Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food


Foods with purple, lilac, blue and dark red hues are often considered nutritional powerhouses, which can also decorate the dinner table with a splash of bright color.

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, and purple foods contain a special antioxidant called anthocyanin which gives them shiny pigments and higher nutritional value – beneficial for the health of the heart and blood vessels.

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Purple foods are rich in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that gives them bright pigments and nutrients.

Purple roots

Winter is the season for root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams and taro, and these delicacies are also available in purple, offering not only eye-catching colors but also health benefits and versatility in the kitchen. .

Purple sweet potatoes are generally smaller than regular sweet potatoes with white or yellow flesh. They are commonly used in sweet recipes, as braising or stewing the roots sometimes shows an unpleasant brownish / red color.

A healthy dessert for breakfast or dinner can be created by steaming purple sweet potatoes, turning them into a smooth mash with the addition of a little milk – no butter is needed.

Lipu taro is one of the most popular purple foods in China.

The large spindle-shaped Lipu taro has thin purple patterns in the white flesh. It has a fairly dry texture and a higher starch content, which gives it a sweeter taste and smoother texture when fully cooked.

Taro is incorporated into a wide range of sweet and savory recipes, such as Lipu taro fried rice, steamed taro with pork belly, braised taro and duck, taro cakes and teas. milk.

Taro and purple sweet potatoes can be made into thinly sliced ​​crisps or thick sticks, with a flavor that can be sweet or salty and spicy.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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In order to make cakes and taro bread in dreamy purple and lilac hues, a coloring reinforcement is necessary. The ground and dried purple sweet potato powder has an amazing purple color and very saturated, but a minimal flavor that does not overpower the sweetness of the taro.

Purple sweet potato powder is usually stored in the baking aisles of supermarkets, but you can also make the 100% natural food coloring at home by steaming, baking, air drying, further baking. and grinding.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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Purple sweet potato powder

Purple yam is a less common root vegetable. They are also called “purple ginseng” and are quite thick compared to the iron stick yams.

The hue of purple yams is similar to that of purple sweet potatoes, and it is very suitable for simmering in rice congee with a mixture of grains and grains as a staple for the winter.

Purple yams are also used to make pancakes and buns by steaming the root vegetable, mixing flour or glutinous rice flour into the purple yam mash and sweetening it with a dash of sugar or honey. You can also sauté purple yams with other vegetables, but the color can be a bit off-putting as some of it fades.

When handling yams, wearing a pair of gloves is necessary, as the juice of raw yams can make your skin itchy and itchy.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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Purple-skinned radishes are a new variety that appeared this winter. They are the same shape as white or green radishes but a dark purple skin and, sometimes, a purple center.

This variety is also called “glazed radish” because they are sweet and crunchy when eaten as a fruit or salad. They also make lovely pickles by marinating in a lightly spiced and seasoned brine made with white vinegar, salt, sugar, peppercorns, and chili peppers.

You can sometimes find purple carrots on the organic vegetable shelves of grocery stores. They have a dark purple color and are generally quite thin.

Like regular carrots, purple carrots are a good source of soluble fiber and rich in anthocyanins. In terms of taste, they are slightly sweeter than their orange and yellow siblings.

Beetroot is another purple root considered a super food, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with little fat.

Beets have a distinct earthy flavor, can be eaten raw or cooked, and is not very common in Chinese cuisine.

A vinaigrette made with light soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar can neutralize the earthy taste of raw beets when making a Chinese beet salad, and cut it into very fine shreds. makes it melt more easily in the sauce.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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Eggplant with figs

Eggplant is one of the most common purple vegetables, known for its meat-like texture and superb ability to absorb sauces and other ingredients like a sponge.

Anthocyanin is found in the shiny skin of eggplant, so it is much healthier to cook and eat with the skin on.

You can find several varieties of eggplant in China – buqie (large and dark purple), large green, yuanqie (round and dark purple) and changqie (fine purple). Texture of changqie is more tender than other varieties, and yuanqie is more common in northern China.

