Monday 5 January 2015

Smooth Hainanese Kaya (Caramel Coconut Jam) 焦糖椰香咖椰

This is another variation to the famous coconut jam. It has a smooth creamy texture that is rich with coconut flavour and a hint of caramel. Unlike the pandan version, caramel coconut jam is brown in colour due to the caramelised sugar added. Its sweetened taste goes well with any bread or buns. Some other more innovative combinations include puffs, glutinous rice and even chinese cruellers.

The recipe that I am using is adapted from my previous pandan kaya recipe. I removed the pandan juice and replaced with caramelised sugar. Making the coconut jam itself was not a problem for me but I did encounter a little difficulty with the caramel. It nearly burned. Phew! Nearly. You really have to be very careful with the caramelised sugar. Not only it is extremely hot, it tends to burn easily after it turns brown. Therefore, we have to work really fast to get that perfect taste of caramel.

(Click here for recipe on authentic pandan kaya)

Hainanese Kaya (Caramel Coconut Jam)


260 ml coconut milk (from one coconut)
3 eggs
170 g sugar (reduced) 
3 pandan leaves
60 g sugar for caramel

Cooking Instructions

1. Break eggs and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix. Add coconut milk and mix until sugar dissolves. Strain into a cooking pot. Add in pandan leaves.

2. Put cooking pot on top of another pot with boiling water. Start with moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce to the lowest heat once egg mixture turns warm and starts to thicken.

3. When mixture starts to thicken, stir often so that mixture do not form lumps. Once jam is thick enough to coat the wooden spoon, stir constantly.

4. In another heavy-bottomed sauce pot, put in 50 grams of sugar and a few drops of water to boil. Switch off fire when it becomes amber brown (see pix 4.). Quickly drizzle caramel into jam. The whole process should not take more than 10 seconds as the caramel will continue to cook in the pot. If the caramel gets burned, it will leave a bitter aftertaste. If the caramel is under-cooked, you will not get the taste of caramel in the kaya.

5. Mix thoroughly. Remove from fire when jam thickens enough to coat the wooden spoon. All in, it took me about 35 minutes. It is alright if kaya is a bit runny as it will thicken further once it is cooled and refrigerated.

4. Cool completely before storing to avoid condensation. Jam can easily last for 1 month in the fridge if cooked and stored properly. The longer you cook the jam the longer it would last.

1. Normally if you buy fresh coconut milk of 1 coconut from the wet market they will give you about 200 to 250 ml. Top up with a little water until it becomes 280 ml.
2. Be careful when making the caramel as the sugar is very hot. When it reaches amber brown, remove from fire. The caramel will continue to cook. Overcooked caramel will have a bitter taste.
3. If you want the kaya to be a thicker consistency, reduce coconut/water to 250 ml.

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