Kaya for Raya, anyone?

What do you get when you combine eggs, sugar, coconut milk, flavoured with pandan? Oh nothing much really...just the most delicious, mouth-watering pandan jam ever created in this planet. Really.

Known as ‘Kaya’ here in Malaysia, this thick and glossy spread is a must-have in most Malaysian households. ‘Kaya’ literally means ‘rich’ in Malay, and this word perfectly describes the taste of this spread. They have a rich, sweet flavour that accompanies distinct hints of coconut milk and eggs.

There are two variants of kaya- the original one, which is that beautiful brown in colour, and the pandan flavoured one, which has a hint of green courtesy of pandan leaves, known to some as screwpine leaves. The perfect kaya is one with just the right shade of colour and a smooth, even texture without any unsightly lumps.

The colour of the kaya depends on the extent of caramelisation of the sugar during the cooking process. The key to perfect caramelisation is simple-sugar to gently break down and caramelize, then mingle with the coconut milk and the eggs. Using a double boiler is of tremendous help in ensuring uniform heating, which prevents any burning from occurring.

Although kaya is widely available in Asian countries, nothing beats making them at home. Not only are they your very own labour of love, they are also free from preservatives and artificial colourings, so you can consume them without a hint of worry.

For me, preparing the kaya myself gives me extra satisfaction when I’m enjoying it. The most common way to enjoy it would be having them with some butter on a slice of toast-the hot, slightly crunchy texture of the toast combined with the gentle melting of the butter and sweetness of the kaya is simply exquisite and very Malaysian indeed.

Preparation time: < 5 minutes

Cooking time: < 10 minutes

Serves 10-12

4 large chicken eggs

4 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoon coconut cream

a bunch of pandan leaves, knotted

1. Crack eggs into a large bowl

2. Using a fork, break the egg yolks and roughly mix the eggs

3. Add sugar and coconut cream and mix well

4. Heat a pot of water over high heat. Wait until it boils vigorously

5. In another clean pot add egg mixture, knotted pandan leaves and place over a pot of water, making sure it does not touch boiling water in the bottom pot

6.  Diligently stir pandan egg mixture until you achieve a smooth consistency. This should take about 5 minutes

7. Pour pandan jam in a clean bowl

8. Spread pandan jam over toast to eat for breakfast.

9. Keep remaining pandan jam in the refrigerator for up to 5 days


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