Today, I am delighted to welcome Ann of Pig Pig’s Corner to notabilia! After over a decade of living in the United Kingdom, Ann (AKA PigPig) and her partner, Wild Boar, have moved to the shores of sunny Singapore.
When I approached Ann to guest post here, she wrote, “I’ve seen some kuih [bite-sized snack or dessert foods] recipes on your blog, how about a recipe for a soup-based dessert?”
Now, who am I to refuse a recipe for a dessert? Over to Ann…
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Desserts in Malaysia tend to make use of generous amounts of coconut milk. For example, Malay or Peranakan kuih-muih are generally made of coconut, pandan (screwpine) and gula melaka (palm sugar). Besides sweet cakes, similar ingredients are also used in dessert soups. One of them is bubur cha cha made of yam (taro), sweet potatoes of different colours, coconut milk, and tapioca jelly or sago pearls and can be served hot or cold.
“Bubur” simply means porridge in Malay and “cha cha,” pronounced “che che” in Hokkien, means abundance. Bubur cha cha is considered an auspicious dish and is traditionally served in Hokkien famillies on the 15th day of Chinese New Year. There are many variations of bubur cha cha. Traditionally, colourful chunks of tapioca flour jelly are added for their texture and presentation purposes. But nowadays, generally small sago pearls are used instead. Other variations include the addition of bananas as well as black-eyed peas. Whatever ingredients you choose to add, this dish is both pleasing to the eyes as well as taste buds.
Bubur Cha Cha 摩摩喳喳
1 kg mixture of yam and sweet potatoes* cut into small cubes
3 pandan leaves (plus more for steaming)
8 cups water
120 g rock sugar
3/4 cup tapioca pearls (sago)
2 cups coconut milk
1. Line a steaming bowl with pandan leaves, steamed yam, and potato cubes separately until tender but not mushy (about 8-10 minutes, but depends on how big the cubes are).**
2. Combine water and rock sugar in a large pot. Bring to boil. Once it starts boiling, lower heat and add 3 pandan leaves and leave to simmer for 15 mins.
3. Pour in all the pearls and boil until they become translucent (about 10-15 mins). It is fine if they still have a white dot in the middle; they will continue cooking later and become fully translucent.***
4. Add in all the steamed yam and sweet potatoes. Bring to boil.
5. Pour in all the coconut milk and switch off the heat as soon as the liquid starts bubbling.
6. Add more sugar if necessary.
7. Remove the pandan leaves before serving.
* I used yam, Japanese sweet potatoes, orange sweet potatoes, and yellow/white sweet potatoes, all of which are about 250 g each. Remember to soak the yam and potatoes in water to prevent them from oxidising and turning brown.
** You could boil the yam and potatoes in the sugar liquid until tender but they might become too mushy and the tuber cubes will be tasteless.
*** Some recipes involve cooking the sago pearls separately but I prefer to boil them in the serving liquid as our household tends to prefer thicker and starchier soup.
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I welcome recipes from Singapore and beyond for Cooking with…. Priority is given to original recipes that have not yet appeared online. Please indicate if your recipe has already appeared online or has been submitted elsewhere. Please email all recipes, including high-quality .jpgs, to me with the subject line ‘Recipes.’