What is kaya? It is basically an egg-based jam with coconut milk (or coconut cream for that full taste), enriched with the wonderful aroma of pandan. I would not say it’s invented in Singapore because there are different variants from the Southeast Asia region. I had never thought it would be possible to make it at home because it was so easily available in Singapore, but one day my mother made it at home and I was sold. It was so fragrant because of the high quality ingredients and not as sickeningly sweet as commercial ones.
Now that I’m in Germany, I make it occasionally when I have some coconut milk to use up or when I’m missing a taste of home. The original recipe I have calls for pandan leaves but I’ve changed it to pandan essence and paste as I cannot get fresh leaves here.
- 5 eggs
- 200ml coconut milk
- 220g caster sugar (or if you like, use 200g gula Melaka instead)
- 3 pandan leaves / (I have substituted it with ½ tsp pandan paste + ¼ tsp pandan essence)
- Lightly beat eggs with sugar in a pot.
- Tie the pandan leaves (if using) into a knot and add to the egg mixture. Place the pot over low heat to infuse the egg mixture with pandan aroma.
If not using pandan leaves, just continue to whisk the egg mixture to dissolve the sugar. You may also place it over low heat to melt the sugar easily.
- Prepare a pot of boiling water for a bain marie.
- Add the coconut milk to the egg mixture and strain it into a bowl suitable to be placed over the bain marie. (I usually skip the straining part – too lazy to wash another item)
- Place the bowl over the bain marie and let the mixture cook till thickened, while stirring occasionally. This will take around 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your top bowl (the more surface area the hot steam reaches, the faster it cooks).
- The jam is ready when it has the consistency of thickened custard. You may blend it if it looks grainy, or leave it for a rustic look.
- Spoon into prepared jam jars and let cool.
- Store in the fridge.
Here are some consumption ideas:
- spread it on bread
- as a dip for roti prata, alkaline glutinous rice dumplings (kee chang) and French toast (I love kaya with kee chang!!)
- topping for your overnight oats
- as a filling for your puff pastry pockets (kaya puffs!)
Have you tasted kaya before? How do you consume it? Share your ideas with me because I’m always looking for ways to finish up my jar of kaya (the above recipe makes quite a fair bit)