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Kaya (Malaysian Coconut Egg Jam)

Kaya is a delicious Malaysian jam made with coconut, eggs and caramel. Rich and aromatic jam which is perfect for toast and a cup of coffee |

Kaya (Malaysian Coconut Egg Jam)

Kaya is a delicious Malaysian jam made with coconut, eggs and caramel. Rich and aromatic jam which is perfect for toast and a cup of coffee.

Kaya is one of my favorite Malay words. The reason is simple: it carries two of my favorite meanings in Malaysian language. First being rich; secondly, it means an utterly delicious coconut egg jam which is wildly popular in Malaysia and neighboring country Singapore. In this post, I am going to teach you how to make kaya, a jam that gets me all excited waking up in the morning…the silky smooth jam that goes on warm, crispy buttery toasts, and served with a cup of aromatic Malaysian dark coffee. Ahh…

Kaya is a delicious Malaysian jam made with coconut, eggs and caramel. Rich and aromatic jam which is perfect for toast and a cup of coffee |

Kaya, also known as srikaya, seri kaya, is a confiture made of eggs, coconut milk, sugar and infused with the fragrant aroma of pandan leaf. The mere mention of kaya conjures up a lot of my childhood memories. I grew up mostly with my late grandmother—a much celebrated Nyonya cook and kuih (local sweet cake) maker. The majority of my childhood days were spent in the kitchen, watching my late grandmother and my aunt preparing her many orders. One of the things that we would always make is kaya, the coconut egg jam that would go on the beautiful blue-color Nyonya kuih called pulut tai taiMy aunt would always be the designated helper making the kaya. She would beat the eggs, coconut milk, and sugar mixture with a traditional springy egg beater, and then the mixture would go into an antique yellow color enamel double-boiler sitting over a charcoal burner. Whenever she made kaya, she would religiously sit in front of the charcoal fire, stirring the kaya diligently for hours, yes, laborious hours! The kaya that came out from our home kitchen was always silky, smooth, with the richest and freshest taste, complete with a golden brown hue and color unrivaled by any kaya I have ever encountered. It was pure perfection. A perfect ten confiture. Once in a while, my aunt would ask me to help, and I would eagerly take her seat and help with the chore. Mundane was an understatement, but I often derived a sense of satisfaction watching the egg mixture slowly transformed into a silky and thicker consistency, and then the pale yellowish color transformed to a golden amber color with the addition of caramel. It was magical…and the taste of the end product was absolutely delicious.

Kaya is a delicious Malaysian jam made with coconut, eggs and caramel. Rich and aromatic jam which is perfect for toast and a cup of coffee |

There are many variations of kaya, some are yellowish in color, while others are greenish, or brownish. The texture varies, too; some are runny, while others are thicker. My favorite is always the ones which is thick and rich in texture (I don’t like runny and thin kaya), golden brown in color, a color derived from the addition of caramel towards the end of the making process. While the traditional way of double-boiling is probably the best way to make kaya, nowadays, you can actually make this prized jam in less than an hour. When I called my aunt for the recipe, she even told me to “cook” the kaya, and skip the hours of stirring.

My kaya recipe below is quick and easy and takes about 30 minutes. With the help of modern kitchen appliances, the texture is smooth as silk, and the taste is as close as the ones that my aunt used to make. If my late grandmother were to taste this kaya jam, I am sure she would be so proud of me. It’s sweet, creamy, aromatic, and without any lumps, it’s simply decadent. Try my kaya recipe and in the next post, I will teach you how to turn your plain old toast into kaya toast that you will soon be hooked on.

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99 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Once again your delicious recipes ring a bell. We have a cake – like many traditional Portuguese cakes, it is made with lots of eggs and sugar – called sericaia, almost the same word, and the origin of this cake is somehow uncertain, some saying India, others saying Brazil and now I see that it may be from Malaysia, where the Portuguese have been for a while in 16 and 17th centuries… This is a small world

      • Hi Bee,

        I tried this last week and I have to say it was delicious. (I have to try hard not to steal spoonfuls of it for a sweet, pandan-ny, caramelly, coconut-ty fix!) I might try seeing if I can find a recipe using gula melaka instead and see how that changes the taste.

