Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One of Bread's Best Playmates

My best memory of kaya making is of my late mother. When I was a youngster, she would double-boil the kaya (Malaysian coconut cream & egg jam) for hours with a bunch of pandan leaves tied together (no instant essence in those days). After she decided to discard the leaves, I'd take them over and carefully lick them for the lovely kaya clinging to them.

Why 'kaya off the pandan leaves' tasted better than kaya from the jar is a question that beats me. ^_^

Other than butter, kaya is my favourite spread on bread. My previous post featured two bread recipes, and here's the simplest kaya recipe which I made recently:

Express Kaya

1 cup of egg (4 or 5, depending on the size)
1 cup of coconut cream
almost 1 cup of sugar
half teaspoon pandan essence

To get your cup of egg, break eggs into a cup till it fills up (tip - if you can put in only half an egg to fill up the last bit, choose the yolk rather than the white - for a lovely coloured kaya). Stir the first three ingredients in a heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan over low heat. Keep stirring for 18 minutes. Add pandan essence. Stir for another 5 minutes. If you like the texture of your kaya, take it off the heat -- it is ready.

(above) A sharper pic of the kaya nestling with a bit of better butter on homemade bread. The white cow is a milk dispenser I bought in Copenhagen many years ago. She spits milk into my coffee!



Kelly Mahoney said...

Sounds delicious. I just got a mixture for ligonberry bread, I might have to try this.

WokandSpoon said...

Hey - that's really quick kaya! I usually don't make it because it takes so long but I'm definitely going to try your express recipe!

wonda said...

We think alike. I was planning to make kaya last Friday to satisfy my craving but didn't have the time. My coconut milk is still sitting in the fridge, crying out to me. Let me have some of yours. Mine usually turned out lumpy no matter what method I tried. I even used a shortcut method by micro-waving it. You should have brought back dried plenty of cut pandan leaves. After seeing the kaya, I MUST make it!

wonda said...

Oh, by the way, the micro-waved kaya is the no fire kaya to go with no knead bread. Haha!

wonda said...

Came back to tell u that I made the kaya. A failure probably cos I didn't shake the can of coconut milk properly when I only used half can of it. It was lumpy and yet watery. I remedy the situation by whisking the kaya to make it smooth. It was rather a pale colored one. But something better than nothing.

Argus Lou said...

Kelly, if you don't have 'pandan' essence (imitating the aroma of the tropical pandanus leaf), just leave it out. The combined egg and coconut flavours are yummy enough held together with the sugar (half of which can be light brown sugar, as a variation). Happy stirring!

Wok&Spoon, yes, it's quick. But when my right hand got tired of the endless stirring, my left hand came into service. ^_^ Using a silicone spatula helped, I guess.

Wonda, I've tried using the canned variety of coconut cream, didn't like it, and never went back to it. The Tetrapack ones are better, methinks. The A1 or Ayam brand in M'sia is quite good.
Ha ha - your no-fire kaya sounds like a great playmate for the no-knead bread!

Cynthia said...

New and very interesting, Argus.

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Cynthia. Thanks! Wonder if you'd like the taste of this Malaysian jam.

wonda said...

I absolutely agree with you. The Tetrapack ones are better and cholestrol free (true?). I ran out of them, so I had to buy the Thai canned coconut milk. Hopefully, my niece would be able to bring some packets for me when she comes on her business trip to Chiba and extends her stay at my place. Eh, you don't use coffee cream that comes in little disposal plastic thingy?

Argus Lou said...

Don't know about the cholestrol question - thought all coconut cream has some. Hope you get lots of Tetrapacked coconut cream from your niece, Wonda.
No, lah, I prefer low-fat milk in my coffee and tea; those fakey creamers tend to have unhealthy transfat and too much other kinds of fat perhaps.

wonda said...

Now I feel you're "home."

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, thank you. ^_^

Tunku Halim said...

I wonder if kaya makes you kaya? I must try your recipe for greater prosperity! :)

Blur Mommy said...

Looks really yummy. I haven't made kaya for a long time. I'm lazy though. I throw mine in the slow cooker! :P

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Tooonkooo! Long time no read. I've read 7 or 8 of your stories in '44 Cemetery Road' and so far my fav is the one in which the boy going to boarding school sees an old man tailing him. Yes, kaya helps us to be kaya (rich) -- in cuisine and culture if not in moolah. ^_^ (Well, if you sell a few jars, you can make a few dollars nevertheless.)

Hi, Blur Mommy! Thanks for dropping by. Just checked out your new site. Fantastic! Your ideas are as fresh as ever. Whichever way you choose to make kaya can only result in one thing -- rich sweetness. :-)

Tunku Halim said...

Hey, I'm glad you enjoyed 'The Width of a Circle'. It's one of my favourites! Tell me what you think of the others.

I'm so very excited today as I made Sashimi for the first time. All you need is very fresh fish and a very sharp knife!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I LURRVVE homemade kaya!! Can make and send over to Malaysia ar?

gRaCe said...

Argus....!!! Oh, how i've missed you. Heheh...sorie for being MIA for so long... *it feels likes ages to me!*

how r you? how r you?? =D

Argus Lou said...

TH, the sashimi expert! I met a few young Malay sashimi chefs in a nice sushi bar in Lucerne.

Lyrical, my kaya is the express type, not the authentic, double-boiled for hours type. ;-)

Spiffy, long time no see/read. Hope you are well. don't be such a stranger!

wonda said...

Always make kaya and you'll be rich! :D

Argus Lou said...

Wonda, if I made kaya often, my other half and I would more likely become fat. ^_*

Frankensteina said...

Oooh the kaya looks so delicious. I remember when I was young, I used to buy 'roti mamak sapu kaya' from the mamak man who came to our house on his bike. Sungguh sedap!

I don't think we can find that 'kaya' anymore these days. Modern kaya uses artificial falvour and colouring. Don't have the same umph!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Frankensteina! Welcome to Argus World.

Well, if the maker uses (organic!) eggs, sugar, coconut cream wrung from freshly grated coconut and pandan leaves, the taste has to be authentic.

wonda said...

Hey Argus,
Lyrical Serai promoted your kaya on her post!

Argus Lou said...

Yes, Wonda, thanks! I just saw it before I came here to see if anyone took up her suggestion. However, tadak! ;-P

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)