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Bubur Cha Cha is a sweet and colourful dessert. The balanced colour of this dessert makes it looks super yummy and attractive. This mouth-watering dessert has the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, yam (taro), tapioca pearls (sago) and black beans all combined into one! Plus, the tapioca jelly makes it very chewy in its texture

History of Bubur Cha Cha

Bubur Cha Cha is a dessert popular among Malaysia’s Peranakan Nyonya. In Malay, the word “Peranakan” means “descendant” indicating the descendants of early migrants to the Straits Settlements, including regions like Singapore, Malacca and Penang, who married local women. The Peranakan Chinese community, the mixed blood descendents from marriages between Chinese migrants living in Singapore in the 16th century and Malaysian women, is well known for its Nyonya cuisine. This community uses the terms, derived from the local language, of Baba meaning male and Nyonya meaning female. The main language of this community is Chinese-Malay.

These cross-cultural marriages led to the unique combination of Chinese and Malaysian dishes. In Malaysia, these dishes are simply called Nyonya food. Nyonya dishes are different from Chinese and Malaysian dishes because traditional Chinese ingredients are mixed with Malaysian spices and herbs. Nyonya dishes in the north are not the same as in the south. In the south, dishes are affected by Indonesian taste so they are quite sweet, with coconut juice and traditional Malay spices added, while dishes in the north are affected by Thai tastes so they are more aromatic and sour, using tamarind and green mango. Nyonya cuisine is famous for Kuih, meaning dessert in Malay, including cake. Nyonya desserts are rich and diverse. People use such ingredients as sweet potatoes, taro, sticky rice, palm sugar, tapioca, corn starch, agar, coconut juice, nuts and pineapple leaf, and vanilla fruit.

Bubur Cha Cha is a popular dessert in both Malaysia and Singapore. Its main ingredients are sweet potatoes, taro, coconut juice, flour/cornstarch, and pineapple leaf/sticky rice/pandan. People use 3 kinds of sweet potatoes with 3 colours – yellow, white and purple – to make a bowl of Bubur Cha Cha more attractive and eye catching. These types of sweet potato are easier to find in winter than in summer, but you can also use taro instead. Malaysians and Singaporeans use dry seed pearls called Sago for Bubur Cha Cha, or seed pearls made of cornstarch. The palm sugar gives Bubur Cha Cha a natural sweetness, special aroma and red brown colour. Normal sugar or yellow sugar does not provide the same taste.

Let's Make a Scrumptious Bubur Cha Cha!


  • 80g Purple Sweet Potato
  • 80g Orange Sweet Potato
  • 80g Yellow Sweet Potato
  • 150g Yam (Taro)
  • 10g Sago (Tapioca pearls)
  • 50g Black-eye beans (soaked for 1 hour)

Tapioca flour jelly
  • 100g Tapioca Flour
  • ½ cup Boiling Water
  • Red coloring

Coconut Milk Base
  • 3 liter water
  • 1 cup Thick coconut milk
  • 120g Sugar
  • 3 Bananas (peeled and cut half inches thick)
  • 2 Pandan leaves
  • Salt to taste

Are you ready to try? Here's the way of making a simple bubur cha cha! ;)

  1. In boiling water, boil black-eye peas until soft. Boil sago separately, until translucent and cooked.
  2. Peel and cut all potatoes and taro into cubes or desired shapes. Steam, separately, until cooked.
  3. To make tapioca flour jelly, place the flour in mixing bowl. Pour in boiling water.
  4. Mix the flour and water until well incorporated. When the dough is cool, roll it out evenly on a well floured surface and cut into cube or desired shapes.
  5. Bring a pot of water, add in 1 table spoon sugar, pour in banana and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  6. In boiling water (3 liters), add in thick coconut milk, sugar, salt, pandan leaves and cook over low heat about 10–20 minutes.
  7. Pour in all the ingredients, together with the sago, tapioca jelly into coconut milk base and mix well. Serve hot or cold, as you like.

Collaborative writing by:Nur FaheemahAsma' AmaniNurul Najihah