Bubur Biji Ketapang (in Sumatra) or Bubur Biji Salak (in Java).  Both are the same sweet snack and made from sweet potato which I prefer translate into Sweet Potato Dumpling instead Sweet Potato Porridge.

Bubur means porridge while biji means seed. Ketapang is a Terminalia catappa plant with many different common names such as Bengal almond, Singapore almond, Ebelebo, Malabar almond, Indian almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, Beach Almond, Talisay tree, and Umbrella tree. Salak (Salacca zalacca) is a palm tree (family Arecaceae) species native to Indonesia and known as snakefruit.

For those who know bubur candil, don’t get confused! Bubur Candil is similar to Bubur Biji Ketapang or Bubur Biji Salak but without sweet potato added.

This sweet snack was part of my childhood food. The sweetness can be adjusted to your tastebuds as I did. The original recipe from yasaboga suggested to add another 2 tablesspoons of raw canesugar beside 200 grams coconut or palm sugar which I omitted the use of canesugar.

I have changed slightly the method of making by baking the whole sweet potatoes instead of steaming. It resulted less water inside the sweet potatoes and less tapioca or sago starch to be added. I found the taste of sweet potatoes were sweeter.

Bubur Biji Ketapang (Bubur Biji Salak) was my childhood snack as well. Here is another Indonesian dish that is vegan and gluten free.

Bubur Biji Ketapang – Bubur Biji Salak Recipe
Indonesian Sweet Potato Dumpling

750 grams (1.7 lbs) sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
120 grams (4.2 oz) sago or tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
1.5 litter (6 cups) water
200 grams (7 oz.) coconut or palm sugar (I prefer using palm sugar as it has a darker result)
3 pandan leaves
1 tablespoon sago/tapioca flour, dissolved in a small amount of water

Coconut Milk Sauce
350 milliliter (1.5 cups) thick coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pandan leaf

Sweet Potato Balls
1. Wash sweet potatoes, wrap each potato in aluminum foil. Bake, folded side of foil up, at 400° F for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a fork easily presses into the center. If you like to get faster you can microwave them and it will take you about 15 minutes.

2. Let sweet potatoes to cool down and the skin will come off easily. Once the skin is off, transfer into a bowl and mash until smooth.

3. Remove 1/4 part of mashed sweet potatoes to another smaller bowl and combine with 1 tablespoon sago/tapioca flour mixture. Set aside.

4. Mix the 3/4 part with sago/tapioca flour, vanilla powder and salt. Knead until well-blended and form into small oval balls.

5. In a pot, combine water, palm sugar and pandan leaves. Bring to a boil. Place the oval-balls and continue to boil until all balls float. Add the sweet potatoes sago/tapioca mixture. Stir. Remove from the heat and pour thick coconut milk sauce on top.

Coconut Milk Sauce:
In a saucepan, combine thick coconut milk with salt and pandan leaves. Simmer and stir at low heat until boiling. Remove from heat and ready for sauce.


    • The darker red was resulted from palm sugar (gula aren). I found palm sugar from Indonesia is much more darker. The balls were boiling in palm sugar mixture. 🙂

  1. Hi Pepy! From the picture I thought it’s grape tomatoes because of the colors, but they are my favorite sweet potatoes! Oh how yum! I’ve never had sweet potato dumplings before. Must be so delicious. Love Asian sweets like this!

  2. Mmmm…this beautiful dessert looks delicious, very similar to our bubur cha cha in Malaysia, I think, although I have not tried this bubur biji salak before.

  3. Hi Pepy, looks terrific and it would please my wife Gwen, she loves sweets. By the way, she was born in Jakarta, which was known then as Batavia.
    I remember the fruit salak, it had a brown skin that looks like fish scales. Is that correct? My mother used to cook them as if she was brazing pears, very good eats. Well, salak is not available here in Florida but sweet potatoes are aplenty.
    Thanks and peace.

  4. Have you ever make Chicken Biryani Rice? Hard to find good recipe for this one. Would be pleased if you can share 😀

  5. Mbak, bubur biji salaknya mantaab nih….klo yg saya bikin tempo hari itu salah apa ya? porsi ubinya ga sebanyak Mbak Pepy…..klo bubur candil itu beda lagi ya? jenang grendul? huwaa….sy bener2 bingung skrg….

  6. Hai Mbak Pepy,

    Niat mau bikin bubur ini untuk teman yang alergi gluten. Numpang tanya nih… Itu yang 1/4 mashed sweet potatoes + 1 tbs tapioca fungsinya untuk sedikit mengentalkan kuah gula jawa ? Mohon jawabannya. Terima kasih. Salam dari Paris, Prancis.

  7. Hi
    my batter looks really wet, do you add more flour to be able to knead it, up to 200 gr even more?
    mine cannot form balls otherwise.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.