Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kaya (Coconut Egg Jam)

For many Malaysian, toasted bread with kaya and butter, is another signature breakfast served in Malaysia kopitiam other than Nasi Lemak.

After moving to Auckland, our toasted bread here is always goes with butter or peanut butter jam. I'm ok with it because I'm not keen lover of Kaya but my boy doesn't. Well, we can find the imported Kaya at Asean grocery stores in Auckland but the price is not cheap and you can imagine it is not fresh with preservatives.

I had tried to make kaya once with 2 of my Malaysian wives group friends Cheng Ee and Cheng Im, but we found the traditional way of cooking was so tiring with hours of standing and stirring over the stove. Worst part was after such tedious process, to our disappointment our kaya came out lumpy and not smooth mixture.

Then I recalled one of my friend's mother-in-law mentioned fast way of making kaya using microwave. I decided to search online for that method. Finally, I managed to locate a few good links showing simple way of making kaya with microwave and I tested it and I did get a wonderful smooth kaya in 30 minutes time! Sharing below is the recipe I adopted for my trial making.

  Kaya Making with Microwave
Caramel Kaya
Pandan Kaya


  1. 4 eggs – (approximate 200ml)
  2. 200ml coconut cream/milk
  3. 225g sugar (I updated the sugar level, as the previous 1 1/2 cup is a bit too sweet)
  4. 3 Pandan leaves (tie knots)
  5. Egg (weight) ratio to coconut milk (weight)  and sugar – 1:1 :1.125
  1. Mix sugar (remain a small portion to caramel ) and coconut milk together in a microwavable bowl. Mix with a wire whisk and set aside. Don't worry if the sugar has dissolved or not.
  2. Break eggs into another bowl. Beat the eggs until they are well mixed. Make sure there are no bits of egg white present. Try not to create much foam. Set aside.
  3. Back to the coconut milk and sugar mixture. Stir the mixture with a wire whisk briefly, put in the Pandan leaf and pop the mixture into the microwave.
  4. Set the microwave for 1 min on high heat. Remove and stir with the wire whisk. Put it back in and repeat with the same power setting and time.
  5. Do step 4 repeatedly until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling.
  6. I use 800W power microwave; I repeated about 5 times on step 4 to get all sugar dissolved.
  7. While the mixture is hot, stir it with the wire whisk and at the same time pour in the beaten eggs at slow steady stream. The mixture will thicken slightly.
  8. Once finished, pop the Kaya (coconut and egg) mixture into the microwave. Set power on high for 30 seconds. Remove and stir.
  9. In the mean time, caramel sugar and wait to add into the mixture. If you do not wish to have brown color kaya, then skip the caramel sugar steps and just add some pandan essence/pandan juice for greenish color.
  10. When add in the caramel sugar the kaya mixture will crumple, keep on stirring and continue to zap in microwave following step 8.
  11. The caramel sugar will dissolve when the mixture get hotter.
  12. Repeat step 8 until the kaya mixture traces. By traces means you can forms impressions by stirring the mixture (refer photo).
  13. I spent more than 12 times on step 8 and increase to 1 min at one time, for getting the kaya to thicken enough to make traces.
  14. Once you get that thickness the Kaya is ready. Take out the kaya and remove the pandan leaf from the kaya.
  15. Set aside the kaya to cool down before you pour into bottles/jars. 

I noticed if you microwve the kaya mixture longer than 1 min the kaya mixture will get lumpy easier and mixture no longer smooth.
  • In order to get smoother kaya texture, is best to lower the heat or reduce microwave time at each session.
  • This is crucial after you have added the eggs. You just have to repeat the microwaving more often and this take a longer time. 


  1. Hi, Ms Tye, are you just using microwave to do the kaya? In step 8, you wrote "microwave oven", if my microwave has no oven function, so i need to put in oven? i'm thinking to make kaya... heheh!

  2. Hi Elaine:
    Thanks for checking in and pointed out on the confusion. Well, over here they call microwave oven which is microwave. I have edit and amend my post and also include latest updates on the caramel steps.
    I made another batch without caramel sugar so the color more to greenish. If you have fresh pandan leaf then pound it and squeeze toe get juice for the color. Over here we can't get fresh one so we use pandan essence for that purpose.
    This is super easy to make, fool proof recipe.
    Update me on your trying. Good luck.

  3. Happy Easter. I live in Auckland NZ and am trying to by Pandan essence do you know where I can get it. Thanks Anne

  4. Anne:
    You can easily get Pandan essence at Tofu shops, I got it from Tofu shops @Northcote, North Shore. I suppose you can try any Tofu shops or even Fresh and safe (They have frozen pandan).Good luck on your trying, do update me the status.
    I just made my first batch of kaya using fresh Pandan from my backyard @ Malaysia home. Fresh Pandan so fragrant, hubby said whole house filled with the pandan aroma!

