For those that don’t know what kaya is, it is a creamy, custardy coconut jam that hails from Malaysia and Singapore. It is often spread on plain toast with butter and accompanied with a runny egg and cup of coffee or tea. I was first introduced to it by my aunt Wendy when I visited her in Singapore, and I probably had it every other day- which is saying a lot considering Singapore is foodie heaven and each meal must be carefully planned to ensure you try as many dishes as possible! Making kaya is essentially making a custard. And custards are a tricky thing to make since they’re made of eggs. Egg proteins have an innate capacity to bond together (thus with heat, liquid raw egg turns into a solid cooked egg). In the case of custards and kaya, you want to achieve a thick creamy texture, but the line between smooth custard and funky sweet scrambled eggs is thin, so be attentive! —Globetrotter
- Makes 1 jar of kaya
pinch of kosher salt
pandan leaves, tied together in a knot (I found these frozen at a Thai market, they should be readily available frozen- didn’t have much luck for fresh ones)
- Kaya Toast
slices of white bread (I like the kind you get at Asian supermarkets and bakeries)
dark soy sauce
butter, room temperature
- In a small saucepan, mix the coconut milk, 1/2 cup of sugar and the knotted pandan leaves and bring it to a boil. Let the leaves steep covered in the coconut milk for about 10 minutes. Discard the leaves.
- In a separate stainless steel mixing bowl, mix all the eggs, 1/2 cup of remaining sugar and salt. Slowly, whisk the coconut mixture into the eggs. Simmer about an inch of water in a small pot an place this mixing bowl on top of it. Gently cook the custard with a spatula, constantly stirring. Keep an eye on the heat making sure to keep it very low, so your eggs don’t scramble. This process should take about 15-20 minutes. Don’t freak if you start seeing clumps in your custard- just whisk the mixture to break up the custard. You’ll know the custard is done when it is thick and creamy and your whisk or spatula leaves a trail in the custard for a few seconds.
- Take the custard off the heat and strain it through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl set over a bigger bowl with ice water in it. This will cool down the custard, stopping the cooking since there is residual cooking that happens off the heat.
- Cool the mixture and refrigerate. It should stay good for about a week. Now that the kaya is made, you’ll need to assemble kaya toast- perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.
- Assembling kaya toast: For soft-boiled egg: bring about an inch of water to a simmer and carefully slip the egg in, being careful not to crack the shell. Boil for about 5 minutes rotating the egg once after about 2 minutes. Take the egg out and run it under cold water. Place the egg in an egg holder and break the top of the egg open by taping a sharp knife around it. Season the egg with some soy sauce instead of salt. Toast the bread and spread some butter then kaya on both slices and dip your kaya toast in your soft-boiled egg and drizzle a little dark soy sauce over.