Bubur Cha Cha

(a sweet coconut milk dessert with sweet potato and yam)

Those of us who lived in Singapore & Malaysia will have fond memories of this Nonya dessert. Bubur Cha Cha is a colourful combination of sweet potato and yam in thick and sweet coconut milk. Bubur Cha Cha can be served hot or cold. I prefer mine warm.

If you like yours cold,  leave all the cooked ingredients in the fridge for a couple of hours before assembling to serve. An extra touch is to freeze the coconut milk mixture and shave the coconut milk ice just before serving.

One of the key ingredients is a chewy piece made from  sago and cornflour or tapioca flour. Some people use potato flour instead of sago.


  • 1 sweet potato (peel and cut into very small cubes; wash iand leave soaking in water)
  • 1 yam (peel and cut into very small cubes; wash just before steaming)
  • 1/2 cup of sago
  • 1-2 Tbsp cornflour or tapioca flour
  • 20-30 ml boiling water
  • Red and green food colouring
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can of water
  • 3 pandan leaves (knotted)
  • 3-4 Tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt


1. Place sweet potato and yam in separate bowls and steam until tender.

2. To make the sago pieces:
– Place the sago in a plate and pour boiling water onto the sago.
Stir to mix well. When cool enough to handle, sprinkle
cornflour or tapioca flour and knead the mixture into a soft
– Cut into 2 pieces and add different (green and red) food
colouring to each piece and knead well to combine.
– Roll dough and break or cut into small pieces to the same size
as the sweet potato and yam pieces.
– Fill a saucepan half full with water and bring it to the boil.
Lower temperature to a simmer and add the sago pieces. When the
pieces float, remove them to a bowl of cold water.

3. To make the coconut milk soup: Put coconut milk, pandan leaves, sugar and salt and a can of water into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Adjust to your taste. The soup should be slightly thick. If it is not, thicken with cornflour mixed with a little water.

4. Use small bowls to serve. Place equal amount of sweet potato, yam and sago pieces in the bowl. Pour a generous amount of the hot coconut milk over the mixture. Enjoy!

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