Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Homemade Kaya (Coconut Egg Jam) in 15 Minutes

I made this kaya jam twice during the past 1 week. I used 1 tbsp from the 1st bottle for my pandan kaya butter cake on Friday and I finished the rest within 2 days. Then, because I still had so many pandan leaves left and I was still craving for more homemade kaya, I made the 2nd bottle on Sunday and these fotos were from the 2nd batch.

For those who have never heard of this jam, Kaya Jam or Coconut Egg Jam is actually a jam made from coconut milk, eggs, pandan leaves and sugar. This kaya jam is very popular in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As far as I know, there is nobody whom I know who dislikes kaya jam or kaya toast (toasted bread with kaya and butter). The famous Singapore food blog ieatishootipost once blogged about how to make kaya using the traditional bain-marie method, I have no doubt that method produces very delicious kaya, but it will take you at least 1 hour, if not 2 hours. If you have little time to spare, then this method below will be your life-saviour. :)

This method of making kaya jam is so easy that I can easily make a bottle a day, one after another! I can even make 2 to 3 bottles per day, just give me 1 straight hour of undisturbed quality time! You don't have to stand in front of the stove for hours on end, stirring and stirring and keeping watch of the heat. Just spend 15 min from start to end and you have a bottle of nice and fresh kaya that keeps for at least 1 week in the fridge. Actually I have no idea how long it can keep in the fridge, because it is so good that I can finish the whole bottle all by myself within 2-3 days. My 14-month-old baby knows what good kaya is, after having eaten one piece of bread with kaya spread, she kept asking for more kaya and rejected breads with other spreads. :)

This kaya is very creamy and the taste from the palm sugar is really heavenly! You may ask why is the kaya brown? Is it because the kaya is caramelized by heating up sugar in a pot? No, actually the brown colour is from the palm sugar or gula melaka. Palm sugar and gula melaka are the same thing, by the way. I used a combination of palm sugar and normal white sugar; palm sugar to give it a caramelized flavour and white sugar to give it the required level of sweetness. I find that I will not be able to achieve the same taste if I use 100% palm sugar or 100% white sugar, the ratio has to be 50-50.

The only thing which I differed from the original recipe was the use of canned coconut milk instead of fresh coconut milk. You know where I live, it is nearly impossible to get fresh coconut. So far I tried 2 brands of canned coconut milk, the first one was Chao Koh brand (250ml box) which turned out to be very watery and not very thick; the second one was Rajah brand (400ml can) which had a layer of hardened coconut cream on top and a layer of coconut juice just below the cream. I shook the can hard before opening, but the cream was so hard that there was no way I could get a well-mixed coconut milk from the Raja brand no matter how hard I shook. I was only supposed to use 200ml of coconut milk, so I made sure I scooped half of the hardened coconut cream and top it up with coconut juice to make 200ml.

Recipe adapted from KitchenTigress (big thank you!), you can watch her video here

4 egg yolks at room temp, well-beaten
45g palm sugar/gula melaka, or 3 rounded tablespoons
45g white sugar, or 3 rounded tablespoons
200ml undiluted coconut milk, fresh or canned
4 fresh pandan leaves

1. First, beat 4 egg yolks thoroughly with a handwhisk (or fork or chopsticks, up to you, just make sure it is well-beaten). 

2. Add the palm sugar, white sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves in a pot over medium heat. Stir constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture begins to simmer. Turn off the heat.

3. Slowly pour 1/2 of the coconut milk into the egg yolks, stirring at the same time.

4. Then pour the combined mixture back into the remaining coconut milk in the pot, turn on the heat back to medium-low / medium. Keep stirring for the next 10-15 minutes. You will see the kaya thicken gradually over the next 10-15 min. The kaya, though thickened, may still look a little runny after 15 min. In fact, I cooked mine for 15 min, but don't worry, it will set if you leave it in the fridge.

5. Remove the pandan leaves and transfer the thickened kaya into a clean sterilized glass jar, leave the jar lid open to cool down completely. When it is completely cooled, close the jar and keep in the fridge. It can be kept in the fridge for 1 week. 

Important Notes :
- Make sure you extract only egg yolks and there are no remnants of egg whites attached to the egg yolks, otherwise the egg whites will curdle at the next stage, and you will end up with lumpy or grainy kaya.

- The eggs have to be at room temperature, if they are too cold, it will not thicken easily when you pour hot coconut milk into the egg yolks.

- Please follow the steps and first pour 1/2 of the hot coconut milk into the egg yolks and then back into the coconut milk. If you do the reverse, you may end up with lumpy or grainy kaya.

- If you are using blocks of palm sugar, make sure you chop or crush them into finer pieces. I am using the Srikandi brand of powdered palm sugar which is already in powdered form, no need to chop or crush.

- If you don't have palm sugar, I strongly recommend that you go get your hands on 1 packet, bcos this kaya won't taste nice without palm sugar. Worst comes worst, you may replace palm sugar with brown sugar, but the taste will be slightly different. If you use just white sugar alone without any palm sugar or brown sugar, the taste will be completely different, which I will not recommend.

