Popular Malaysian Dessert (Bubur Cha Cha)

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Delicious Malaysian bubur cha cha

Delicious Malaysian bubur cha cha

Time for something sweet…the popular Malaysian Dessert, better known as Bubur Cha Cha. I love the name. Doesn’t the name make you feel like getting up and cha cha cha? Well, you can’t have this and dance at the same time because it’s actually soupy.

This is a healthy dessert I must say. It is usually a combination of sweet potatoes, yam and tapioca (cassava) boiled together and then coconut milk added to give it an awesome flavour. Screw pine leaves, called pandan in Malaysian, give it an added extra beautiful fragrance. It smells so lovely and tastes really delicious. I just love it hot. Here’s my simple recipe to share. In fact you don’t really need a recipe for this.

Very fragrant screw pine leaves

Very fragrant screw pine leaves

400g sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)
400g yam (peeled and sliced)
400g tapioca (peeled and diced)
200g coconut milk
4C water
4 pieces screw pine leaves (washed and knotted)
sugar (according to taste)

Diced yam

Diced yam

Diced sweet potato

Diced sweet potato

I didn’t add in the tapioca because it’s not easily available here. Put the diced sweet potato, yam and tapioca (if you have) into a pot. Add water and screw pine leaves to the pot and let it boil. When the potatoes, yam and tapioca are cooked, add the coconut milk and sugar. Once it boils again, turn off the fire. You can eat this lovely dessert hot or cold. Some people add in coloured tapioca pieces or balls to make it colourful but I did not add that. I just love it simple.

Final cooking

Final cooking

Do you like Malaysian desserts? Have you ever tried making them? Which one is your favourite one? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

Other Malaysian desserts that you may be interested:
Sweet Potato Balls For Dessert
Best Coconut Rolls
Chewy Peanut Balls
Crunchy Sesame Candy Bars
Peanut Butter Mochi Balls
Keep Smiling Sesame Balls
Sweet Potato Tortoise-shaped Chinese Dessert (Angku)
Peanut Puffs
9 Layered Coffee Rice Pudding
Steamed Char Siu Chicken Dumplings (Pao)

Quote of the day……

”The happiest life is that which constantly exercises and educates what is best in us.”


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Faey Szeuw  on November 8th, 2009

Gosh, I love this tapioca dessert. So very delicious. It’s one of my achilles heel.

Interesting that this same dessert is also found as a dessert heavily loved in Thailand and the Philippines.

claire  on November 8th, 2009

hi Mary.. i just posted bubur cha cha ice kacang in my post at http://www.letswallop.blogspot.com

home cooked ones are better than outside food court anytime!

Jeannie Tay  on November 8th, 2009

Yummy! But whenever I cooked this dessert, the boys will take all the soup and I ended up eating the potatoes and yam only! So now I am smarter. I keep the leftover potatoes and yam to mix into bread recipes. Cool eh?:D

foodlovee  on November 8th, 2009

I am going down to buy bubur cha cha now.

Mary  on November 8th, 2009

@Faey Szeuw - Thanks for sharing. I think all the countries in that region enjoy this popular desserts but probably call it in different names. I love it very much. Would be a lot nicer with tapioca.

@Claire - Thanks very much for sharing the link to the bubur cha cha ice kacang…mmm

@Jeannie - LOL….your boys are so cute….poor mommy. But you are sure very creative to add that to bread recipes. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never thought of that. I have to do that next time too if there’s any left over yam and sweet potatoes from this dish.

@foodlovee - wow….that sounds very desperate LOL. I would do that too when any food craving hits me…if it’s easily available. But sadly, most of the things we miss back home, we have to try and cook ourselves.

Shirley  on November 8th, 2009

Looks absolutely delicious!!!

Drick  on November 8th, 2009

another interesting recipe from you - I’m learning so much from you…thanks

Rochelle (Acquired Taste)  on November 8th, 2009

I have not tried to make or have eaten any Malaysian desserts, but seeing something like this I’m very tempted to try them out :)

Mary  on November 8th, 2009

@Shirley - Thanks for compliment. This is a healthy, delicious dessert that even kids would love. Hope you try it soon.