        Also, there is a snack in M’sia that I truly enjoyed that sounds like your Portuguese friend’s sericaia… it’s called “seri kaya”… might even be pronounced the same way. It’s basically dough balls with kaya in them. mmmm :)

    • in

      Hi Joao. There are many Malay words that are Portuguese in origin. Here’s a few samples.
      (M)baldi (E)pail (P)balde
      (M)bola (E)ball (P)bola
      (M)kereta (E)car (P)cart
      (M)gereja (E)church (P)igreja
      (M)roda *as in car wheels/tyres (E)wheel (P)roda

  2. Sabrina S

    I live in North California and the only way to get Pandan leaves is from Ranch99 which sell frozen pandan leaves.

  3. Pam

    -If use coconut milk, not cream, do I add the two quantities together?
    -The Vietnamese coconut milk brand that I used has one type for desert and another for cooking. You reckon I should use the desert type?
    -My old recipe use only egg yolks, what is the different with the end product when use whole egg?

  4. In

    When I was young, the best part of making the kaya was licking the double boiler and pandan leaves clean after my mother had poured the kaya into jars!

  5. charlene

    I would like to know if I were to use undiluted fresh coconut milk instead of coconut cream and coconut milk(added with water), how much of it should I use?

  6. Yen-Ning

    This looks so good! I’ve tried kaya back to my hometown and loved it! One question, can I omit cornstarch? Will the jam be too runny w/o it? Thanks!

  7. eryl

    Hi Bee! I’m so excited to try the Kaya recipe. Just a quick question, why are some kaya jam light green in color instead of golden brown (like the bottled kaya that they sell at breadtalk)? Thank you so much!

    • The color is from the pandan juice and I find the green color kaya tastes “eggy” which I don’t fancy. Brown color is because of the addition of caramel which I love. It adds a nice smoky flavor to the kaya.

  8. premi

    Just tried this recipe last night,and i must say,it is really delicious.I couldn’t find coconut cream,so i just use the canned coconut milk.The next time,i’ll use a fresh coconut to make this recipe.Thank you very much for this recipe.Baking a Hokkaido Milk Bread now to eat together with kaya.


  9. Daniel

    My wife is going to love this!!! She´s from Kuala Lumpur and is craving Kaya. Sadly we can´t get it here in germany. Today i found the pandan leaves in our favorite asian grocery store. Just finished this awesome and easy recipe…filled it into two jaws. Now i am waiting until my wife comes home from work and i´ll present her some awesome Kaya toast. I tried it of course and it tastes just like the one we had back in KL. Thanks Rasa Malaysia!!!

  10. Dezzy

    My mother is from Penang but has lived in Australia for over 30 years and because we live in a small town we could never get the right ingredients to cook the food she was brought up with. Now that I have found your blog when I go to the city I will know the exact ingredients to buy and cook her old favourites. I was in Penang last year and they had a dish called “Nasi Kandar” the chicken was so yum maybe you might post this recipe oneday :) thank you Bee

  11. Lily Chan

    Hi Bee,

    I am so happy with your recipe. Happy the end result turned out well and I nailed it today. Thank you. My kaya looks lovely and taste good too. Love your story too, evokes memories of my late grandma stirring kaya in her ancient kitchen using firewood.

  12. Tamara

    I tried this recipe in hopes because it looked a little easier to cook than the ones I’ve tried before. I like it a great deal, but next time I will use only 4 eggs, not 5, as it seems a bit eggy to me, even when I add some more coconut milk and sugar, a dash more pandan flavoring, and even a little gula melaka (palm sugar — not to be confused with date palm sugar).
    When I’m in a grocery with Southeast Asian items, I always pick up some pandan flavoring in a bottle. Not even half as good as fresh pandan, but it gets me through the times when there isn’t anything.

  13. Phaik Lee

    Thanks Bee for the recipe. I have made kaya using the same method ie cooking over the stove instead of the traditional method of double boiling it. To avoid any lumps, cook the mixture on a real low flame and keep stirring for hours! Yes, a,most 2 hours for a lump free consistency. But then of course, cook it fast on a moderate flame and whiz it up later for a silky texture. For those who wish a pandan flavour, blend some cut up pandan leaves with the coconut milk, and strain the milk. The number of leaves is dependent on the intensity of the colour you desire. I have opted out of using pandan paste because the colour is so artificial although the flavour is pretty good.

