Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert)

‘Bubur cha-cha’ is a coconut milk dessert which commonly contains sweet potatoes and taro. In Malaysia and Singapore, bubur cha-cha is usually served as a dessert or sometimes for supper. This is one of the more popular Nyonya/Peranakan desserts which is colourful yet delicious.

5 stars

Preparation 10 mins
Cooking 50 mins


Bo Bo Cha Cha, Bubur Cha Cha, 摩摩喳喳


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Nutrition per Serving

474 kcal
91 g
14 g
3 g

‘Bubur cha cha’ is a coconut milk dessert which is popular in Malaysia and Singapore for its quirky name and also beautiful colours. This sweetened coconut milk dessert is served throughout the day as a dessert, snack or even supper.

Commonly found sold by street vendors in Penang, bubur cha cha is a big favourite among locals. Similar to the cha cha dance, this coconut milk dessert is fun especially with the variety of ingredients and colours it contains.

The History of Bubur Cha Cha

The origin of this coconut dessert is rather unclear. It’s said to be based of a similar coconut Peranakan dessert, called Pengat which is served on the last day of Chinese New Year (Chap Goh Mei).

‘Bubur’ means porridge in Malay and that clearly refers to its thick consistency. Meanwhile, ‘cha cha’ sounds similar to the Hokkien word ‘che che’ which means abundance.

Perhaps that is why the dish is often served for celebratory events.

Bubur Cha Cha Ingredients

The ingredients are very simple. With a variety of sweet potatoes, taro and coconut milk, you are off to making an easy pot of bubur cha cha.

This recipe includes sago and tapioca jellies for the extra bite. Bananas are added for a delectable sweetness. This truly balances the savouriness of the coconut milk.

Important Tip with Tapioca Jellies

It may be not that easy to make these tapioca jellies. They look really pretty, like stained glass. However, when our community members tried making it, many commented that they did not turn out too well.

The trick to preparing the jellies is to use really hot water, that is the water has to be boiling! Use a pair of wooden chopsticks or a spoon to quickly stir the water in.

Otherwise, the dough will not come together.

How to Cook Sago?

As for cooking the sago, ensure that enough of water is used to prevent them from sticking together. The ratio of water to sago should be 10 to 1.

Sago should only be added into boiling water. Adding sago to room temperature water will cause them to dissolve. When cooking the sago, keep stirring to prevent them from clumping together.

Easy Bubur Cha Cha Recipe

A basic bowl of bubur cha cha consist of taro and sweet potatoes. In this recipe, other ingredients are added to enhance the flavour of the dish. Other optional ingredients you may add are pearl sago, black eyed peas, yam, tapioca, banana, sweet potatoes and tapioca jellies.

Banana slices give an extra punch to this dessert. You may choose and pick the combination of ingredients according to your preference.

Cold or warm bubur cha cha

Bubur cha cha can be served either cold or warm. Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours to serve it chilled. It can be kept refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Reheat it if you would like to serve it hot again. Since it contains coconut milk, it should not be kept for too long.


80 g
tapioca flour
1,300 ml
food coloring
140 g
140 g
sweet potato(es)
40 g
160 g
250 g
coconut milk
1⁄4 tsp
pandan leaves

Steps to Prepare

Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert) Step 1

Step 1 of 6

    • 80 g tapioca flour
    • 50 ml water

To prepare the tapioca jelly, create a dough by adding water to the tapioca flour. The water has to be boiling hot or else the flour would not form a dough.

Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert) Step 2

Step 2 of 6

    • food coloring
    • 500 ml water

Divide the dough into two portions. And red and green food colouring respectively. Flatten the doughs and cut them into smaller pieces. Heat up water in a pot to boil the pieces of dough until they turned translucent. Once cooked, put them into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from sticking together.

Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert) Step 3

Step 3 of 6

    • 140 g taro
    • 140 g sweet potato(es)

Steam the diced taro, purple sweet potatoes and yellow sweet potatoes for 20 minutes.

Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert) Step 4

Step 4 of 6

    • 40 g sago
    • 500 ml water

Bring water to a rolling boil in a pot. Cook sago until translucent. Sieve the cooked sago to remove excess water. After that, add cold water to the cooked sago to prevent them from sticking together.

Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert) Step 5

Step 5 of 6

    • 250 ml water
    • 160 g sugar
    • 250 g coconut milk
    • 1⁄4 tsp salt
    • 3 pandan leaves

In a pot, add sugar to water. Cook over medium heat with knotted pandan leaves. Adjust the sweetness according to taste. Then, add coconut milk and salt.

Bubur Cha Cha (Nyonya Coconut Milk Dessert) Step 6

Step 6 of 6

    • 1 banana(s)

Add steamed taro, steamed sweet potatoes, sago, tapioca jellies and lastly, bite-sized pieces of bananas. Allow bubur cha cha to simmer 10 minutes or until the desired texture is reached.

Published: April 3, 2013

1 Discussions

Anastasia Peng
4 years ago

Anastasia Peng

hubby said 10/10 ! good recipe

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