Kaya Recipe (Nyonya Coconut and Egg Jam)

July 7th, 2010Jam, Recipes43 Comments
Kaya (Nyonya Coconut and Egg Jam)
Kaya (Nyonya Coconut and Egg Jam) pictures (1 of 3)

Siew Loon and I will be starting a pao/bao (steamed buns) series on Nyonya Food. We are kicking it off with a kaya recipe (Nyonya coconut and egg jam), and then follow with kaya pao/bao (kaya steamed buns), and a couple more scrumptious bao recipes. Whenever I am home in Penang, I love ordering various types of puffy and pillowy steamed buns from coffee shops. It’s wonderful that we have Siew Loon, who is a master in kuih and such preparations to share her wonderful recipes with us.

Contributor: Ho Siew Loon

For the past two weeks I have been trying my hands on making pao/bao (steamed buns) with different types of fillings. Kaya—Nyonya coconut and egg jam—filling is one of my favorites. I decided to make my own Kaya as the store-bought kaya has a thin consistency which I can’t use it for my pao/bao filling. And of course it is always healthier to make our very own Kaya without any preservatives and less sugar…

Kaya is actually from a Malay word which means “rich” based on it’s rich golden brown color. It is a coconut jam made from coconut milk, duck eggs or chicken eggs  flavored with pandan leaves and sweetened with sugar. It is widely eaten in Southeast Asia either as a spread on a piece of toast, topping for Nyonya kuih or as fillings for steamed buns (bao) and baked buns.

(Click Page 2 for Kaya/Nyonya Coconut and Egg Jam Recipe)

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43 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Elaine says:

    I love the colour of your kaya, it’s very appetising looking. Those sell at the stores, sometimes you don’t want to buy it because of the yellowish green colour.

  2. LimeCake says:

    i love kaya, and i’m hainanese, so it’s sort of part of our heritage. thick and delicious on toast. yum!

  3. I like the texture and I’m sure it’s excellent in bao. Most kaya recipes I’ve seen use around 8-10 eggs so I haven’t tried them. I can’t wait to try yours!

  4. Any idea how long the kaya can be kept for (I’m assuming refrigerated)?

  5. ChristineT. says:

    I’m from Indonesia, at the place where i grow up people made steamed loaf bread (its white color) and will sliced them as you would slice regular bread here in US, and served them with kaya. i dunno if you familiar with these steam bread , if you do , do you happen to know the recipe and how to make them ?

  6. ChristineT. says:

    Actually you know what , i just have an idea , use the recipe for Bao but steam them as a loaf instead of small little bao.
    Thank you for the kaya recipe, sure brought back a good memory childhood . can’t wait to try them =)

  7. homegirl says:

    Hi, when do you use the pandan leaves? I did not see it in the method above.

  8. J Michael says:

    Yes, about the pandan leaves – do you leave them in the egg mixture – while stirring?

  9. Oh my gosh, this just sounds like heaven. I’m not sure I could wait to make the buns, I see this going directly on my toast or any other edible surface insight.

  10. April says:

    Thx for the recipe! I’ll try making it this weekend.
    I live in England and the Kaya I find here are disgusting!!!!
    I’m so looking forward to eat some proper Kaya at last!!!!

  11. julyn tan says:

    Hi there ,

    this recipe looks really simple ! i am going to give it a try. But before that i have got a question, i’m not it’s my eyes or it wasnt indicated. I couldnt see where the pandan leave is stated in the cooking process. when does the pandan leaves come into the picture ?

    julyn tan

  12. ghd says:

    Actually you know what , i just have an idea , use the recipe for Bao but steam them as a loaf instead of small little bao.
    Thank you for the kaya recipe, sure brought back a good memory childhood . can’t wait to try them

  13. Thank you for this recipe.Nothing beats making your own kaya.

  14. Pingback:Kaya Bao | Steam Coconut jam Dumpling | Nyonya Food & Recipes

  15. annie says:

    I’ve just tried your pandan chiffon cake last night. Everythig was perfect except the cake doesn’t rise and become fluffy as I expected. It’s pretty dense. What do you think have gone wrong? Please advise as I would definitely want to try again.


    • Nyonya Food says:

      Did you use the self raising flour or is it just plain flour?

      • annie says:

        I used self-raising flour. I must say I used a normal pyrex dish and not a tube cake tin for baking though. Could that be it?

        • Nyonya Food says:

          Yes , that is why it did not rise well. You need the tube pan for the air circulation so it can rise well. It is a light cake.

