KitchenTigress: Bubur Cha Cha

Bubur Cha Cha

Bubur cha cha is a very colourful dessert found in Singapore and Malaysia. You get white coconut milk, orange and purple sweet potatoes, green and red tapioca jelly and grey yam all in one bowl. It may be served hot or cold, and is delicious either way.

Tips for making bubur cha cha:

🍠 Choose yams that are light for their size and have lots of red veins. Trim about 1 cm thick when peeling, and 2-3 cm around the head and bottom. These parts are usually not powdery.

🍠 Cook yams and sweet potatoes in a thin sugar syrup. Syrup makes yams and sweet potatoes slightly sweet and chewy. If cooked in water, yams and sweet potatoes would be bland, and would overcook easily and disintegrate.

🍠 Cook yams and sweet potatoes separately. If cooked together, sweet potatoes would be overcooked when yams are just right.

🍠 Diced yams and sweet potatoes overcook easily. Use low heat to prevent disintegration.

🍠 Use freshly squeezed coconut milk if possible. It's far superior to packaged milk.

🍠 Dilute the coconut milk to taste. You may like it thinner after a rich meal. Or thicker after a light meal.

🍠 Use rock sugar if possible. It has a "cleaner" taste than regular white sugar. A good quality light brown sugar, like Billington's, is a good option if rock sugar is not available.

This recipe cooks diced yams and sweet potatoes in sugar syrup. If you use water instead, the tubers wouldn't be sweet, and they'd disintegrate easily.

bubur cha cha

Tapioca jelly
  • boiling water
  • 60 g tapioca flour
  • 2 drops red food colouring, or 10 g dark brown palm sugar finely minced
  • 3 drops green food colouring, or juice of 25 g young pandan leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 75 g rock sugar, break into small pieces if big
  • boiling water
  • 6 pandan leaves, lower half only – wash, cut each leaf into 2 pieces
  • 1 cup yam, diced 1½ cm
  • ½ cup orange sweet potatoes, diced 1½ cm
  • ½ cup purple sweet potatoes, diced 1½ cm
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 ml undiluted fresh coconut milk

  1. Drizzle 50 ml boiling water on tapioca flour. Knead to form an elastic dough, dusting with tapioca flour if too sticky. If too dry, wet hands before kneading. Divide dough into 2 equal size pieces. Add red colouring (or palm sugar) to one piece. Knead till colour is even. Roll into a rope 1½ cm thick. Cut crosswise 1½ cm wide. Dust thoroughly with tapioca flour to prevent sticking, and set aside. Add green food colouring (or pandan juice) to remaining dough. Proceed as for red dough to make jelly beads.

  2. Cook tapioca jelly in boiling water till floating, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tsp sugar (to prevent sticking). Mix thoroughly. Set aside. Discard water.

  3. Place rock sugar, 1 cup boiling water and pandan leaves in a pot. Stir till sugar melts.

  4. Add yams and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently over low heat till just soft, about 7 minutes. Don't use high heat or yams will disintegrate. Discard pandan leaves. Remove yams with slotted spoon to a bowl.

  5. Place sweet potatoes in the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently till just soft, about 5 minutes.

  6. Add salt, coconut milk, and boiling water to dilute coconut milk to taste, about ¾ cup. Stir to mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary. Turn off heat as mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Add tapioca jelly and yams.

  7. Serve hot or chilled.