Sunday, April 26, 2020

Quicker Kaya Recipe

Kaya is a delightfully sweet, smooth and thick coconut jam (essentially) - popular in Southeast Asia. Perfect on toast, with a strong coffee (or cup of tea if you’re like me). 

Typically, kaya is a labour of love, cooked on a very low heat over the stove in a double boiler/bain-marie, and stirred constantly for ages, to ensure the texture stays smooth and lump free. I have many memories of my grandma cooking this in our family kitchen, sitting on a tall bar stool - her whole afternoon taken with babysitting this precious sweet commodity. 

This quicker version came to me from mum, while we were on a video call one morning and I was pondering what to do with my leftover egg yolks. She made the suggestion, I quickly scribbled it down in my work notebook and tested it that night before writing it down properly in my kitchen note/cookbook to keep. 

Because this recipe only uses egg yolks (and not the egg white) it’s a bit more stable, so can take a little more heat if you’re in a rush, but even on a low heat, it comes together quite quickly. 

A lot of kaya recipes also include pandan leaves, which you could include in the first step, and remove before you pour out the mixture…but happy to report it’s still very tasty even without!

Quicker Kaya


  • 200-250ml coconut cream (you can also use coconut milk, try to use the creamier bit)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup gula melaka/golden syrup/maple syrup


  • Melt sugar, gula melaka, and coconut cream in pot until almost simmering 
  • Whisk egg yolks in another bowl
  • Add a few tablespoons of the sugar and coconut cream mix into the egg yolks and whisk to combine
  • Pour egg yolk mix into pot with rest of the sugar and coconut cream mix
  • Stir constantly with wooden spoon on low heat for about 20-40 minutes until slightly thick (you should see a bit of a trail that holds shape for a bit following your spoon when you stir)
  • Pour into containers and let fully cool before you put the lid on and store in the fridge (the texture will thicken further once it's refrigerated)

If you do find lumps in your kaya still - you can just give it a quick blitz to smooth it out (but at the worst of times I can be a perfectionist/purist so try to avoid if I can!)


  1. This was delicious and so easy!

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