Homemade Kaya (Malaysian Coconut Egg Jam)

Samantha Tan

Too lazy to make it yourself? Order a tub here :)
This is a version of a recipe I originally shared on my old blog on February 22nd, 2010.
After several failed attempts trying to make kaya the lazy way (using the jam function of a breadmaker then blending it afterwards), I have resigned myself to the fact that there is simply no shortcut; 75-90 minutes of patience and manual labor are absolutely essential to achieve the right consistency, color and flavor of this luscious glossy spread.
More of a custard by definition than a jam, kaya translates literally to mean "rich" in Malay, and that is precisely what this delicious Malaysian staple is: a thick, sticky, luxurious blend of coconut cream, eggs, and sugar fragranced with the sweet aroma of pandan (screwpine) leaves. The beautiful amber hue is achieved by adding a bit of caramelized sugar towards the end; if you prefer your kaya pale then by all means omit this step, or use a touch of pandan paste instead of leaves if you prefer having a green version.
I would recommend making this a day before you intend to eat it, as the kaya needs to chill overnight. It's tedious but easy, and if have time on your hands and don't mind standing in front of your stove, I'd say you're in for a highly rewarding experience :)
Happy stirring!
Homemade Kaya (Malaysian Coconut Egg Jam)
Yields 2 cups (16 fl oz/454 g)
Whisk 3 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks together lightly.
Stir in 1 cup (200g) sugar until completely dissolved.
Stir in 300ml coconut milk, then pour entire mixture through a fine sieve into a large mixing bowl (to make sure all those lumpy eggy bits are removed).
Add a knot of 3-4 pandan leaves, then plonk your bowl above a pot of simmering water double-boiler style (or just use an actual double boiler, if you have one).
Cook over low heat for about an hour, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
Stir stir stir stir stir.
Bring a book or laptop if you get bored, but make sure you continue stirring with the other hand. If it starts getting lumpy, stir HARDER.
After 45 minutes- a teensy bit darker and thicker. I won't lie, as you can see
it takes AGES before any discernible change happens.
After about 75 minutes, combine 2-4 tbsp sugar with a bit of water (depending how dark you want your kaya) in a separate pan. Heat it over low heat without stirring (though you may swirl your pan gently) until a golden caramel is formed. I would recommend you switch off the heat a few seconds before it becomes the color you want, as it will continue browning. Be careful as caramel burns very fast!
Let the caramel cool for a minute or two, then stir it into the hot kaya. Don't worry if the caramel bubbles or hardens upon contact; just continue stirring and it will eventually dissolve. Add more darkened caramel if the color isn't too your liking.

The kaya should look something like this.
Cook another 10-15 mins until the desired consistency is achieved (remember it will thicken once cooled). Remove the pandan leaves, scraping off any kaya stuck to them (nobody likes wastage!)
Let cool.  If you notice lumps, by all means cheat and stick a stick blender in there (I won't tell if you don't!). Pour into a jar and store refrigerated. 
Best enjoyed sandwiched roti bakar style with slabs of butter, or spread on your morning toast, or slathered on crackers or hot waffles or pancakes, or as an accompaniment to sweet sticky rice, or as a dip for breadsticks, or spooned directly into your mouth, or licked off your sticky fingers...



  • Hi Linessa, unfortunately I’ve never made durian kaya so I can’t advise on that. Thanks MK, I’ve heard of that trick too! :)

    Samantha Tan

  • A quicker version is to do without egg white. You can try that out and make comparison.


  • hi! just wanted to ask if i wanted to do a durian kaya with this recipe…. how much puree should i put? would it affect the consistency of the kaya?

    Linessa Low

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