Creamy Cape Malay Boeber

Iftar Ramadhan traditions - Boeber

Cape Malay Boeber is a creamy and delicious milky dessert type beverage thickened with sago and vermicelli.

Our Cape Malay recipe for Boeber is flavored with browned butter, cinnamon and cardamom; sweetened with condensed milk and finished with rose water and flaked almonds.

Unlike Cape Malay sago pudding recipes, Boeber does not contain eggs and is not baked in the oven. It is nothing like a South African Melkkos recipe and is not cooked in the style of bechamel sauce. It can be very liquid when hot but does thicken significantly from the vermicelli and sago when it cools.

In our home there were two things we always had to have for breaking the fast at the time of iftar; soup and / or Boeber. As a child I must admit I was not very fond of the meat and vegetable soup that my father loved, so my mother always made Boeber for iftar too.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my mother’s boeber recipe is the best I have ever eaten. The difference between her Cape Malay boeber recipe and others I have tasted is the browned butter that gives it a rich and nutty flavor, and the condensed milk that adds a creamy sweetness.

Although my mother had standard quantities of milk to vermicelli and sago, I had not seen her make it in many years and have developed my own recipe based on her list of ingredients. From my earliest memory my mother made her easy boeber recipe with condensed milk instead of sugar. The condensed milk gives a subtle sweetness and makes it more creamy than if you only added granulated sugar.

The smell when the Boeber is cooking will perfume the home with the most delightful fragrance. As I came into the kitchen and smelled it cooking my first thought was, ‘it smells like my mother’s kitchen’. May Allah have mercy on her soul and those who have left this life, and grant them the highest paradise.


Boeber and daltjies

Origins of Cape Malay Boeber

I had never heard of anything named similarly but our ancestry always made me wonder if there was something out there I was yet to discover. You can read more about my Cape Malay DNA Ethnicity estimate to see just how much of a mongrel I am 🙂

One night I was re-watching an episode of John Tirode’s Malaysian Adventure, and heard his Malaysian guide for the day mention a dish they always had at iftar called Bubur Lemak. It turned out to be a porridge of rice, meat and spices eaten at iftar. Further research brought me to a dessert dish called Bubur Cha Cha in which the Malays use coconut milk and sago!

It is customary during Ramadan that the 15th iftar is commemorated with the making of boeber by all the Cape Malay households and it became known over the generations as ‘Boeber Night’.

I must admit that as a child I found it weird, because we had boeber served on most nights at iftar. However, on Boeber night my mother would send a jug of boeber to our neighbours in addition to the normal sweet or savoury snack plate. The boeber can be eaten cold as a dessert, or hot as a beverage.

In Dubai I was introduced to an Indian vermicelli and milk dessert referred to as Seviyan Kheer (vermicelli kheer) and the similar Semiya Payasam from South India. Both looked like Cape Malay Boeber but tasted nothing like it and I found them too sweet and not very flavorful.



How to make Boeber with condensed milk

  • Soak the sago in cold water for at least 30 minutes before it must be added to the boeber. Pour off the excess water before adding it to the boeber.
  • Add the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods to the butter as the frying will release the essential oils and aromas.
  • Allow the butter to brown while stirring the vermicelli, but take care that it does not burn.
  • After adding the milk, the pot requires slow simmering and occasional stirring to ensure that the milk doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom. I use a flat edged wooden spoon to stir and prevent the bottom catching.
  • As it simmers and thickens a skin will form on the top… do not strain or remove it. Stir it into the bubbling liquid and it will make it creamier and more luscious.
  • When reheating, don’t add milk immediately because it will become looser as it heats up. If it still looks too thick then add milk and allow to come to the boil before serving.


