Kaya (Coconut jam) recipe

May 14, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Makes 1 medium-large jar of Kaya
Author Notes

Kaya is a spread used in breakfast or snack items (think dulce de leche made with coconut milk, made slightly savory by adding eggs). It's the one item that stood out to me most while living in Hong Kong, where so many cultures with their authentic cuisines mingle. It's got deep, nutty caramel notes from using brown sugar and a savory note from the eggs- almost like a brioche in jam form. The coconut milk gives it richness and fragrance. I like to spread it on perfectly browned toast (from good white bread like Pain de Mie) before I spread a generous amount of butter on top- it's important not to let the heat of the toast completely melt the butter because the richness of the dairy needs to have its own place. I also deviate from tradition and sprinkle some sea salt over it- it balances out the sweetness and enhances every bite! —Jen0315

What You'll Need
  • Ingredients for the Kaya
  • 5 eggs (preferably free-range or organic)
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (not too dark)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Kaya Toast
  • 1 slice of good white bread (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon good quality butter (cultured butter tastes better)
  • 1 pinch sea salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Kaya
  1. Ingredients for the Kaya
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Add the coconut milk to the eggs and sugar. (An additional step sometimes involves straining the mixture through a sieve- you can do this if you're scared of lumps but I choose not to and it turns out fine)
  4. Bring a pot of water to a slow simmer and place the bowl of eggs, sugar and coconut milk over it- the bowl needs to be touching the water.
  5. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes for about an hour. It'll start getting thick after about 30-40 minutes.
  6. (Note: Don't be alarmed by the lumps you may see, it's just the way it is and it After an hour it'll be the consistency of a very soft, not-quite set runny cookie dough. Spoon it into a clean jar.
  7. (Note: Don't be alarmed by the lumps you may see, it's just the way it is and it doesn't matter by the time you spread it over the toast. Please trust me on this, it's so worth it!)
  1. Kaya Toast
  2. Toast the bread so it's browned and crispy.
  3. Spread the Kaya evenly over the toast.
  4. Spread the butter over the Kaya-slathered toast- it's easier to use room-temperature butter, and make sure the toast isn't too hot that the butter turns into a puddle.
  5. Enjoy!
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See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Vaishnavi Kandhadai
    Vaishnavi Kandhadai
  • savorthis
  • aargersi
  • Jen0315

12 Reviews

Acey March 8, 2015
Any thoughts as to whether you could replace the sugar with honey? Also, about how long does it keep? Thanks!
Dmnsabino March 6, 2014
Jennifer February 9, 2014
The eggs, are they medium, large, extra large or jumbo?
Vaishnavi K. May 25, 2013
I tasted Kaya around seven years ago on a trip to Malaysia. I also brought a bottle home but was pretty crushed when it got over. I am so glad I stumbled upon your recipe yesterday and I cannot wait to make it!!
Jen0315 June 1, 2013
Did you try it yet? Hope it turns out well. Don't skimp on the butter! :)
Vaishnavi K. June 17, 2013
After sitting on my butt for the past couple of weeks, I finally made it this weekend. It turned out wonderfully!! Thanks a zillion for the recipe. I don't have to crave Kaya any more :D
savorthis May 24, 2013
I wonder if you could make this in a crockpot....any thoughts?
Jen0315 May 25, 2013
I suppose if you keep it at a really low temperature you can do that! I'd still recommend that you give it the occasional stir though, to avoid having huge lumps of cooked egg. :) Let me know how it turns out if you try it, but you might want to just try the actual recipe first to get a feel for how it behaves!
clintonhillbilly May 15, 2013
Thanks for this recipe! There is a restaurant here in LA that makes kaya toast with a sunny side up egg on top and some dark soy sauce drizzled over, and now I can emulate it at home and don't have to pay $12!
Jen0315 May 16, 2013
$12! It might just be because the Asian ingredients are a lot more available here in Hong Kong but that seems way overpriced! Hope you get round to making this, it's so worth it :)
aargersi May 14, 2013
This sounds amazing! It looks like the site doubles up on a few ingredients - you may want to go in and edit (right now each one is there twice, and salt three times!)
Jen0315 May 14, 2013
Thanks a lot! The recipe looks and sounds a bit challenging as the ingredients (eggs in a sweet spread) and item is new to most people but if you ever see a jar in a store I highly recommend it! :)