Eggplant can be braised with pork to create a fragrant dish that pairs well with rice.

It can be fried and mixed in a sauce with other vegetables to make a mouth-watering vegan dish, or steamed and mixed with garlic sauce for a healthy, low-fat salad.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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Braised eggplant with ground pork

Tower buqie is perfect for doing qiehe, a fried eggplant sandwich with seasoned ground pork stuffed between two slices of raw eggplant. It is then coated with a thin batter and fried in oil or pan-fried over low to medium heat to reduce oil intake. Eggplant sandwiches can also be braised with a rich, shiny sauce to serve as a main course.

Grilled eggplant, a popular vegan street food, coats the eggplant, which has been cut in half, with an intense mixture of chili sauce, garlic paste, and red chili pepper.

The flesh of the grilled eggplant is very soft and tender, and a handful of vermicelli can also be added.

Purple cabbage has multiple nutritional benefits but a smaller fan base. A head is quite large and takes a few meals to finish.

As well as grating raw purple cabbage into thin strips and mixing it into a dressing to make a crunchy salad, it can also be sautéed with garlic and a few drops of vinegar, as the vinegar helps preserve the purple color ( sometimes purple cabbage can turn into an unappetizing blue color).

You can also make purple cabbage crisps by air frying them like kale or Brussels sprouts.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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There are many purple fruits that contain anthocyanins, such as blackberries, blueberries, black currants, figs, grapes, plums, and prunes. In China, blackberries are eaten both as a fruit and in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Dried blackberries are used to improve eyesight, hair growth, and protect the liver. They can also be made into tea by steeping in hot water or infused in wine / alcohol to make a delicious alcoholic drink.

Dried mulberry leaves are also an ingredient in TCM, with sweet, bitter, and cold properties associated with the liver and lungs. Mulberry leaves can also be used to make tea.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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Purple sweet potato and oat balls

An aromatic purple treat to accompany a cup of tea or coffee.


Glutinous rice flour, 200 grams

Purple sweet potatoes, 200 grams


Granulated sugar


1. In a small bowl, mix a few tablespoons of sugar with lukewarm water, adjusting the amount of sugar to taste. In a non-stick skillet, lightly toast the oatmeal over low heat to release their fragrance.

2. Steam the purple sweet potatoes with the skin on, mash them, mix with the glutinous rice flour, then gradually add the sugar water to form the dough.

3. Divide the dough into even, smaller pieces and shape them into balls, then roll the balls evenly in the oatmeal.

4. Heat the oil and slide the purple sweet potatoes and oat balls from the edge of the pan when the temperature of the oil is moderately hot, then reduce the heat to low when the oil begins to bubble and that the purple sweet potato balls float to the surface. Gently press the balls repeatedly to squeeze the excess air inside and remove them from the oil when they have a golden tint and get bigger.

Eye-catching, healthy and tasty: purple pigment in food

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Purple sweet potato and oat balls

Eggplant, knives and bamboo shoots stir-fry

A warm and healthy stir-fried salad with umami flavor and textual contrast.


Buqie (large dark purple eggplant), 1

Fresh clams, 350 grams

Peeled winter bamboo shoots, 150 grams

Garlic, 3-5 cloves

Ginger, 2 slices

Light soy sauce, 1 tbsp

Vinegar, half tablespoon



1. Cut the eggplant (or tear it by hand) into thick sticks and place them in a steamer. Once the water has boiled, reduce the heat to low and cook the eggplants for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Boil the fresh knives with two slices of ginger, take them out when the shell opens, let them cool in cold water, then take out the flesh from the knives and remove the dark edges.

3. Boil another pot of water and poach the winter bamboo shoot shreds with salt.

4. Add a little oil to the pan and lightly brown the minced garlic until the aroma comes out, add the steamed eggplants, the cooked knives and the poached bamboo shoots and sauté. for several minutes. Then season with light soy sauce and vinegar just before it’s ready and add salt to taste.


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