Bubur Cha Cha or sweet potato soup is a traditional Nyonya dessert. I believe that this dessert soup evolved from another similar dessert, sweet potato soup(蕃薯糖水)which is a traditional Chinese dessert. Nyonya cuisine contains many of the traditional Chinese ingredients but is also heavily influenced by Malay and Indian cooking via the spices used which resulted in a cuisine stronger in taste compared to traditional Chinese cuisine.
Bubur Cha Cha is simply sweet potato soup richly flavoured with coconut milk and scented with fragrant screwpine (pandan) leaves. I love eating the sweet potato and yam cubes which have been boiled to yummy softness and the sago pearls add lovely texture. Preparation is very easy and if you have a penchant for South East Asian desserts - bubur cha cha is a must. I am not very good with dessert soups I have to admit so this is another of my mom's delicious (and reliable!) recipes. Some versions of this classic dessert soup calls for steaming of the yam and sweet potatoes before adding into the prepared sweet soup mixture, however I find that boiling the yam and potatoes together result in richer and more aromatic flavours - at least for me.
For a bit of history, the Nyonyas and their male counterparts, the Babas belong to a group of Chinese called 'Peranakan Chinese' who are descendants of early Chinese settlers with the locals in Malacca. Malacca had strong trading ties with the Ming Court being a famous port at the time, according to historical records - a Chinese princess was betrothed to the Malacca Sultan at the time and the early Chinese settlers mentioned above were mostly part of her entourage.
1 medium sized yam, peeled and cubed
2 yellow sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 orange sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 can of coconut milk (we use fresh coconut milk when available)
8 cups of water
1/2 cup of sago
4 tbsps sugar or to taste
Pinch of salt
2 screwpine leaves (pandan leaves)
Firstly, boil the cubed yam in water with the screwpine leaves until slightly soft. Next, add the sweet potatoes and sago into the pot. Bring to a boil then turn heat to medium and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Test for softness of the potatoes. The sago will turn colour from opaque white to transparent. Add in the sugar and bring to a boil. Add more sugar if required. Finally, add a pinch of salt into the coconut milk then add the coconut milk into the pot. Bring to a boil. Serve hot or cold depending on your preferences.
Sunday, October 17, 2010 | Labels: asian desserts, Malaysian food, Malaysian recipes |
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