  16. Maisy says:

    This recipe looks yummy! I was wondering, what volume of coconut milk would be equivalent to 200g? Unfortunately I’ve got to resort to canned coconut milk.

  17. LHarrison says:

    Sounds like a great recipe. Had always love Kaya as a kid. I think I’ll like to try making it one day. Not sure if I can get pandan leaves in the UK…can I use pandan paste instead? Also, what’s a double boiler?

  18. apirat payuhahgiatigun says:

    Would you like to teach how to make bao
    If so, pls contact me my email is
    I am from Bangkok, Thailand 51 years old
    employed. I am very very interested to learn
    how to make bao as this is my favourite food

  19. mary says:

    This looks so delicious, I’m drooling just looking at it! I was wondering, is there any other way the word “kaya” is used in nyonya cuisine? I was at a malaysian resturaunt tonite, and I ordered nasi lemak and a roti with kaya. It described it the was your recipes go, but when I got it, the anchovies sambal was a very sweet gooey cornstarch thickened sauce (is it supposed to be cold too?) and was served with chicken rendang next to it (not complaining), and the roti kaya didnt have any kaya, it had a weird sort of corn spread inside that I couldnt really taste any coconut in, thought there may have been some coconut milk in it. Is this just a regional way of making these dishes, or is it simply a bad chef?

  20. yclim410 says:

    I just made some today, with my grandmother’s recipe. My grandmother’s proportion is slightly different, she use equal part of egg and sugar (volume) and coconut milk to taste. I didn’t get the creamy texture. The texture was a bit gelatin like but otherwise it was alright. Strange…..

  21. Evelynn says:

    My aunty in Malacca is selling authentic nyonya kuih for a living. However the kaya she made and the picture is different. Malacca’s nyonya kaya version is very yellow-ish in color due to the heavy amount of eggs used in making the kaya. Delish!! highly encouraged to try…

  22. Pingback:First attempt « The Trishaw

  23. Made kaya for the first time on thursday and I would say, your recipe is so simple! And it’s delish even without pandan leaves!! I only cooked it for about an hour. Does it taste different if I cook it longer? Mine does not look as thick as yours though. Is the texture of my kaya ok? Img is on the link. thanks :)

  24. Raymond says:

    Made the Kaya, turned out great!! I credited your website the recipe! Thanks a ton! :)

  25. Pingback:Kaya cream pie with love « The Trishaw

  26. alice says:

    Can I fake it with pandan extract? I think I have some in my pantry!

  27. Pam from Ipoh says:

    I just made it, turned out fabulously. Next time I will omit the caramel part as my penang nyonya mum/grandma never used caramel, just the pale custard. The caramel did add an extra depth of flavor which I do like too.

  28. Pingback:Three Week Culinary Challenge: Week 2 | Tiramisue

  29. joe says:

    Thks. I’d missed my late mom’s kaya,for yrs,(saw how she made them but never learn), so i go thro some sites/blogs and chanced upon yours which is exactly the same as my mom’s.I’m going to try it and tell my children. Is it ok to reduce the sugar?

  30. Baking Mom says:

    Great recipe! Followed it exactly and yes it’s painstakingly tiring to keep stiring the mixture once it’s thickened. Would double the recipe next time as it yielded barely a bottle. A lot of work but worth the effort. Had to remove the pandan leaves mid-way as it was leaving shreds in the kaya! Doesn’t taste as sweet as the commercial ones that’s for sure.

  31. Jillian says:

    This is the BEST kaya recipe I’ve ever tried!! I’m from Penang where there’s someone selling kaya at every street corner. I finally know to make kaya brown!! Thank you so much for the recipe!!

  32. Ang L.P. says:

    I am looking for kuih seri recipe but not able to find in your website. can you furnish me with a gd kuih seri recipe. I am not able to get fresh coconut milk so will be using can coconut milk. I enjoy reading & viewing the photos of your recipes, they are easy to understand & follow.

  33. Jenny says:

    Hi, thxs for the recipe. Like someone who has commented before, I lived in England too and just can’t find any decent kaya so I will definitely try to make it.

  34. mimi says:

    can we use pandan essence if no pandan leaves?

  35. Rachellee says:

    Hi, I’ve tried making kaya using ur recipe & everyone loves it. There’s a question, why mine are not as smooth like we bought from shop? Today I attempted 2nd trial with your recipe. I sieved it half way. Result is satisfactory (very smooth) but it wouldn’t thickened after stirring it religiously in 1.5hr. Sad :(


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