Bubur chacha (摩摩喳喳) recipe

Posted on July 31, 2013


Is it any news that I love sweets? And warm Chinese style sweet soups are so comforting in the winter. They’re so homely and really remind me of my childhood when mum would cook up a pot of sweet soup after dinner if we bugged her enough about it. While my mum didn’t ever make us bubur chacha for us, she has made very similar sweet soups.


I decided to make bubur chacha because I had a bit of leftover taro hanging around in the fridge and then I found sweet potato was on special at the markets. By now you should know I take these subtle cosmic cues very seriously – obviously the universe was telling me to make bubur chacha. A sweet soup of taro, orange and purple sweet potatoes (and some mini sago), bubur chacha is a colourful feast for the eyes.


Some versions of bubur chacha will include the use of black eyed beans, others even add chopped banana. I didn’t have the beans on hand and I don’t like banana in my sweet soups, so they will be missing in my rendition. The soup component is a pandan coconut milk concoction as with many South East Asian style sweet soups. The dilution factor for the pandan coconut soup is really only a reference, you can make it as rich or as dilute as preferred. Of course the amount of coconut content in your coconut milk/cream will also affect the ratio of water you add in. I sweeten my soup with palm sugar to intensify the tropical flavours, but regular sugar will also suffice.

RECIPE – Bubur chacha (摩摩喳喳), serves 6


  • 1/4 cup mini sago pearls
  • 150g taro, peeled and diced
  • 200g orange sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 200g purple sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 250mL coconut cream (the can I use contains 75% coconut content)
  • 400mL water
  • 2-3 pandan leaves, knotted
  • ~1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • ~3/4 cup of shaved palm sugar loosely packed


  1. Steam taro, and both the orange and purple sweet potatoes on medium to high heat until almost cooked through (~12 minutes). Reserve. (It may be tempting to just cook the root vegetables in the sweet soup base, but the result will not present as nicely. Purple sweet potato tends to leech colour into things so your coconut soup will take on a murky purple hue.)
  2. While the root vegetables are steaming, soak the mini sago pearls in a small bowl of cold water for ~10 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  3. Bring the pot of water you used to steam the root vegetables back to boil. Once the water is boiling, add in drained sago pearls to cook.  Keep stirring the sago on low to medium heat until the pearls have cooked through (the pearls will become completely transparent). Drain and rinse sago under cold water. Reserve.IMG_7002
  4. Prepare the sweet soup base by placing coconut cream, water, pandan leaves, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved.
  5. Once soup base is ready, add in cooked sago and root vegetables. Mix well.IMG_7007
  6. Serve warm or chilled. Make sure each serving gets a good mixture of each vegetable and sago!IMG_7021

These days the roles have reversed a bit and I tend to make sweet soups for my mum. And of course she loved my bubur chacha; I wouldn’t have bothered posting the recipe otherwise :P.