Posted by: gargupie | March 3, 2013

Bo Bo Cha Cha – Asian sweet soup (coconut milk, yam, and beans)

P1020043Oh my gosh! I did not even realized that I haven’t written a post for so long! Though I HAVE been taking pictures of my culinary works, but guess just got caught up with time.  To be honest, I have been committing a lot of thoughts and energy into figuring out my diet.  As most of you know, I have been a vegan for a few years (a vegetarian even longer), but have been contemplating going back to a pescetarian.  It was a mental struggle to reason with myself in purchasing my first piece of fish, butchering it, broiling it, and then consuming it.  Firstly, I was afraid of a physical, regurgitation reaction (to put this nicely and non-violently).  How would my body react after not having any animal product in my system for so long? Luckily, I had my first bite of fish three weeks ago and I felt fine.  What DID NOT go well was that I got a piece of farm-raised salmon and they fishiness residue stayed with me and that did not sit too well inside.  Not able to relent, I took a brief break and decided to conquer my fear ago.  This time, I got wild-caught arctic char, which has a lighter flavor and texture than sockeye salmon and that experience went better.  So my lesson is this – for your health, do not go cheap.  It is not worth the aftermath and self-condemn for choosing poor quality of food.  Quality over quantity. Remember that.

During my resting period from fish, my body continued to crave proteins and fats (that is one of the main reasons to go back to having fish. I know there are athletes who follows a vegan diet, but I believe that everyone’s body is distinct and perhaps mine just does not function well on that route…sadly…), so I played around with coconut milk because I just started to crave fats, but good ones.  I also love Asian sweet soups, such as azuki beans, black sesame, and sweet potatoes. Despite them being called ‘desserts’, I think if you control the sugar level, it could be onto itself – you’ve got your legumes, seeds, and even starches, so why not turn it into a meal?! Hence, I made bo bo cha cha, a Malay dessert soup that you could find on every menu.  Though I grew up on the ‘Chinese’ version, which includes beans, so that is what I am using in this recipe.  But what makes this dessert so special is the velvety, sweet coconut milk.  The sweetness and gentle coating of the cream texture contribute to this dessert’s heartiness and exotic flavor.  You could serve this soup hot or cold.  For me, it depends on the season. Now that it is winter, I find a hot bowl of  cha cha warms my heart and soul.


2 cups of diced yam
1/4 cup of kidney beans
1/4 cup of azuki beans
1/4 cup of mung beans
3 tablespoons of tapioca pearls
1/4 cup of sugar (more if you like more sweetness)
1/2 cup of coconut milk
5 cups of water


(1) Put the yams and beans in with the water into a pressure cooker.
(2) Bring everything to a boil and then lock in the cooker for three hours.
(3) Check to see if the ingredients have cooked or not. Boil some more if not. If you do not use a pressure cooker, a regular pot is fine, too.  After you bring everything to a boil, lower to a simmer and let it go for 20-30 minutes.
(4) When everything is cooked, pour in the coconut milk and tapioca pearls.  Turn on the medium heat, but do not let it over boil.
(5) Stir occasionally.  Once the tapioca pearls become translucent, put the cover back on, turn off the heat and let the soup sit for half an hour to ‘marinate’.  Then, it is ready to eat!



  1. I’ve never tried an Asian dessert soup. It’s quite unusual to have soups for dessert in the western sphere, however in northern Germany where I grew up, people have a sweet tooth by nature, so it’s not unusual they put sugar on their stewed kale ( 😯 ) or have a sweet soup for lunch. The one I remember very well from my childhood is my grandmom’s elderberry soup. It has a dark purple color (and makes terrible stains 😀 ) because it’s made from elderberry juice, and it contains pieces of apples and stemolina dumplings. I loved that soup as a child.

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