I have always loved ube, or African pear as some people call it. I love the creamy flesh and the slightly tangy after taste when you suck the flesh off the seed. I love the fact that it is such a convenient snack; that even in repose presents itself in psychadelic and exuberant colours. What kind of fruit decides to be bright purple on the outside and neon green on the inside? A wacky fruit is what! I mean avocados are similar but even they aren’t quite as ballsy in their garment choices. Ube is a rainy season food, and is traditionally eaten with corn; the two are often sold together on the roadside. I have no shame when it comes to ube and corn. I will easily eat N500 worth of ube in one sitting and nibble small mouthfuls of corn in between. That’s a ratio of about 8 ube : 1 corn. A bit over the top? Yes. Am I bovvered? No. For delights like ube, peppered snails, dodo and puff puff, the rules of restraint and acceptable behaviour are waived somewhat.
Edamame beans are also a wonderfully convenient snack. You buy them frozen, blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds, sprinkle some salt on and boom – you’re in business. For the longest time, I would keep bags and bages of these in the freezer and make a massive bowl of edamame instead of popcorn for at-home movie nights. Something about popping the juicy little pods open and the dazzling blast of salt on the tongue felt incredibly novel and fun when combined with watching a movie. Plus, it was a super healthy option.
For this dish, what caught my attention were the colours. I had been wondering how I could cook with ube to make sure that the colours on the inside and outside showed at the same time without having to peel it or mash it. Recipe after the pictures.
- Edamame beans (I bought these from La Pointe on Kofo Abayomi, VI)
- Ube or african pear (roadside or market, baby)
- Coarse sea salt (store cupboard)
- Set a large pot of clean drinking water on the cooker to boil
- Once boiling, throw in the edamame beans straight from the freezer, no need to defrost. After about 45 seconds – 1 minute, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon or colander and place onto a serving platter.
- Now throw in the ube or African pear, and cover the pot. These will take about 2 minutes to soften all round. Once they are soft, arrange them nicely over the edamame beans.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt liberally over the whole lot and serve steaming hot.