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Just realised I haven’t done a recipe post for ages! It is not that I don’t cook at home often enough, in fact I actually spend even more time in kitchen these days than ever before! It’s just that I am super busy lately and hardly go out for dinner, whatever I cook these days are nothing fancy, but simple humble meals of pasta, or steamed rice with one vege two meats. But last Saturday I was in cooking mood and spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen, braising osso bucco in red wine, baking chocolate pudding cakes, and also making one of the most delicious jam spread called Kaya which only needs 4 ingrediens – eggs, sugar, coconut cream and pandan leaves.

Kaya the word in Malay means “rich”, self explanatory really. Whoever had tasted the kaya before would agree that ‘Kaya’ is possibly the most appropriate name for this sweet, decadent, rich, irresistible jam spread for the simple white toast! I could not believe we hardly had any kaya while we were in Malaysia last month and now I am craving for it badly. Then last week I was given a bunch of fresh pandan leaves by the lady from the Asian supermarket in Gosford where I shop frequently, and no doubt the first thing that comes to my mind is to use the pandan leaves and make kaya. I searched the internet for a good kaya recipe and found Steph’s recipe is possibly the most reliable and her kaya also looks so damn good, and decided to give it a go.

As I want the kaya to have a stronger toffee flavour, I substituted part of the sugar content using brown sugar which also gives the kaya a darker brown like caramel instead of the golden colour. Some recipes suggest to achieve a vibrant red-ish golden colour is by adding caramelised sugar into the mixture. The colour doesn’t really affect the flavour, as it tasted just as amazing, sweet and creamy, eggy but fragrant with coconut milk and pandan leaves, with a hint of toffee lingers in the mouth afterwards. This recipe requires patience and determination. Good things come to those who wait, take it slow and you will be rewarded with the silkiest, creamiest rich kaya you’ve ever tasted.

Kaya toast is a very popular breakfast item in Malaysia and Singapore. We usually spread kaya jam sparingly on steamed or toasted white bread with thick slabs of butter in between. You’ll find most restaurants in Malaysia usually serve kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs with a cup of kopi (or white coffee) on the breakfast set menu.

The kaya is actually very easy to make, I urge you to give it a try.

Sri Kaya recipe
(fills one and a half of 8oz jars)

3 eggs
2 egg yolks
100g castor sugar
50g brown sugar
250ml thick coconut milk, from grated white of 2 coconuts (If use cans, make sure it is 100% coconut milk extract. I used Ayam's brand 100% coconut cream)
3–4 screwpine leaves (pandan leaves), knotted


1. Set up a double boiler - fill a pot with water around 3/4 full and bring to boil. Once boiled, turn it down to low/medium heat, the water should be just simmering with bubbles at the bottom of the pot.

2. Use a large mixing bowl (I use a large metal mixing bowl), add eggs and sugar and beat them together until all sugar is dissolved.

3. Slowly add coconut cream into mixture while whisking until well combined.

4. Place the mixing bowl on top of the double boilder with simmering hot water.

6. Tie a knot of all the pandan leaves together, add it into the mixture. Use a silicon spatula and keep stirring.

7. Scrape the side and the bottom of the mixture with the spatula constantly and pour it over the pandan leaves. That way it will stop the mixture cooking too fast with lumps at the bottom, and the hot mixture will extract the pandan flavour from the leaves.

8. The mixture will start to get thick and sticky. Test the mixture whether it is ready by using "parting the sea" technique - draw a line by scraping the mixture in one swift move using the spatula. If you can draw a clean line on the bowl for a second before the mixture flows like lava and covers the line, then it is ready.

9. Once ready, remove it from the heat. Take the pandan leaves out and discard. (Make sure you squeeze all the sticky jam goodness out of the pandan leaves before discarding it)

10. Leave it cool and it will thicken further. Then fill in a sterilised jar and keep in room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge up to a month. But seriously, you will finish the whole jar before you know it.