Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kaya


Homemade kaya.

Recently, I bought a bottle of kaya from my regular kaya toast chain. Boy, was I in for a rude shock. Not only was the price upped, the kaya was also thinned out and watered down. I was so disappointed.

That was when I decided enough was enough, and made up my mind to make my kaya.

But first, I had to get past my phobia resulting from a bad experience 10 years ago. I was feeling adventurous one morning, and attempted to make my own kaya. The heavens must have rumbled (with laughter) because at that time, I was at the "instant noodles + fried egg" stage of my culinary journey.

Needless to say, it was a backbreaking session of slaving over the stove, and which yielded a miserable pot of curdled, lumpy coconut mush. Truly, fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

That was when I decided enough was enough, and made up my mind to buy my kaya.


Fastforward to today, and I have come full circle. I think the one thing which put me off trying again was the fact that it involved a lot of time spent in front of the stove, stirring and stirring. This time though, I pulled out my crockpot, like so many others have. Just google "crockpot kaya" and you'll see all their fine examples.

The crockpot is your best friend when making kaya because it minimises the amount of stirring. It's brilliant, really. Gosh, where have I been all these while? Oh, I know! Spending good money on buying kaya when I could have easily made my own. Sob. Well, better late than never.

Presenting ... Kaya - The Painless Way.

Recipe
- 400ml thick coconut cream (I used Kara brand, one small packet is 200ml)
- 150ml fresh coconut cream, which I squeezed out from one coconut (you can use all packet cream if you don't want to trouble yourself)
- 10 eggs, lightly beaten
- 450g regular fine sugar
- 10 pandan leaves, washed and tied into a knot

Yields about 900g of kaya. Halve the recipe for a smaller family, although you have to adjust your cooking time. Half is definitely not enough for me!

1. Mix coconut cream, sugar and eggs well. Try and dissolve as much of the sugar as possible, otherwise it will sink to the bottom and turn brown during cooking. Pour everything into a crockpot. Add in the pandan leaves. Set it to high and stir once when it starts to heat up. The first time I made this, I did not stir at all, and the kaya at the bottom turned slightly brown. It did not affect the colour or taste, though. But to be safe, just stir once or twice when it starts to bubble.

2. After 2 to 2.5 hours, you will get a lumpy looking custard. Remove the pandan leaves.


Eeeeewwwww! Lumpy, messy and watery. But this is normal.

3. I have seen quite a number of bloggers use handheld blenders to smoothen out all the lumps. But I don't own one, so I used a wire sieve. Make sure you sterilise all your utensils beforehand.


Scoop spoonfuls of kaya into the wire sieve and press over a clean bowl, like pureeing baby food. Don't discard the water the accumulates during cooking. Instead, incorporate it with the lumpy kaya when you sieve. It makes the kaya smooth and spreadable. Scrape the kaya from the underside of the sieve and into the bowl.

4. Store the kaya in a sterilised bottle, but allow it to cool before putting on the cap and refrigerating.

There you have it. Kaya that is colouring-free, preservative-free, chemical-free and pain-free. And the best part? It's so, so good!

In fact, I have already made it twice in a row. Here are some additional notes ... you decide which you prefer.


First attempt: I used 100% packet coconut cream. The consistency was thick and creamy.


Second attempt: I used 400ml packet coconut cream + 150ml freshly squeezed coconut cream. The consistency was slightly thinner. I might try 100% fresh coconut cream next round. Stay tuned for the results! I'm still experimenting.


Bottled and ready to be given to some nice neighbours. They are small bottles, by the way. I'm not that generous. I still kept the lion's share for myself.

86 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips on using the crockpot Ju! I am not very keen on stiring the pot for hours too :) Now I feel like having some kaya toast for breakfast!

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  2. I had no idea what was in Kaya paste. Your recipe looks good. I hope it tasted much better that the bottled stuff.

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  3. I made it once and it was OK... the colour didn't turn out as nice as I wanted it to be. If I want kaya here, I make it. MUCH better!