  5. Yin, thank you soooo much. I am wanting to make a pandan kaya cake. I have tried and really enjoyed. Thought it would be a bit of fun for my Kiwi family and friends. My husband and I lived in South East Asia on and off for 15 years and have developed a taste for the amazing food. Used to have Kaya Sandwich for breakfast often

    Hope you are enjoying your Easter time

  6. Hi Yin,

    Stumbled upon your recipe when looking for kaya recipes using microwave. I made a batch last night and was quite pleased with the result. My two complaints are the very light green colour and mild flavour. We bought some kaya back from Malaysia during our last trip and the kaya we made last night is not as strong flavoured even though about 6 pieces of pandan leaves were put in. On one note, my pandan leaves were frozen as the local Chinese supermarket sell them in big bags and to store it fresh they recommended freezing it. Could this have weakened the taste and smell? Would you recommend using brown sugar instead of white?


  7. Dear Yvonne:
    First of all thanks for dropping by and trying out one of my recipe.

    Appreciate your comments and yes frozen pandan won't give that strong pandan flavour. I realised that weakness too.

    For that reason, back in Auckland I added Pandan Essence which I got from the local Asian grocery shop. This Pandan essence has strong pandan flavour and can also act as coloring, hence you get both problem fix. :-)

    Yes, you try to use brown sugar, I have not tried before. I guess the kaya will be more brownish if you use brown sugar.
    Happy trying again.

    BTW wish you a healthy and properous dragon year.

    1. Thanks for your reply. I will try it again probably this weekend.

      Happy Chinese New Year to you too!


  8. Hi Yin, instead of caramel, can I use gula melaka to substitute caramel and sugar?

    1. Hi Penny:
      Yes, I think you can. Try it and tell me the result. I never used that before. Good option.

  9. Hi Yin, my microwave method kaya using gula melaka has failed.
    Reason becos it has no sign of thickness. And the santan in tiny cube after few rounds (20 seconds each).

    1. Penny:
      Where are you from?
      I saw you were active in tryig out my recipes thanks.

      I really have doubt on your santan texture, were you using the same kind of santan when you made kaya and kuih talam?

      Did you melt the gula melaka first? the gula melaka you had in a a big chunk right?
      Maybe you need to melt the gula melaka then only add in santan and microve to warm and added egg mixture and continue the rest of the process until the you can draw lines with your santan egg mixture.

  10. Thanks for sharing your microwaved kaya making experience! Very interesting:
    I made kaya last night by standing a metal beaker in a pot of 5cm-deep gently boiling water and adding some freshly squeezed pandan juice to the coconut milk-sugar-egg mixture in the beaker. I only had to stir it once every 6 minutes. Total cooking time: about 45 minutes.
    One little tip: Even if a bit of your kaya gets lumps, at the end of cooking run a hand-held mixer through it and it will all become smooth again.
    Pour into jars, leave them open till cooled and the kaya will set in the jars. Then refrigerate.
    I live in CH, so it's not often that I can get refrigerated pandan leaves in an Asian shop. I love eating kaya on salty-buttered toast or croissants. :)

  11. Hi, thanks for sharing the traditional way of making kaya. My auntie always make them on stove too.

  12. Hi, how long does this keep for?

    1. Hi there:
      No problem for 2-3 days under room temperature. In fridge can last to a week to 10 days no problem.

  13. Thank you so much for yr recipe, I love Kaya spread .I am in Singapore now, and want to buy the ingredients to take to Switzerland, so I can make the steam bread with kaya.
    I am thinking to make Kaya and separate in small portions and deep freeze, and that is my question, can I deep freeze the steam bread and the kaya?

    1. Hi Silvia:
      Thanks for dropping by.
      I do not encourage to deep freeze the kaya. It might not be suitable to deep freeze, the coconut milk content might be separated?
      Since using microwave you can get the kaya done in less than 30 minutes, I would strongly advise to make fresh batch.
      The bread is ok to deep freeze.

  14. Hi Yin
    Thanks for your post, your tests and refinement. I got the idea to look for microwave,kaya when I made some microwave lemon butter/ lemon curd. Similar consistency and ingredients - sugar, eggs, plus lemon juice and zest. That recipe used 55% power (medium) of a 900watt microwave. 2 minute bursts at this power level, stir and repeat about 3 times. Worked really well. I'm going to make for my Malaysian grandsons using brown sugar, lesser amount and try using 2 mins at 55%. The ratio with lemon butter is 4 eggs 55-60g each, 165g sugar, 180ml juice and 125g butter. So I think I can reduce the sugar for the kaya. Lemon is much sourer than santan. I plan to use the pandas paste I buy at the Asian grocery. Colour plus good favour. I think it is made in Indonesia. I live in Perth, Australia.

    1. Dear Jenni:
      Thanks for sharing your lemon butter recipe using the microwave method and giving the ratio for us to try. I have not make lemon butter curb before I will sure give it a try.
      I hope your Kaya for your grandson turn out to be great success too.



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