What to eat with Boeber

For more easy Ramadan recipes click on the links below



Razena Schroeder
Cape Malay Boeber is a creamy, sweet and delicious milky beverage flavored with browned butter, cardamom and cinnamon and thickened with vermicelli and sago.
5 from 37 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Beverages
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 8
Calories 472 kcal


  • 50 grams butter
  • 80 grams fine vermicelli approximately 500 ml or 2 cups
  • 80 ml sago pearls approximately 1/3 cup
  • 5 pieces cinnamon approximately half of a small quill
  • 5 green cardamom pods bash open
  • 2 litres milk
  • 395 grams condensed milk approximately 1 can
  • 125 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 125 ml almond flakes toasted


  • Rinse the sago, cover with water and allow to soak for 20 minutes.
  • On a low heat, melt the butter in a pot and add the vermicelli.
  • Add the cinnamon and cardamom pods and ensure that it fries a little in the butter as this releases the essential oils.
  • Allow the butter to brown while stirring the vermicelli, but do not allow it to burn. This should not be longer than 5 minutes.
  • When you can smell the brown butter and the vermicelli is golden, add the milk.
  • Increase the heat to medium and allow the milk to come to a slow simmer.
  • Stir regularly to ensure that the milk does not burn on the bottom of the pot.
  • After simmering for 20 minutes add the sago.
  • Allow the boeber to simmer on low heat until the sago pearls are completely clear and cooked. This may take 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the condensed milk and fill the empty can halfway with hot water and add to the boeber.
  • Stir thoroughly and simmer for five minutes more for the flavors to combine.
  • Add 1 teaspoon rose water and stir to combine.
  • Serve topped with toasted flaked almonds.


The boeber will thicken as it cools but don't add milk until you need to use it again. Check the consistency after it warms up before adding more milk, if required.


Serving: 250mlCalories: 472kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 10gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 180mgPotassium: 400mgFiber: 3gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 385IUVitamin C: 2.2mgCalcium: 258mgIron: 1.2mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword easy dessert, egg free recipe, halaal recipes, no bake desserts
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This recipe was first published on 22/06/2015 has since been updated.







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  • Reply
    noah smith
    April 8, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    Boebar brings the warmth of South African hospitality in every sip, a flavorful escape to cherish! ☕️🌍 #TasteOfAfrica”

  • Reply
    Danielle Rice
    June 26, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    I have never heard of this dessert. I will have to try to make this myself. The recipe looks pretty easy to follow.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    O wow this looks amazing. I cannot wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Genny Gall
    May 22, 2019 at 4:44 am

    What a marvelous tips that I will follow one by one, so delicious

  • Reply
    Kalyan Panja
    May 21, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    This dessert recipe looks easy to prepare. I would love to prepare and taste it.

  • Reply
    Mudpie Fridays
    May 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    That looks amazing! I will have to try this with my family and I can’t wait for it. I bet it’s going to be delicious

  • Reply
    alexandra cool
    May 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    wow i will make sure to try this at home it looks really delicious and easy to make

  • Reply
    May 21, 2019 at 2:25 am

    Oh wow this looks so tasty! I am always looking for something new to make for the family, and plan to try this recipe this weekend!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Wow this recipe looks so delicious and easy to make can’t wait to try to make this recipe so yummy!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Wow, love the recipe. We make it either by sago or vermicelli. Never tried the combo before. I love it chilled. Thank you making it today.

  • Reply
    Erik the HungryTraveller
    May 20, 2019 at 7:32 am

    This the first time I heard of this meal. And I am very curious to try it. Although im not sure if I can make one coz im bad at cooking.

  • Reply
    Lydia Smith
    May 20, 2019 at 6:50 am

    Am a fan of good food and this looks delicious and healthy.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Ohhhhh so it goes with milk, I will definitely dig this one. Might try to make one soon to test taste

  • Reply
    May 20, 2019 at 3:57 am

    This looks delicious and full of flavor! Awesome pictures and recipe.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2019 at 3:55 am

    That looks delicious! Awesome recipe. Lovely pictures!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2019 at 2:55 am

    I wonder if this is something I can buy at a restaurant.. I hate that it looks so good but I can’t taste it. And I know I couldn’t be bothered to make anything.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      May 20, 2019 at 3:08 am

      Haha what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. If you don’t like cooking then you are missing out on a treat.

      • Reply
        Asa Martin
        June 11, 2021 at 2:57 pm

        Resend your last mail I can’t find it waiting please pretty please
        Asa Martin Australia

  • Reply
    The Virginia Nymph
    May 20, 2019 at 12:00 am

    I’ve never heard of Boeber before but it sounds delicious ! It’s making me wonder if any restaurants near me have something like this on the menu. YUM!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      May 20, 2019 at 3:05 am

      I doubt they will. It’s a very local dish and seldom served in restaurants even in Cape Town. It’s easy enough to make. I have eaten something similar but not tasty in Indian restaurants, but depending on the regional cuisine they may have different names for it.👍

  • Reply
    Kathy Kenny Ngo
    May 19, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I’ve actually tried this out. It’s really sweet, thick, and creamy. I loved this.