    Thanks again!

  14. Denise

    Hi Bee! I love coconut, and I’m anxious to try your Coconut Egg Jam! :D I have a couple of questions…Can this be canned to preserve it? We’d love to enter this in our county fair and canned items have to be properly canned. Also if I’m unable to find Pandan leaves here, can it be left out or will it greatly affect the taste? Thank you so much for this recipe and any help you can offer.

  15. rebecca

    Hi there, for the caramel part, do i need to add water? or just cook the sugar? and I dont have blender with me, so can i omit the part? thanks :)

  16. Tracy

    Thanks for the recipe. I ate this when I was a child and always wanted to know what it was made of and how to make it. Now that I’m grown and there’s the internet, nothing is impossible to learn. I love coconut and pandan flavor, so this food is the best. I see the pandan leave are available frozen, but do stores ever sell it fresh? I live in Southern California, Orange County. Is the frozen leaves flavorful? Also,I wonder if I can make a more healthier version by not putting in that much sugar or maybe substitute it with something else.

  17. Jay

    Thank you for the recipe! I’ll try it today with pandan and gula melaka/white sugar (mixed). :) I just finished the last of the kaya I brought home from Malaysia and I can’t imagine breakfast without it!

  18. melissa

    Hi ,

    I’m interested in trying out the kaya recipe you had shared here, but I have just one question.
    That will how long can the kaya last before going expiry ?
    THank you so much

  19. melissa

    Hi ,

    I’m interested in trying out the kaya recipe you had shared here, but I have just one question.
    That will how long can the kaya last before going expiry ?

    THank you … look forward to your reply.
    Melissa !!

  20. Itsmi

    1/2 cup coconut cream n 3//4 cup coconut milk, how much does it equal to in ml or gm. If thick coconut milk is available (i.e. Coconut cream) how much is required if diluted coconut milk is omitted?

  21. choleng

    Unfortunately, I rarely see pandan leaves been sold in any of the two Vietnamese oriental grocery stores here in the mid-west of US. However, couple weeks ago when I was so craving for the taste and smell of Kaya that I made some with a teaspoon of vanilla instead of the panda leaves. it turned out pretty good! :0)

  22. Jeanne


    I tried making some kaya using artificial sugar. I added the sugar when it’s about ready.

    The thing is the kaya looks like scrambled eggs. Is the fire too big ?


  23. Mac

    I’m so confused with this recipe. In step 1 you say to add the sugar to the egg mixture. Then in step 3 you say to heat the sugar. Did I miss something?

  24. loveyee

    I used to help my mum making kaya when was a little girl. Your recipe sounds like my mum’s recipe except her measurement is using her own bowl and only use coconut cream. You can imagine how hard for me to understand /ask my mum for the measurement.

  25. Kim

    Hi Bee,

    I have tried to make kaya before. But my girls complained that the kaya I made has eggy smell. How do it get rid of the eggy smell?


  26. innew

    Hi Bee,
    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I made some today and it tasted great and the consistency was just nice! Definitely brings back fond memories of roti kaya back home. The only thing is that I noticed the colour of my kaya is on the lighter side (instead of golden brown) even though I followed through the recipe & instructions. Any idea why this could be so?

  27. reem

    Hi, I’ve made this recipe twice just this week and it’s perfect. It tastes eexactly like the kaya I had in Malaysia. I need to make a third batch but I am out of coconut milk :S could I just use coconut cream? If so, how much more cream should I add and do I need to add some water to make up for the thicker consistency? How much water?

  28. Pixie

    Just like to know if we need to shake the coconut cream? Coz whenever i use the cream, the bottom part is diluted. If i shake it, it wont be so creamy and the kaya wont turn out thick.

  29. I received a jar of Sing Kee Kaya from a visitor from Malaysia a week ago and it is delicious! First time I had it — and I’d never heard of it before. I liked it so much I wrote about it on my blog and linked to your recipe, in case people can’t find it locally. Thanks for teaching us how to make it!

  30. Sanny

    i just made my first kaya jam! It was yummy! It has golden amber color and i dont have to blend it. It’s nice and thick. I made half of the recipe and i used ” telur ayam kampung” and extra pandan leaves. It smells divine.. Thank you thank you thank you

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