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  4. Awwwww Ju....I feel like making kaya now, thanks to your post.

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  5. Are your neighbours thinking of selling their house anytime soon? If they are I would gladly take it off their hands :) Ahh I presume because of the sheer amount of eggs in this, that it probably couldn't be made without? It looks and sounds so good. You already know I can't resist anything with pandan and coconut... Ju why do you tease me so!? :D Hehe gorgeous presentation and pictures, too!

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  6. Hi Ju,
    Can I be your neighbour? Just a small tiny bottle I'll be hitting the roof! I've tried kaya once. Gee, the amount of work was just too much for me to try another time! Your kaya looks seriously good and yummy.
    Hey, do you think we can do a barter trade? You give me a small bottle of kaya, I give you a small bottle of my home-made vanilla extract? ;) Onz?

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  7. I have never heard of Kaya- So you can spread it on bread and what else can you do with it? I love coconut.

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  8. Kaya is another food that I have yet to do it by myself, since we dont eat that much. Anyway, your lazy version look easy to do, I might try it soon, hehehe..

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  9. You squeezed your own coconut cream oh my oh my... how in the world did you do it Ju?? Even in the market I see the uncles use those hefty sugar-cane-juicer things to make coconut milk.

    Anyways, I love your pink polka dotted background! And I love kaya. Yours looks great... If I live within 30 miles of you does that make me your neighbor? =D

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  10. wow so pro to make your own kaya! looks better than store bought one. the pink ribbon and background is so cute ^^

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  11. Hey i like the bottle with the cute ribbon. :) My mum has been asking me to make our own kaya but i always put it off.. judging from the amount of effort needed.

    Oh how do you sterilise the bottle? Is it a neccessity to do that cos i don't think i ever steriilise bottles (be it plastic or glass) when i stored food... eg apple sauce, cookie. :P

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  12. Hi friends! Yeah, we're all neighbours in the virtual world, so here's a bottle of virtual kaya for each of you. LOL!

    Jane: Your vanilla extract AND chocolate fudge cake.

    Sonia: Not lazy way. SMART way! ;)

    Clare: Squeeze until my hand pain ah! :( Next time, I think I will go to the market and buy freshly squeezed coconut milk. Apparently Bedok market has one such stall.

    Aimei: When water is boiling, drop the container/utensils in, and turn off the flame, and leave them to soak for a few mins. I don't know if it's necessary, but at least I know the food will keep longer. Cookies I think no need lah! ;)

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  13. Oh..I love kaya. I am going to make this for sure, Thanks Ju!

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  14. OOOOH. cheers for the recipe my love. My dad will actually adore me to pieces if I made this for him :) x

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  15. nothing beats homemade kaya goodness :p

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  16. Hi Ju, love your blog; I check in everyday. Btw I live in Florida, so home made kaya and most of everything else Asian (food wise).I read somewhere that to make the kaya fine, just put everything in the blender once its cooked and cooled down, pulse a couple of time, and wah la! silky smooth kaya. I have tried it - it works.

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  17. I've never heard of kaya either. It looks absolutely beautiful.

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  18. I've never had kaya Ju! I am still waiting for some Malaysian Sydney bloggers to give me some. Otherwise, I might have to make this soon as it looks amazing! I like how you said that you've come full circle - I know what you mean. Blogging does that! :)

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  19. I don't know about kaya...but hey! Coconut! I am for sure going to spread lots of them on my bread!

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  20. It's gorgeous..Now tell me how do you serve it? As a filling? As a beautiful dollop to accompany a dish?

    It's so pretty in the jar I think I would just look at it:)

    Great idea the crockpot..I want to try jams this summer~
    Thank you.

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  21. The pink background of the last two photos are really pretty!

    I am not much a fan of kaya. Perhaps because of the commercial one? Will try your recipe soon since it's PAINLESS. Love it!