@Drick - Thanks for your compliment. I’m also learning a lot from you especially about cooking seafood in a new way.

@Rochelle - This is a very simple Malaysian dessert that you can cook it any time for any occasion. I think this is a good one to start off.

TasteHongKong  on November 8th, 2009

Excuse me, no colored tapioca pieces. I would love to enjoy this simple version.

Divina  on November 8th, 2009

You’re asking me if I love Malaysian desserts? :) Of course I do, I love this dessert. Probably because we have a similar recipe. But it’s usually serve as a snack. We add the sweet potatoes, cooking bananas, some mochi balls, taro root and other root vegetables and also some tapioca pearls and jackfruit. It’s a pretty heavy snack and it’s best eaten during the colder months. We call it ginataan - which means, cooked in coconut. i made that twice already. It’ easy but the only tedious part was peeling and cutting all the root vegetables.

Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home  on November 8th, 2009

Hi Mary!

I just watched a travel show about Malaysia the other day. The cuisine is so interesting - such a great a blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian foods and techniques. I love pandan leaves - I had pandan leaf ice cream once and it was unlike anything I ever tasted before!

Lele  on November 8th, 2009

Mmm that sounds wonderful! My favorite desserts are comforting and carby. I was wondering what the screw pine leaves were- I actually thought at first glance it was green onion!

Light Delight with TouTou  on November 8th, 2009

Hey Mary!
I love this soup! especially its name - its really cute when I pronounce it (if correctly!)
this is the first time I see this kind of soup , that sweet potato and Yam should go well with the soup! thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it out!

Mary  on November 9th, 2009

@TasteHongKong - I also don’t like colouring in my food unless I can get natural colouring.

@Divina - Wow….I think I would fall in love with the Filipino version. Sounds very delicious though I agree that it’s heavy. But an occasional indulgence of such lovely food is very good for the soul :) At least it’s a healthy dessert.

Erika - Thanks for sharing. Pandan ice cream? Oh what a shame ….being a Malaysian, I have not tasted it :( Hope I’ll get to try it one day. Otherwise I have to learn and make it myself. I can imagine the taste…just have to be awesome!

@Lele - This sounds just the right dessert for you. Screw pine leaves are long dark green leaves that are widely used in Asian cuisines. They give a most beautiful fragrance to food.They are often available in Oriental shops.

@Light Delight With Tou Tou - Haha…tricky to pronounce I think, but won’t be too far wrong. I love the name. This is really simple, easy and quick. Hope you try it soon.

the traditional gourmand  on November 9th, 2009

I have never heard of this and it looks amazing! Such wonderful flavor combinations. Thanks for the recipe!

penny aka jeroxie  on November 9th, 2009

I love burbur cha cha…. love the coconut taste. Just had some yesterday!

Mary  on November 9th, 2009

@the traditional gourmand - Hope you will try it soon. It is truly delicious and yet very simple and easy to cook. If you love coconut, you will surely love this wonderful dessert.

@Penny - I bet you are enjoying a lot of good food now in Bali, and the sun too. Have fun!

foodlovee  on November 9th, 2009

Yes, I bought one bowl and ate yesterday.ha ha

Mary  on November 10th, 2009

@foodlovee - That’s fast. I bet you couldn’t wait to cook it yourself…haha. I wish sometimes I can do that too :(

kristy  on November 10th, 2009

I love this very much too. Love the coconut cream flavour.

mycookinghut  on March 8th, 2010

I love love love bubur cha cha… i need to gather all the ingredients first before I can make it.

Mary  on March 8th, 2010

@Kristy - Me, too. I can even eat it as a meal! :P

@mycookinghut - I love it very much too but sometimes it’s very inconvenient to get all the ingredients here. It’s also fun when more people eat together.

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