Kaya. In Malay it means rich. It also describes this custard-like spread that I love. It’s great on bread (especially thick fluffy white bread, toasted) and brioche, and it is even great on ice cream. In Malaysia if you go to Kopitiams, they will serve big thick slices of toasts with Kaya eaten with soft-boiled eggs.
It is a rather time-consuming process, but it was worth it because:
a) I cannot get Kaya here in Athens,
b) They taste so much better when you make it yourself,
c) I love the ‘flavour’ and scent of pandan but I absolutely hate that pandan kaya is usually green in colour when its store-bought (It reminds me of radioactive goo and nope, nope. I can’t)
And what is pandan? Also known as screwpine leaves, it’s a very heavily scented leaf used in a lot of Malaysian and Thai cooking – from savouries to sweets. You can find them at Asian Food stores (I found mine at Salamat – check out the Shops and Ingredients page.)
500ml of coconut milk
250ml of coconut cream
5-8 pandan leaves
200g of granulated sugar
250g of fine brown sugar or gula melaka
1. Slice the pandan leaves into small slices. In a pot, on low heat, boil the coconut milk with the white granulated sugar and pandan leaves until only half of the liquid remains (it becomes thick). Stir occasionally to prevent burning or lumps appearing. Your kitchen will start smelling wonderful about now.
2. Leave it to cool. Remove the leaves.
3. Cream the eggs and the brown sugar or gula melaka until it’s a golden creamy mix.
4. Add in the cool scented and thick coconut milk (which should be about 250ml by now) and the coconut cream. Stir to mix thoroughly.
5. Use the double boiler method: In a pot, add water to boil. Balance a bowl on top, making sure it doesn’t touch the water at the bottom. Gently heat up the custard mixture, stirring occasionally until it has turned thick and smooth. It will take quite some time – I would say an hour and a half to 2 hours for this amount of kaya.
6. Leave to cool and store it in jars. It can last for about a month to 7 weeks in the fridge.
7. If you want the kaya to be smoother, you can blend it using a hand blender before storing.
8. Serve it like you would serve jam or marmalade.
My version of a Kopitiam breakfast – English Breakfast tea, with a soft-boiled egg (with pepper and soya sauce!), some sliced apricots and pandan kaya toasts!