Here’s a vegan take on the ube (purple yam) pandesal that have taken the Philippines by storm in the past few months
These pandesal, also known as Filipino Sweet Bread Rolls, are filled with an ube (purple yam) filling and some vegan mozzarella cheese—imagine the blend of sweet with a little saltiness from the cheese.
The pandesal is light, airy, and chewy at the same time. These are delicious enjoyed warm when the top is toasted and crisp so the you bite into it you get that nice crispness on the outside and richness inside.
What is Ube?
The colour of the dough comes from purple yam (very similar to sweet potatoes), better known as ube in Filipino.
What is Pandesal?
Pandesal are Filipino Sweet Bread Rolls, that are a very popular staple in Filipino cuisine and culture. We usually enjoy them for breakfast or merienda (afternoon snack), but they can really be enjoyed any time!
This version is ube pandesal, or purple yam sweet bread rolls.
These ube pandesal are filled with ube spread (I have a homemade recipe here) and vegan mozzarella cheese.
The use filling I made thickens after it cools because I use coconut milk to give it a little added richness and flavour.
Ube and queso (cheese) are a popular combo in the Philippines. The compliment each other well especially since the filling is sweet and the cheese is salty and savoury!
For the cheese, I simply used Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Shreds.
The saltiness and sweetness of the two really go so well with the pandesal!
The Ube or Purple Yam Puree for the Dough
For this version, I used ube or purple yam powder that I diluted in hot water to make a puree.
The ingredients for the dough are very simple. You’ll just need the following:
- 4 cups (500g) all purpose flour, plus around 4 tbsp more if needed
- 6 tbsp (90g) cane sugar, see notes
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
I simply mixed all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
For the wet ingredients, you’ll need the following:
- 1 cup warm soy milk or oat milk
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 tsp ube extract (optional)
- Ube puree
Making the Dough
To put the dough together, I simply mixed the wet ingredients int other dry ingredients bowl.
You’ll need to mix everything well! This is actually going to be a very sticky dough at the start.
So be ready with your extra flour to add to the dough and some oil, to oil your hands.
You can check out my video below to see a complete step-by-step on how to make these!
Kneading everything together
It’s the kneading process that might be a bit tricky at first because the dough will be really sticky.
If you have a stand mixer, then I highly recommend you use one. If not then just keep kneading!
This will be a really good arm workout! Haha.
With a little patience and adding 1 tbsp flour at a time to help get the dough firmer, you’ll end up with a firmer (but still a bit sticky) ball of dough.
You’ll want a dough that’s firmer and is no longer very sticky—but do note that this dough won’t be as firm and hard as dough of dumpling wrappers since this does contain yeast that will help the dough rise.
Let the dough rise
Brush some oil on the bowl and then place the ball of dough in the bowl. Leave the dough to rise for at least an hour in a warm spot in your home or kitchen.
Don’t forget to cover it with a damp towel to prevent it from drying.
Leave it to rise until doubled in size.
Dividing the dough
After the dough has risen, I divided the dough into 20 pieces.
Each piece will be around 58 to 60 grams each.
Wrapping and Filing the Dough
Here’s what I did:
- I got a piece of dough.
- Flattened the dough dough on my work surface
- Added some of the filling and cheese
- Sealed the top and minced it together to really seal it well
- Rolled in on the surface to really get it evenly sealed
Coating for the Ube Pandesal
This is the part that adds that extra crunch—bread crumbs (or almond meal!)
I rolled the finished pandesal on some bread crumbs! I actually didn’t have fine breadcrumbs so I processed some Japanese bread crumbs I had.
You will need to leave all the pandesal to proof on your lined baking tray! I like to space them just a little apart so when they proof and bake, they’ll look like the photo below!
While the pandesal are proofing for 20-30 minutes, make sure to preheat your own to 180C/350F.
To bake the pandesal, leave them in the oven 20 to 22 minutes or until the top is hard and when you press down on it you’ll notice a slight crunch. The insides will be really airy and fluffy.
Enjoy your Vegan Ube Pandesal!
These are best enjoyed warm.
Storing the Pandesal
If you have leftovers, you can simply place them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate them for up to 1 week. You can simply reheat these in an oven toaster for a few minutes to enjoy warm.
To prolong shelf life, you can freeze them for months and just thaw them before reheating in the oven toaster.
Can I make plain ube pandesal without the filling?
Yes! Though if you’re making plain pandesal without the filling, I suggest increasing the amount of sugar to 8 tbsp or even doubling it to 12 tbsp.
Find the full recipe for these below!
