Monday, January 24, 2011

Luscious Coconut Jam ("Kaya")

After watching chef Susan Feniger serving up Toast with Coconut Jam and Soy Glazed Eggs on Top Chef Masters, I felt like having some kaya (coconut jam) too. It's been so long that I can't remember the last time I made it. It's a pity she got eliminated for serving that to the judges, no matter how good it was, it just wasn't Top Chef material. But I'm glad she managed to introduce kaya to the Americans (and all watching Top Chef) just like how head judge Tom Colicchio introduced "Bak Kwa" to viewers on the Top Chef blog after last season's finale in Singapore.

I have never tried Susan Feniger's kaya recipe before. The recipe below is the "standard" (I guess) method that I usually adopt, and one that my mum uses too (more or less). It's easy to make at home, but just be prepared to stand over the stove, stirring the jam continuously for about an hour. Otherwise you might end up with scrambled coconut eggs instead of a silky smooth coconut custard.

PS: If you are looking for a kaya toast fix in L.A., go to SUSAN FENIGER'S STREET. She even has a webpage dedicated to Kaya Toast!

Kaya toast

Coconut Jam ("Kaya") Recipe


10 eggs, beaten
400ml coconut cream (I used Ayam Brand)
500g caster sugar
2 pandan (screwpine) leaves, knotted


  1. Reserve 2 tbsp of sugar and add the rest to the beaten eggs. Mix until all the sugar is dissolved. Add coconut cream and stir. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any impurities.
  2. Place mixture in a double boiler (I used a large metal bowl and placed it over a pot of simmering water. Alternatively, you can place the mixture in a heavy-based pot directly on the stove and stir over low heat, but be careful not to let the eggs cook at the bottom of the pot) together with pandan leaves and stir continuously over medium heat. Once the mixture starts to heat up, watch the heat and lower it to low-medium. If the pot/bowl becomes too hot to touch, then it's too hot for the mixture! You will need to lower the heat so as to avoid getting scrambled eggs.
  3. Optional step: In the meantime, while still stirring, place the 2 tbsp reserved sugar in a small, clean, dry heavy-based pot and turn on the heat to medium-low. When the mixture starts to boil, watch it closely as it turns yellow to amber. When it turns to a slightly amber brown (but not burnt!), remove from the heat and pour into the egg mixture while still stirring. The sugar will crystallize in the mixture but will eventually dissolve. This is to add a deeper richer colour to the jam.
  4. After stirring and stirring for about an hour, the mixture should have thickened and darkened in colour. It is ready when the consistency is like that of thick pouring custard (but note that once it cools down, it will thicken further). Discard the leaves, pour the jam into jars and let cool before storing (I store it in the fridge). Serve with hot toast and thinly sliced salted butter!
The kaya is ready!