Bubur Cha Cha, The Peranakan Dessert Recipe

By Janness Koh,

I feel blessed to be in a country like Singapore where we get to try a great diversity of authentic food from different ethnic and dialect groups. It is no secret that Asian cuisines often uses a lot of coconut milk as an important ingredient in both main courses and dessert. This Burbur Cha Cha recipe is one of the most traditional that I’ve tried and tastes almost as good as the one my mum used to make. I got this from a Nyonya cookbook I bought but with small tweaks of my own here and there.

The ones you buy from outside these days have ingredients in there that are definitely a modern twist to it. The traditional ones have really simple ingredients of yam, sweet potato, and in my opinion the tapioca flour jelly are a must have.

Serving Size: 10-12
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Tapioca Flour Jelly:
150g tapioca flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
200ml boiling water
food colouring (optional)

Sweet Soup:
400g sweet potato
300g yam
1L thick coconut milk
500ml water
5-6 pandan leaves
300g rock sugar
a pinch of salt

Tapioca Flour Jelly

Mix tapioca flour and bicarbonate soda together and pour in the boiling water, mix with a spoon. Add in more boiling water if dough is still too dry or crumbly

Knead to a smooth dough
*Optional- Divide the dough into as many portions as you like and mix in different food colouring to each portion. I only used a pink colouring and the other as it is

Take smaller portions of the dough and roll it into a long strip of about 1cm in diameter

Cut into small triangles or any other shape you prefer

Using a small pot of water, boil it and add in the triangles, stir a few times throughout to prevent them from sticking. I split to a few batches to boil so that it cooks faster and will not stick as much

Transfer the now cooked jelly into cold water, you can tell it is cooked once it turns translucent

Sweet Soup

Skin the sweet potatos and yam, dice them and steam till cooked. Be careful to not over cook it as it gets mushy
Boil 500ml of water with pandan leaves

Add in the rock sugar and cook till it melts, add in the thick coconut milk and salt. Keep stirring to prevent it from curdling. Using coconut cream and diluting with water works too if you can’t get coconut milk as easily

Remove from heat once it boils

You can either add in all the tapioca jellies, sweet potatoes and yams into the sweet soup or serve them separately according to how much of each ingredients you like in a bowl. Suggest the latter if you used colouring in the jellies as it might turn the whole pot into the same color used

Can be served hot or cold, I prefer it cold.finished-burbur-cha-cha
Credit: Patricia Lee. (2008). Delicious Nyonya Kueh & Desserts

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