MORE FILIPINO RECIPES YOU MIGHT LOVE:
- Tokwa’t Baboy
- Filipino Kaldereta or ‘Meat’ Stew
- Mushroom Tocino
- Filipino Fried Garlic Rice
- Filipino Lumpiang Gulay or Fried Vegetable Spring Rolls
- Filipino “Pork” Barbecue
- Crispy Tofu Sisig
- Tofu and Mushroom Salpicao
- Bola-Bola (Filipino Meatballs)
Vegan Ube and Cheese Pandesal (Filipino Sweet Bread Rolls with Purple Yam and Cheese Filling)
Ube Puree (see notes)
- 1/4 cup ube powder or purple yam powder (32g) see notes
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs or almond meal
- In a medium heat proof bowl, mix together the ube powder and hot water. Mix until the powder has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.See notes below for an alternative.
- Mix the warm soy milk and oil. Pour it in the flour mixture while mixing. Add in the ube puree and ube extract (if using) as well .
Kneading the Dough
- I used a spatula to mix everything together at the start then eventually used my hands to knead everything together. Keep mixing until a dough is formed. It’ll be easier to mix everything together with your hands or a stand mixer if you have one.
- If using your hands, you can rub your hands with some oil to prevent the dough from sticking. This will be a VERY STICKY dough so it can be quite hard to handle at the start.
- If you still find it sticky after kneading for 4 to 5 minutes, you can gradually add 1 tbsp more all purpose flour at a time.
- Keep kneading until the dough comes together and becomes smooth. I just kneaded mine in the same large bowl I mixed it in for minimal clean up.
- Remove the dough from the bowl. Brush some oil on your bowl and then place back the ball of dough into the bowl.
- Cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm spot in your home or inside your oven until doubled in size.
- Flour your work surface. When the dough has risen, remove the ball of dough and transfer it to the floured surface. You can check out my video below to see a complete step-by-step on how to make these.
- Divide the ball of dough into 2. Cover 1 ball with a towel to prevent it from drying while you work on one. From there, you can shape each piece into a large ball and then punch a hole in the centre.
- Carefully stretch the dough until you have a large ring then divide it into 10 pieces of around 58 to 60 grams each.
- Repeat this for the other piece of dough until you have 20 pieces of sliced dough in total.
- Place the balls of dough in a tray and cover it with a towel to prevent them from drying out.
Shaping the Pandesal
- To work on each pandesal, get a piece of dough. Shape it into a ball and carefully flatten it on your surface. You can see the video below for a better idea.
- For the coating, place the bread crumbs or almond meal on a shallow tray or plate.
- Place around 1/2 to 1 tbsp of the ube filling then 1/2 tbsp or one small cube of cheese on top of the ube filing.
- Grab the edges of the dough and crunch it all together at the centre. Pinch the centre together to seal it well and prevent the filling from seeping out.
- Roll the pandesal on your flat working surface to get a round ball and also to evenly seal the edges.
- Transfer the pandesal on the plate with the bread crumbs/almond meal and then roll around the plate/tray to coat in the bread crumbs.
- Transfer the pandesal on your lined baking tray. I used parchment paper to line my 10×13-inch tray. Leave around 3/4 to 1-inch space between each pandesal on the tray since they’ll continue to expand as it proofs.
- Repeat this for the rest of the pieces of dough and place them all on the tray.
- Cover the pandesal on the tray with a towel, and leave to proof for 20 to 30 minutes. The pandesal will rise and the gaps between each one will disappear.
- While the pieces of pandesal are proofing, heat your own to 180C/350F.
Baking the Pandesal
- Bake the pandesal for 20 to 22 minutes or until the top is hard and when you press down on it you’ll notice a slight crunch. The insides will be really airy and fluffy.
- Carefully separate the pandesal and enjoy each piece while hot!
- These are best enjoyed warm.
- If you have leftovers, you can simply place them in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate them for up to 1 week. You can simply reheat these in an oven toaster for a few minutes to enjoy warm.
- To prolong shelf life, you can freeze them for months and just thaw them before reheating in the oven toaster.
UBE PUREEFor the ube puree, if you don’t have ube powder but have some fresh ube or purple potatoes, you can mash these up and turn into a puree with some water. I would recommend around 1 cup of mashed cooked ube/purple sweet potato with 1 cup (more or less) or water until you have a puree consistency. You can also opt to add some ube flavouring (around 1 tsp) to get more ube flavour.
- if you want a sweeter pandesal, you can increase to 8 tbsp (1/2 cup) of sugar. I personally prefer it less sweet since the filling is already sweet.
- If you’re making plain pandesal without the filling, I suggest increasing the amount of sugar to 8 tbsp or even doubling it to 12 tbsp.