Bubor Cha Cha (Sweet Potato and Taro in Coconut Milk)

Bubor Cha Cha1

First published May 18th 2015

I am still in my colorful-cooking mood. I managed to find sweet potato in three colors and taro. Wondering if green and red sweet potatoes ever existed? Perhaps not. I used emerald and ruby chestnut bits to make up for the missing colors. That is my colorful dessert for tonight’s dinner!

Updated May 31st 2020

Still observing shelter-in-place due to Covid-19, though it has turned into self-observed curfew today due to the mounting unrest over the death of George Floyd. There is clearly a lot of pent up frustrations over the years of injustice towards people of color, the emotional and financial stress over months of shelter-in-place, and the fear of the unknown over what the future holds for everyone during this difficult time. I am unable to sleep last night. Looking at all the looting and destruction across the cities in United States, it is painful to think of the unjust killing of George Floyd, as well as the devastation to those whose business and properties are destroyed just as we are coming out of shelter-in-place. Where and what is the answer to the injustice dealt out to anyone and everyone? There is a lot to ponder.

A friend sent this post to make the 10 desserts we grow up eating. I woke up and decided to make my favorite of the 10 desserts to take my mind off the stress and worries for a moment. I followed my recipe below, though I decided to add the black-eyed beans suggested in the other recipe. Its a beautiful bowl of colors; we all need a little pick-me-up during this difficult time.


  • 50g black-eyed bean
  • 1 small yellow sweet potato, skinned and diced
  • 1 small orange sweet potato, skinned and diced
  • 1 small purple yam, skinned and diced
  • 1 small taro, skinned and diced
  • 8 oz water + 3 oz sugar for syrup
  • 6 screw pine leaves, tied into a knot
  • 16 oz thick coconut milk diluted with 8 oz water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 oz water chestnut
  • 2 oz tapioca flour, divide into 1 oz each
  • A few drops of green and red food coloring
  • 50g tapioca pearls
  • 5 Tbsp sugar dissolved in 8 oz water to make syrup, divide into two bowls


  1. Soak black-eye beans for 2 hours. Boil the beans in a pot of water until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Steam diced sweet potatoes and taro for 5-7 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.
  3. Dissolve 3 oz sugar in 8 oz water and bring to a boil in a medium size pot with pine leaves. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the diluted coconut milk and salt, bring to boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Chill in the refrigerator if desired.
  5. Dice water chestnut into pomegranate seed-sized bits. Divide into two portions. Add green food coloring to one portion and mix well until the water chestnut is dyed deep green. Similarly, add red food coloring to the other portion in a separate bowl and mix until the water chestnut is dyed deep pink.
  6. Place the dyed water chestnut into separate resealable sandwich bags. Add one oz of tapioca flour to each bag. Seal the bag and shake well until the chestnut bits are coated evenly with tapioca flour.
  7. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the green chestnut bits to the boiling water. When the bits float to the surface, scoop them out with a strainer into a bowl of cold water. Drain and rinse again in cold water. Soak emerald bits in syrup until ready to use. Repeat the steps with red ruby chestnut bits.
  8. Bring 5 cups of water to boil. Add sago and simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and cover the pot with the lid and let the sago continue to cook for another 10 minutes. The sago should turn translucent when ready. Drain and transfer the sago into a ice water bath, stir to separate the pearls. Drain again and set sago aside.
  9. To serve, scoop a tablespoonful of sweet potatoes, yam, taro, sago, green emerald, and red ruby bits into serving bowl. Add chilled coconut milk. Enjoy.

Bubor Cha Cha2

Burbor Cha Cha

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  • Just A Simple Guy May 18, 2015 at 5:21 am

    love this dessert…..

    • recipeswecherish May 19, 2015 at 7:02 am

      Did you try it in Singapore? If only I have a shave ice machine too. This will be perfect and gets a yum yum vote.

      • Just A Simple Guy May 19, 2015 at 11:57 pm

        actually no. I tried it in Malaysia and also kinda know how to make it myself. In the dessert shops, the ingredients are not much compared to home cook. You can also put jackfruit in it as it also goes well with the coconut milk.


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