- If you don't have fresh pandan leaves, you may add artificial pandan paste. The best pandan paste is the koepoe koepoe pandan paste from Indonesia, it is available both in Singapore and in Belgium. I got mine from Sheng Siong supermart in SG.

- You may cut the pandan leaves to a length which will fit into the pot, but don't cut them too short, otherwise you would have to spend more time to pick out the small pieces at the end.

- When you are removing the pandan leaves, hold on to one end of the leaf using one hand, and using another hand, use a pair of chopsticks to squeeze the pandan leaves to catch any remnants of kaya jam sticking to the leaves, so that the kaya jam will not be wasted.

Sorry, I know I am a bit cheong-hei (long-winded), but if you watch the video from KitchenTigress and follow my notes, making this kaya will be a breeze!


  1. Mmmmm... lekker! Must make this next time..

    Actually the palm sugar I was more familar with when in Malaysia was the dark brown sugar blocks. Very similar to the indonesian gula jawa. I think the dark brown ones are less sweet than the Thai lighter version you are using here. This lighter version crumbles easily than gula jawa, which is as hard as a rock. If I had a choice, I prefer gula jawa, with its bitter sweet taste, very caremelised, great with the sago dessert. YUM!

    1. Oh, I was mistaken, it was actually from Indonesia. The packaging says: product of CASSANA, Semarang, Indonesia. I always thought it was from Thailand, because the name Srikandi sounds Thai to me :)

      I bought this brand of powdered palm sugar because it is more convenient, you don't have to chop or crush and I have used it several times before, it always tastes great. The next time I should try one of those dark brown sugar blocks, just to see what is the difference in taste. :)

  2. I've just noted down your recipe and will make this kaya, cos the jar you gave me is "bijna leeg". Heel erg lekker :-D

    1. Die van mij was leeg 2 dagen geleden. Ik moet dringend palmsuiker kopen! :)

  3. "Mae Ploy" is a Thai brand coconut milk that is pretty good. Of course, Ayam brand is the best if you can find it. I will try this recipe as I do love kaya. I have tried the microwave version but the tasste is not consistent. Btw, I grate the chunk of gula melaka and leave it @ room temp. I know some people cook it into a liquid and store it that way.

  4. i just followed yr recipe above.....thanks a million it was super duper smooth, silky and yummy. Most of all it is easy and not time comsuming.

    1. Hi Lai,
      Thanks for your feedback. Just curious what brand of coconut milk did you use?

  5. dear ms B,
    i am ever sooooo grateful that i read and follow your easy recipe for kaya. i totally love it and have been meaning to get the traditional recipe and which will take like 2 hours. so i hesitated and thought there must be an easier recipe than that and voila...your recipe. it worked and i love it. i used AYAM coconut milk and the consistency is perfect for me and i love the taste. many thanks to you !

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks for your feedback and I'm glad you are happy with the results. I have made this more than 20x already. :)

      I like to recreate the taste of home. Kaya is something we can't get here, so the only way is to make it myself. My son is crazy about meat floss and once the only packet we brought back from Singapore is finished, I will be forced to learn how to make meat floss! :)

  6. Hi Ms B,
    Looks delicious. Recipe looks similar to that for pastry cream, would it work if you added flour to the egg mixture as this hopefully means even less stirring?

    1. Pls follow the recipe and do not add flour. Adding flour will only make it lumpy and gritty, and affect the taste. It will not reduce stirring time at all.

  7. Hiya I don't have much luck finding pandan leaves, is there an alternative? Thank you!!

    1. The alternative would be to use pandan essence or pandan paste. I recommend koepoe koepoe brand from Indonesia.

  8. Can I use all gula Melaka instead of the 50:50?

    1. Up to you, if you don't mind the gula melaka taste, but the colour will be very brown...

  9. I have tried it today. Very delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  10. Your recipe is very similar to the one published in the kitchen tigress, but she had it first, you should make it clear in your blog

    1. I have already stated very clearly that I adapted this recipe from kitchen tigress, I gave the video link and I said a big thank you to her. This was stated right from the beginning, I did not amend the post. Shall I point you to which line it is. Pls wear your spectacles before you start accusing me of not giving anybody credit.

    2. Right on top of ingredients

      Recipe adapted from Kitchen Tigress (big thank you!), you can watch her video here (hyperlink)

  11. Hi,I also stumbled to this recipe I am shocked to see this Pumpkin Kaya, it is really interesting and healthy, not the eggs are not healthy.
    Nowadays the dietitians said that all the skin or just under the skin of any fruits or root veggie have the best nourishment. Since then I cooked with the skin of the pumpkin. I was surprised that it was not that hard that we think. Just wash well and for this recipe, remove the seeds only but all must stay. Those " feelers " attached to the seeds are the best too. He said all mum wanted to give their baby the best.

  12. I just tried this kaya recipe a minute ago. Turned out good, dont think I will buy d store one anymore. All this while I must make sure there's always kaya in our fridge, since my husband never get bored with kaya toast for his breakfast. Thanks for sharing this super easy recipe..

  13. Need to try this! But I can't get pandan leafes here. Can I use pandan extract? And if, how much?


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