  • Reply
    Bindu Thomas
    May 19, 2019 at 11:11 am

    That looks absolutely yummy. I cant wait to try it. My kids are going to love this.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      May 19, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      We usually eat it warm but a few of my colleagues have said that they love to eat it cold like a dessert.

  • Reply
    Krysten Quiles
    May 18, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Oh my goodness that looks absolutely delish. I would love the opportunity to try this sometime. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Michaela @ Wild & Precious
    June 1, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing– and thank you for providing such rich context for the recipe, as well!

  • Reply
    June 1, 2017 at 1:45 am

    I can honestly say I have never had anything like this. I would definitely be interested in giving this a try; although I may have to go to a restaurant to get the authentic taste!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      You are unlikely to find this served in any restaurant, at least none that I know of 🙂

  • Reply
    Kerry May
    June 1, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Never heard of it before, but it is something I would try. Thank you for posting the back story to it too.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 1, 2017 at 12:19 am

      I think it is always useful to give context to recipes, especially ones that are not well known outside of a small geographic area.

  • Reply
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
    June 14, 2016 at 1:25 am

    I’ve never had anything like this but it sounds completely wonderful!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:35 am

      It is very simple to make but very satisfying and delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    Bintu | Recipes from a Pantry
    June 14, 2016 at 1:14 am

    This is absolutely stunning! We will be trying it once the weather turns colder!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:35 am

      I love it hot, but my friends say that they loved it just as well cold. One says her husband finished it and ate it like a cold pudding 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Browned butter and cinnamon are such delicious flavors together…I bet this drink is absolutely wonderful!!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      June 14, 2016 at 10:34 am

      It is probably my favorite and the smell that perfumes the house while it is cooking is amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    June 13, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I love desserts with cinnamon! I would love to try this!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    This looks and sounds very similar to the sevai kheer we make in India. It’s one of my favorite desserts, and your recipe really makes me want to get up and make it right now!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      December 8, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      If it’s cold where you are, then this is the perfect thing to have 🙂

  • Reply
    Framed Recipes
    December 7, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    This is so much like the vermicelli sago kheer we make. Never tried it with cinnamon, but your recipe is forcing me to try it with cinnamon. I am surely going to try adding some cinnamon next time I make it. – Sreelatha

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      December 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      I hope you like it and let me know what you think of the flavor with cinnamon.

  • Reply
    Rafeeda @ The Big Sweet Tooth
    December 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

    This looks just like our vermicelli sago kheer… but we roast in ghee, you have roasted it in brown butter, and the addition of cinnamon is totally new… got to try this…

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      December 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      The brown butter gives it a completely different flavor to ghee and the cinnamon and cardamom add a very warming spicy note.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    This sounds delicious. Admittedly, this is the first I’ve heard of Boeber but the ingredients like brown butter and condensed milk always bring me thoughts of comfort.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      December 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      The brown butter and condensed milk gives it such a delicious flavor. I hope you try it some time 🙂

  • Reply
    Claudia | Gourmet Project
    December 4, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    perfect for cozy winter nights on the couch, watching christmas movies!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 1:31 am

    My taste buds are indeed tantalized!
    And can I call this amazing recipe Justin Boeber?! 😀
    Amazing stuff! Thank you for sharing. 🙂 FIVE STAR!

    • Reply
      June 29, 2015 at 4:49 am

      Lol @ Justin Boeber. I hope you will try it sometime 🙂

  • Reply
    Rebecca Winkler
    June 27, 2015 at 2:27 am

    This has so many flavors I love–cardamom, butter, almonds…the list goes on. Sounds so good!

    • Reply
      June 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      You should try it 🙂

  • Reply
    Byron Thomas
    June 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    This is a brand new thing for me… I’ve never seen anything like it. I imagine having a cup of this before bedtime. Is that wrong? 😉