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  22. Wooooow....Ju, you are amazing! That's so challenging to make kaya but you did it! Yours looks so smooth and delicious. I'm craving for kaya toast now with teh tarik!

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  23. Oh now I know what is there in kaya..:D Loved that bottle with the pretty ribbon on it.I love to have all this kind of things home made..

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  24. Love kaya on a piece of toast. heehe....
    my mom's way is slightly different from yours. I will share with you one day. :)

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  25. It's another world... so much effort, never heard of this before, glad all is right and you have indeed come full circle!

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  26. This certainly sound yummy! I love adding a bit of coconut flour to cookies and am wondering how the Kaya would work out?

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  27. hmm, i may be wrong... but if you place the kaya in a sterilised jar but leave it uncap to cool, won't bacteria have the chance to enter?

    i've made jam in sterilised jars. i've read in some blog sites to place hot jam (kaya/coconut jam in this case) into the hot sterilised jars (i place open jars and their lids in the oven at 100% for about 15 mins) and immediately cap it tightly. leave it to cool. i am most happy to hear the 'pop' sound of the jar lids after 1-2 hrs. that means my jar is vacuum sealed. in that case, you need not store the jam in the fridge until you've open the jar and release the seal. so far, it has worked for me :) the unopened jars keep well in my pantry, also because of its high sugar content.

    i've done it the lazy way. if you really want it to be well sterilised, you should place the entire capped jar into hot boiling water :)

    thanks for sharing this recipe. i've once made it in a microwave, a recipe which my friend shared with me and she's done it herself and worked out well. but it kinda failed with me. i shall give your recipe a try someday :)

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  28. island: Many thanks for the info. I have never done canning before, actually. I allowed the kaya to cool before putting the lid on because I didn't want vapour to collect from the steam. Will that happen? So far, my kaya has not survived long enough to see how long they keep! :)

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  29. we just had kaya toast for the first time recently..it's so delicious! beautiful photos and would make for an amazing gift!

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  30. Your kaya looks beautiful, Ju. Very easy and painless method indeed. I wish I could make some and bring to faraway BJ.. but there isn't any room in my luggage anymore... arrgh... haha :D

    From what I know, blogspot is blocked in China. Still trying to figure out a way to assess your wonderful local recipes while away from home ^^

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  31. commercial kaya = NONO!

    homemade kaya always the best! My mum also makes super good kaya but its more of the thick custurdy kind.

    lol, i see u got a sweet tooth too?

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  32. whoa...this looks good with thick slices of butter over bread...and cream crackers.

    Real good to be your neighbors...just smelling the aroma coming out from your kitchen is good enough too.

    Good attempt, Ju!

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  33. Your neighbours are so lucky!

    I've never had kaya before =( I've read all about it though- it sounds delicious!

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  34. I had kaya this morning but I'm sure yours is better! :) My office is not THAT far from your place, do I qualify as a neighbour?

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  35. My crockpot is under-utilized! Looks like it will be in for some kaya experiment in future. I may want to try making them when I am overseas..so may have to settle for packet coconut cream. The only local kaya found in Asian supermarkets in the US where I stay, is Glory brand. No good but better than nothing!

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  36. I have never thought of making kaya with slow cooker! This is brilliant!! thanks for sharing :)

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  37. I grew up on kaya as my mum would make it so often. We end up having to whisk the eggs with the sugar using this big huge balloon whisk. And we always complain but when eating the kaya, we won't. Funny isn't it. Actually the kaya outside is nothing like the type you would get years ago. I guess profit comes first over quality. So there is nothing like making your own and you are ensured it's the best of ingredients used. Also you can adjust the amount of sugar used. Great job here!

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  38. So that's how you get the lumps out of the kaya! Ingenious. I love home-made kaya! :D

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  39. Kaya is a new one for me; I am going to ask my brother to bring me some from Singapore next time I see him in Beirut; I am so intrigued, to have gone through such great lengths to make it at home, it must be incredible! Sounds like a fudgy creamy coconut concotion, sort of like a dulce de leche, Asian-style?

