"Kaya is a very sweet coconut jam, considered a staple throughout Singapore and parts of Malaysia. It is best served on unseeded whole meal toast with a soft boiled egg, and washed down with strong black coffee." Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Singapore
- 10 eggs
- 1 kg caster sugar, plus 50 g extra
- 5 fresh pandan leaves, tied in a knot (see Note)
- 550 ml coconut cream
- 20 g unsalted butter
- 4 free-range eggs (at room temperature)
- dash of soy sauce
- pinch of ground white pepper
- 4 slices whole meal bread
- 4 slices unsalted butter, (thick slices)
- pinch of sea salt
Kopi-O (Hainanese coffee)
- 2 tbsp dark-roasted freshly ground Hainanese-style coffee (such as Nanyang or Kim Guan Guan)
- 2 tsp sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 5 minutes
To make the kaya, combine the eggs and 1 kg sugar in a tall, slender saucepan and whisk in one direction until smooth and runny.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer over medium heat and place a tea towel on the bottom of the pan. Place the tall saucepan into the water and whisk for about 5 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the pandan leaves and coconut cream and stir for 20-25 minutes or until thickened to the consistency of Hollandaise sauce or a loose lemon curd. Remove from the heat and set aside while you make the caramel, whisking occasionally. Heat the extra 50 g sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until a dark caramel forms. Stir the butter into the caramel, then whisk the caramel into the kaya. Return to the heat in the water bath and stir for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stand until cool, stirring occasionally. Pour the kaya into sterilized jars and refrigerate.
To make the half-cooked eggs, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and remove from the heat. Add 125 ml (½ cup) of cold water to the pan, then add the eggs. Cover the pan and allow to stand for 6 minutes. Crack the eggs into two bowls and add a dash of soy sauce and white pepper to each.
To make the toast, grill the bread until well-toasted. Cut off the crusts and cover with slices of butter. Spread generously with 1-2 tablespoons kaya, then cut in half.
To make the Hainanese coffee, bring about 500 ml (2 cups) water to a simmer in a small saucepan or coffee jug. Add the coffee, stir and continue to heat for about 20 seconds or until a raft of bubbles forms. Pour through a coffee filter, then stir in the sugar and serve with the kaya toast and half-cooked eggs.
• Fresh pandan leaves give the jam a slightly toasted, nutty flavour. Fresh leaves are readily available from Asian greengrocers.
• This recipe makes about 1 litre of kaya which will keep refrigerated in sterilized jars for 1-2 weeks.
Image by Adam Liaw.