Black=eyed peas, pink flowers, bubur cha cha, Chinese New Year, Penang, Nyonya,
A Nyonya in UK, Chinese New Year, Culture, Snack, Sweets and Puddings

Chap Goh Meh, or the 15th Night


nyonya, recipe, easy, Chinese, Straits bornBubur Cha Cha

As you have already known, Chinese New Year is celebrated for 15 days. The 8th day is the day of prayers to the Jade Emperor, as I have written about it earlier. The last day of the CNY celebration is on the fifteenth night, although many prayers and offerings are made during the day.

Chap Goh Meh means 15th night. It is also known as the Chinese Valentine day. On this day, long ago, maidens would come out in the evening dressed in their finest. The wealthier ones would be in rickshaws. In the old days young ladies were not allowed to make contact with young men. So the only day of the whole year where young men and young women can meet each other was on this night. In Penang, according to my late mother, the young ladies would throw oranges in to the sea at the Esplanade. This signifies their wish of marrying a good husband. 

Nowadays, most love birds would go out for a romantic meal. Of course, prayers are held at home to mark the last day of the new year. Things then go back to normal after the 15th.

In our household in Province Wellesley ( as it was known then), my mum would make Bubur Cha Cha as one of the offerings in the prayers. I am not sure what was the reason behind this. As far as I can remember, most of our neighbours did it. I think only the Hokkiens do this.

As the weather is bad since last week, I dare not drive to Leicester to get my supple of yam, or taro. So I asked my daughter whether she can find it on-line. The nearest we got was purple sweet potato. I was elated as I was look for purple sweet potatoes in the supermarket but there was none. I have many recipes that I want to try using purple sweet potatoes. So we ordered some.

As I do not have yam or taro, I used half orange sweet potato and half purple sweet potatoes. Yay!!

Here is the recipe:

Bubur Cha Cha

Quick Info

Serves:       6-8
Difficulty:   easy
Cost:          £
Time:         40 mins to prep


200g Orange sweet potato
200g Yam or taro
200g Purple sweet potato
½ tin Black-eyed pea (400g tin, net 235g)

20g Sago pearls

Tapioca jelly
60g Tapioca flour
40g Corn flour
120g Hot water
Food colouring

1 tin Coconut milk (400ml)
140g Sugar or to taste
1 Pandan leaf – washed, torn and knotted
¼ tsp salt
600ml Water


  1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes and yam into cubes or your desired shape. I cut mine into diamond shape.
  2. Steam the root vegetables, separately, until cooked, about 10 to 12 minutes. A fork should go through it when pricked. Set aside.
  3. Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas and set aside


To prepare the sago

  1. Rinse the sago and boil it with some water until it is transparent.
  2. Drain and leave in cold water. Set aside

To make tapioca jelly:

  1. Mix the 2 flours together and divided into 50g each in a bowl.
  2. Divide the hot water into 2 and add food colour to it. I used red and green (pandan flavour) You can use rose flavour for the pink if you wish.
  3. Pour the hot water into the flour and mix with a fork. If the mixture is still watery, micro-wave the content for 10 seconds. Then mix the dough. It should come together as some of the dough will be cooked.
  4. Then knead it with your hands until a soft pliable dough is formed. Wrap with cling wrap and set aside.
  5. Repeat with the other bowl of flour and colour.
  6. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 2-3mm thick. Then cut out patterns with a cutter. Set aside.
  7. Repeat for the other colour.
  8. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add in the pieces, making sure that you do not add all at once as it will clump together. When the dough floats, it is cooked.
  9. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in cold water
pink flowers, bubur cha cha, Chinese New Year, Penang, Nyonya,
Pretty pink tapioca flowers.
green flowers, bubur cha cha, Chinese New Year, Penang, Nyonya,
Gorgeous green flowers and butterflies.


The sauce

    1. Mix the coconut milk, sugar, water and pandan leaves. Bring to a gently boil. Add in the salt.

To serve

  1. In a bowl, spoon some sweet potatoes and yams. With a slotted spoon, add some of the tapioca jelly, sago pearls and the black-eyed peas.
  2. Top with the sauce and serve.


black-eyed peas, bubur cha cha, Chinese New Year, Penang, Nyonya,
Bubur cha cha, with colourful jelly.




Back in the old days, we add in all the ingredients into the boiling sauce and then ladle up to serve.
I find that it is better to separate the sauce from the rest of the ingredients as then you can keep it in the fridge if you have left-over. This way the coconut sauce will not be stained by the root vegetables, especially the purple sweet potatoes. It will make the sauce murky and grey.

I hope you find my method of preparation easy and practical. Enjoy the bubur!!!

Please let me know how you get on.

Until the next post, Happy Chap Goh Meh!

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