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  40. Oh, I haven't eaten kaya for ages, nearly forgot it until I read your post. I remember that I used to eat kaya toast with my dad in a little cafe for afternoon tea many years ago.
    The home-made one should be far better than those at cafes.

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  41. i like the way the kaya is presented in a bottle with ribbon on! never made kaya before, always buy the kaya from the bakery =)

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  42. Is it allowed to export/import it?

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  43. Utter genius! I've always been afraid to try my hand at making this since my grandma never fails to warn me of the trouble and pain I'd be in for. Nothing beats homemade Kaya!

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  44. Hahaha ...! You just cracked me up! What a way to make kaya! LOL! Actually, I did make kaya back in the States. I don't mind spending hours slowly cooking the custard over double boiler ... since I could spend close to 3 hours cooking pineapple tart filling! But hey, yours looks simply good!

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  45. Molto interessante questa ricetta, mi piacerebbe molto provarla. Un abbraccio Daniela

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  46. I really have to check out these Pandan leaves... what are they? I've been reading about using them but have never tried... you are so cool to do this
    yourself and the final product looks gorgeous. Sadly I have no crockpot.. but what is Kaya used for????

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  47. I've never tried this ingredient, but I love anything coconut.
    My new blog went up today and I am so excited. Stop by and check out my brand new and improved site daaaahling. I want to know what you think. I'm also doing a fab give away.
    *kisses* HH

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  48. I have made kaya once before and I say it was delicious, it's similar to our cocojam, but I have to admit, kaya is yummier :) I used it as centers for thumbprint cookies..so good! :)

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  49. Sincere compliments for your effort... this is another classic example of how blogging make us not take things for granted....applause.

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  50. Ju that looks amazing...I have never heard of this but I am sure it is delicious...
    Thank you for a very interesting post and of course gorgeous pics as always!

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  51. i'd be so curious to try this, because i've never heard of it before

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  52. Using a crockpot is so clever Ju! I don't like it when flavours are watered down. It's never as good and sometimes they use other thickeners to disguise it. Your kaya looks brilliant! :D

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  53. Hi. My aunt sells nyonya kuih, and that's how she makes her kaya. I eat her pulut tekan just so I can slap on loads of kaya. And she also uses the crockpot to make her kaya. Someone else I know uses the microwave oven. My mom, however, still uses a double boiler, and we actually have a bamboo stick for stirring the kaya that we have had for 20 years at least.

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  54. your kaya color really look good not too dark and the texture look so smooth too!!

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  55. Nothing beats home made kaya!

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  56. i demand to have a lion's share bottle of that delicious-looking kaya! HAHA

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  57. I've been dreaming about making my own kaya since I ate some in Malaysia, I'm so excited to try this method!

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  58. Wish I was your neighbour! You never cease to amaze me with your kitchen adventures :)

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  59. I actually made kaya in the crockpot a few times and it turn out pretty smooth but it takes too long to cook. Now I just cooked the kaya in a heavy saucepan over very low fire and turn out just as good. All it takes is about 40-50 min depend on the quantity.

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  60. I had made it once but don't intend to do it now unless I have a lot of demands like you. Hehehe! Your kaya looks so smooth and thick. Better than the one I bought. Well done!

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  61. Thanks for introducing me to kaya paste!!

    So many eggs though!!! To much for me!!
    Can you use less eggs???

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  62. Looks great! I love homemade kaya too!

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  63. oooh...i've got a can of coconut milk that's been sitting in my fridge for ages just waiting to be made into kaya:) I find using red molasses gives a much richer colour

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  64. Hi Ju, wow! I have always loved kaya on margarine with bread toasted.
    Yours sure looks real good. Love your presentation too.
    You are a class of your own, outstanding, Ju!
    Have fun and keep well, Lee.

