Learning > Recipes

Sweet treat: Jazz up bubur cha cha with pumpkin

A delightful dessert in taste, texture and appearance

Hedy Khoo on 10 Aug 2017

The Straits Times


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SINGAPORE - Try making your own bubur cha cha.


My mother told me about an interesting variation of it that one of my late father's customers made with Australian pumpkin, sweet potato and yam.


I decided to try adding Australian pumpkin to my version, as it adds a bright orange to the medley of ingredients.


With enough chopping and slicing as it is, I dispensed with making my own tapioca flour cubes.


You can buy this at the wet market.


I used more pandan leaves for its fragrance and opted for gula jawa - Indonesian palm sugar.


Adjust the quantity of coconut milk, water and palm sugar to suit your own preference.




  • 21 pandan leaves (150g)
  • 250g yam
  • 120g Japanese sweet potato
  • 120g orange-fleshed sweet potato
  • 200g pumpkin
  • 2 litres water
  • 30g sago pearls
  • 100g tapioca flour cubes
  • 280g gula jawa (palm sugar), cut into small pieces
  • 1.2 litres fresh coconut milk
  • 1/3 tsp salt




1. Tie seven pandan leaves (40g) into a knot. Tie another seven into another knot.


2. Tie remaining pandan leaves into small knots of two to three leaves each.


3. Cut the yam into 2.5cm cubes.


4. Cut the sweet potatoes into 2.5cm cubes. Soak sweet potato cubes in a bowl of water.


5. Cut the pumpkin into 2.5cm cubes.


6. Bring 400ml of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add sago pearls and boil for 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan for another 10 minutes, or until the sago pearls are cooked and translucent.


7. Pour sago pearls into a wire-meshed sieve, discarding the water.


8. Place sago pearls into a bowl of water to soak. This keeps them from sticking together.


9. Bring another 400ml of water to a boil in a clean saucepan. Add the tapioca flour cubes and boil for 3 minutes until the cubes float up and are cooked through.


10. Place cooked tapioca flour cubes in a bowl of water to soak.


11. Pour 1 litre of water in a large pot, add the gula jawa and one 40g knot of pandan leaves. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.


12. Turn off the heat, cover and set aside.


13. Place yam in heatproof dish, add one small knot of pandan leaves. Steam for 12 minutes.


14. Discard soaking water of sweet potato cubes.


15. Place sweet potato cubes in heatproof dish, add a small knot of pandan leaves. Steam for 10 minutes.


16. Place pumpkin cubes in heatproof dish, add a small knot of pandan leaves. Steam for 8 minutes.


17. Bring the pot of sugar syrup to a simmering boil. Add the steamed cubes of yam, sweet potato and pumpkin. Simmer for five minutes. Add the coconut milk and last 40g knot of pandan leaves.


18. Allow the mixture to come to a simmering boil. Remove the pandan leaves and add the salt.


Serves 10


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