Bubur Cha-Cha

Sweet potatoes, yams (taro), black-eyed peas, and other vegetables are cooked in a sweet coconut milk sauce in this dish mixture. This brightly colored, sugary confection in Penang is typically served on special occasions.

So popular is Bubur Cha Cha that it can be found in many Hong Kong/Cantonese-style restaurants and cafes, making it a popular Nyonya dessert.

In some Asian cafes here in the United States, I can order it as Nanyang Bubur Cha–Cha.

Southeast Asia in Chinese is known as Nanyang, which translates to “south of the sea.”

Assorted sweet potatoes (yams), black-eyed peas, and other legumes cooked in a sweet coconut milk base can be found in Southeast Asian countries all around the region.

Traditionally served with Chap Goh Meh, Penang’s signature dessert, bubur cha cha is a brightly colored, sugary treat (the 15th and last day of Chinese New Year).

Bubur Cha-Cha is one of my aunt’s favorite dishes to make, and she’s an expert at balancing the colors and presentation. Her bubur cha-primary cha’s colors are yellow, orange, and purple, therefore she planned to make a pink tapioca jelly to go with it.

My favorite part is the tapioca jelly, which has a chewy and elastic feel and is even better than the sweet potatoes and yams.

I think you’ll love it too!

Each serving of this recipe has 503 calories.


  • 150 g of yam or taro
  • 80 g of yellow sweet potato
  • 80 g of purple sweet potato
  • 80 g of orange sweet potato
  • 50 g of black-eyed peas
  • 10 g of sago


  • 100 g of tapioca flour
  • ½ cup of boiling water
  • Red coloring


  • 120 g of sugar
  • 10 cups of water
  • 3 peeled bananas sliced into ½ inch thick
  • 2 pandan leaves
  • 1 cup of thick coconut milk
  • Salt


  1. Boil the black-eyed peas until they are tender in salted water. Separately, sauté the sago until it is transparent and soft.
  2. All potatoes and taro should be peeled and chopped into cubes, or any other form desired. Separately cook until done.
  3. Flour should be added to a mixing bowl to make tapioca flour jelly.
  4. Boiling water should be added. Stir the water and flour together until smooth in a large bowl.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut it into cubes or any preferred shapes as soon as it’s cooled.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and the banana to a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set it away for later use.
  7. It’s time to bring 3 liters of boiling water and the thick coconut milk to a 10 to 20 minutes low simmer.
  8. Sago pudding and tapioca jelly are added to coconut milk foundation and mixed thoroughly. You can serve it hot or cold.
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