin, carries the weight of generations. Passed down through whispers and practiced gestures, its recipe holds the stories of ancestors, their struggles and triumphs woven into the sweetness of ube and the chewy comfort of rice. Unlike trendy desserts that fade like fleeting seasons, kalamay remains an anchor, a familiar thread tying the present to the past.

But tradition, like any flame, needs tending. In today’s fast-paced world, the intricate rituals of kakanin preparation are at risk of being forgotten. The laborious grating, coconut milk extraction, the slow simmering, the quiet focus – these are qualities often deemed inconvenient in our hurry-hurry world. This is where the true challenge lies, not in mastering the recipe, but in sharing its soul with our children.

Imagine their wide eyes as they witness the transformation of simple ingredients into sticky magic. Let them feel the satisfying grit of grated coconut beneath their fingers, the warmth of the pot against their palms. These are not just steps in a recipe; they are embers of tradition, waiting to be kindled anew.

So, the next time you bite into a square of ube kalamay, savour not just its sweetness, but the story it holds. Remember the hands that crafted it, the generations it represents, and the legacy it whispers. And maybe, just maybe, find the spark to share it, to keep the flame of tradition burning bright for generations to come.

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Ube Kalamay

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Sticky purple perfection! Ube & coconut collide in this Filipino rice cake. Steamy, sweet & full of history. Dare to try?



Units Scale


  1. In a bowl combine 400 ml of coconut milk and rice flour, set it aside
  2. In a non-stick large deep pan pour the remaining coconut milk and add the ube, bring it to a slow boil while continuously mixing, cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice flour mixture then slowly add sugar, cook while continuously mixing until the texture is very thick.
  4. Line your mould with banana leaf, grease the banana leaf with coconut oil, place the cooked kalamay, flatten the top, and sprinkle it with generous amounts of latik.
  5. Let it cool, slice, and enjoy!


10 Responses

  1. That looks fabulous! I love ube desserts.

  2. Sounds delicious, Raymond! I can see why you have fond childhood memories about this lovely dessert. And it also sounds pretty easy to make. What more could you ask for?

  3. Hannah says:

    That sounds incredible, and even more amazing that it’s naturally vegan! I’m all about this!

  4. Michelle says:

    Looks like a delicious dessert, and such wonderful precious memories with your Lola! I love ube and coconut together, so fragrant and delicious!

  5. I can imagine that, as a child, I would be most fascinated by any purple food! This is a beautiful dish, Raymund!

  6. Eva Taylor says:

    This is such an interesting cake, I can’t say I’ve ever had anything like it. It’s also lovely that your grandmother passed the recipe down to you and that you’re sharing it with us now.

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