Nothing’s Better Than A Homemade Kaya
By Tris Marlis - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013
If I can pack Singapore in a jar, it would be filled with Kaya— that spread made of coconut milk, egg, sugar, and scented with pandan leaves. It was during my years residing overseas when I realised the further you are away from Singapore, the harder it is to find a good jar of kaya. I missed the taste of home, so I decided to learn make my own. You can too.
The following recipe is from my mother who is an Indonesian Chinese. Typical of her countrymen, she prefers more intense fragrance and flavour of coconut milk in her kaya. She would caramelised white sugar, not only to give her kaya a darker colour, but also to give it a toasty flavour, like caramel popcorn.
Freshness is the key to making a delicious kaya. Fresh-squeezed coconut milk, fresh eggs and fresh-plucked pandan leaves are her general rules. However, if you can’t get fresh coconut milk, try Aroy-D canned coconut milk with a ‘good for dessert’ label as an alternative.
1kg coconut milk
400g white sugar (set aside 100g for caramel)
10 egg yolks
4 pandan leaves, knotted
Mix egg yolk, coconut milk and sugar (300g) in a pot and whisk. Heat the mixture over low heat and keep stirring, slowly and gently.
Meanwhile, heat up a sauce pan, and melt the rest of sugar (100g). Keep stirring until it caramelizes. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
Pour the caramelised sugar into the first mixture and mix well. Maintain the flame at low heat. Keep stirring to prevent the sugar from settling at the bottom.
After about 30 minutes, the kaya should have a texture of sesame paste. Turn off the fire and set aside. It will further thicken once it’s cooled. After that, bottle and refrigerate.
Editor’s Note: The kaya, when kept refrigerated, should last for a month. But eat it while it’s fresh!