Bubur Cha Cha is a popular dessert in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia. It is beautiful to look at and fun to make. This colorful dessert is made of miniature cubes of sweet potato and taro, delicate pearls of sago and chewy glutinous balls swimming in a fragrant coconut cream.
1 sweet potato
1 small taro (optional)
1 package (200 g) coconut cream or coconut milk
1 cup water
2-3 Tbsp sugar (or approx 40 g rock sugar, crushed into small pieces)
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1/4 cup sago
1 pandan leaf, washed and tied into a knot
red food coloring
green food coloring
- Wash and scrub the sweet potato and steam it for 15 minutes or until it is cooked. Test for done-ness by pricking it with a fork. It should feel soft but not so soft that it falls apart when you cut it. Leave it to cool, then peel and discard the skin. Cut it into small cubes and put aside.
- Prepare the taro cubes in the same manner as outlined in step 1.
- While waiting for the sweet potato and taro to be cooked and cubed, prepare the glutinous balls. Mix 1/2 cup of glutinous rice flour with 6 Tbsp water. The mixture should not be so wet that it sticks to your fingers when you pinch a small amount between your fingers. If it is too wet, add a bit more glutinous rice flour to the mixture.
- Divide the glutinous rice flour dough into 2 equal sized portions. Put each portion of dough into a small bowl. Add a drop of green food coloring to the first bowl and add 1-2 drops of red food coloring to the second bowl. Mix well. Pinch a small amount of the dough and roll it into a small ball and put aside on a plate. (Note: You may wish to make other kinds of colored dough eg for purple or yellow balls. In some Asian supermarkets, you may be able to purchase frozen and ready-made miniature colored glutinous rice balls but I think it is a fun family activity to make them yourself! 🙂
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Add in all the glutinous balls and cook until they float to the top, about 3 mins. Remove from the stove and put aside.
- Cook the sago in a small saucepan of boiling water for about 10 mins, stirring it constantly so that it does not stick together. The sago is cooked when most of the sago pearls are transparent. A small amount of sago pearls may have some white bits in the center but it is ok as they will be cooked again in step 8. Strain the sago into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from sticking together into a lump. Put aside the bowl of sago sitting in cold water.
- Add 2-3 Tbsp sugar or crushed rock sugar to 1 cup of water and a pandan leaf tied into a knot into a saucepan. Stir and boil the mixture until all the sugar is melted, for about 2 -3 mins. Add in the coconut milk, stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and remove the pandan leaf from the pot.
- Stir in the sweet potato cubes, taro cubes and glutinous rice balls. Drain the sago pearls and discard the cold water. Stir the sago pearls into the mixture. Turn off the stove to prevent overcooking.
- Serve hot or cold. This recipe is good for 4 persons.
- Some people like to add in small cubes of cantaloupe or agar agar jelly for extra variety, color and texture.
- Pandan leaf is used to infuse a fragrant smell. It is commonly grown in Southeast Asian countries and it is available in the local markets. You may find it in the frozen foods section in some Asian supermarkets in western countries.