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  65. I just made Kaya too with my breadmaker! lol...
    Want to ask you if you have tried making apple strudel? Have been having cravings for Corica apple strudel from Perth ; D
    Been trying to look for recipe for the cream they use..

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  66. gotta try this out this weekend..
    do u think if i replace the fine sugar with the brown sugar.. it will be the dark coconut kaya tat we buy from the stores?
    Janice..

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  67. I had never heard of Kaya before. This looks so yummy!

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  68. sorry, you are right, this is a smart way but not lazy way, hehehe..

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  69. OK ... I guess I won't find Kaya in Cannes but I know now that I can make it ... Well, pandan leaves won't be that easy to find but I'll soon be in Paris for 10 days and maybe I could find some in the "asian district" ... Hope so, because I just have to try those Kaya toasts I saw on the web, googling "Crock pot kaya" as you told us to do ... ;o)))
    Thanks for sharing with us this so successful attempt !
    Have a very nice day !
    Hélène

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  70. Ju> stop by my blog.. I have an award for yoU!!!

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  71. I don't think I've ever had this before, but judging by the ingredients it sound like heaven in a bottle. Will have to give it a go when I have some time.

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  72. Kaya... this is the first time I'm hearing of this. Why?? It sounds so yummy I have to make it. I love the taste of coconut.
    This is my first visit at your blog. You got some nice recipes here!
    Magda

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  73. I would love this...........on toast. And in yoghurt....and maybe as mac fillings!!!!!! Yummy!

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  74. Sounds heavenly! I need to find a source for pandan leaves....I am so intrigued by them through you and Zurin.

    Thanks Ju.

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  75. Hi! Ju, the kaya you posted look yummy, I had tried a few recipes before some turn out well but some don't. Will give a try to yours since I can use slow cooker. Now I know why my kaya never be so smooth as what we get fm the shop. Just want to clarify that we will use a wire sieve to smoothen the lumps after it was cooked for 2 to 2.5 hrs right? I have tried using fresh coconut milk and I found sometimes it's a bit oily. You get the eggs from the wet market or supermarket (NTUC)? As I think the ingredients we use also play a part. Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks Christina Poh

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  76. Hi Christina, yes ... use wire sieve after cooking for 2 to 2.5 hours. Personally, I prefer using the packet coconut cream, because of exactly what you said. Fresh coconut cream is much oilier. My eggs are bought from NTUC. The normal, regular ones.

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  77. Janice: If you want the brown type of kaya, you need to take 5 tbsp of the sugar and caramelise first, and then add some coconut milk. Stir till all the sugar dissolves, cool and then pour into the rest of the kaya mixture before cooking.

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  78. Hi! Try making 1/2 of the recipe last weekend and it taste good thanks for sharing. Not sure whether we can use the electric blender instead of the wire sieve?
    Christina Poh

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  79. Try using 100% fresh coconut milk Ju, you'll get a greener looking kaya...

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  80. HAPPY NEW YEAR JU!
    I've just made this kaya with canned coconut cream (they are very watery and I can't find any fresh ones here) and my kaya turned out very thick and almost like jelly after I refrigerate it. The taste is very good though. Maybe I should try again with canned coconut milk?

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  81. I found your blog whilst blog surfing and am SO glad I found it. Oh and also finding your kaya recipe. I live in NZ, and the only kaya I can get here are bottled ones full of preservative, imported from Malaysia. They taste as awful as they look. I'm going to enjoy following your blog!

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  82. i just made some kaya using your recipe. it's perfect! i used a blender instead of a wire sieve. it's much easier and faster - perfectly smooth kaya in seconds. thank you so much for the recipe.

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  83. Thanks Ju! Just made mine & it's a success!
    I don't have a crock pot do I use double-boiled method & continued stirring for 2 hours & use hand-helded mixer to smoothen it! ��

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  84. The CrockPot is it set to high all 2 hrs or low after it start to bubble?

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  85. 2nd time I've made this - thank you so much - I live in UK and it almost satisfies my Singapore Toast Box cravings :)

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