Kaya Toast

Kaya is a rich and creamy coconut jam from Singapore that is popular across Southeast Asia. Think of it as somewhere between a thick coconut pudding and dulce de leche. Kaya jam gets its flavor from fresh pandan leaves, which infuses the coconut egg custard with a mild, grassy vanilla note. If you can’t find fresh pandan leaves, you can also substitute pandan extract. Once the custard base is made, a quick caramel is prepared and the two are stirred together into one beautiful golden jam.

For kaya toast, you only need bread and butter. For kaya toast that’s next-level, add a soft boiled eggseasoned with dark soy sauce. Magic happens when you dip the kaya toast into the runny yolks and soy sauce. It’s the ultimate sweet and savory experience.


For the Kaya Jam:

  • 4 yolks

  • 1 1/3 cups coconut cream

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 fresh pandan leaves, tied into a knot

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

For the Kaya Toast:

  • 2 slices white bread

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter, thinly sliced

  • 1 large soft boiled egg, for serving

  • Dark soy sauce, for serving

Steps to Make It

Make the Kaya Jam

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.

  3. Add 1 cup of the coconut cream along with the granulated sugar and pandan leaves to a small saucepan over high heat, stirring to combine. When the mixture reaches a boil, turn off the heat.

  4. Gradually whisk half of the coconut mixture into the egg yolks to temper, then gradually whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.

  5. Heat the saucepan over medium and bring to a very gentle simmer—there should be small bubbles bursting on the surface. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns into a thick pudding and a channel can be drawn through the center with a small spatula, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the pandan leaves.

  6. Add the dark brown sugar and remaining 1/3 cup of coconut cream to a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture resembles a caramel. 

  7. Whisk the caramel into the custard base in the saucepan, then transfer to a medium bowl set in an ice bath.

  8. Cool the jam, transfer to a jar, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the Kaya Toast

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut the crusts from the bread, then toast in a skillet or toaster until golden on both sides.

  3. Lay the thinly-sliced butter over one slice of toast, then spread the kaya jam over the other slice.

  4. Sandwich the toast together and slice in half. Serve with a soft boiled egg and season with the dark soy sauce.

Recipe Tips

  • Making your own caramel sauce from scratch will give you a more richly-colored kaya. Instead of using 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, melt 1/3 cup granulated sugar over medium-low heat and caramelize until it is deeply golden. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup coconut cream and let cool slightly. Proceed with the recipe as written.
  • To skip the caramel process entirely, feel free to use store-bought caramel. Simply stir 1 to 2 tablespoons directly into the custard base after removing the pandan leaves.
  • If you cannot find fresh pandan leaves, you may also use pandan extract. Just note that if the pandan extract is not clear, it may turn your kaya a slightly green in color.

Raw Egg Warning

  • Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk for food-borne illness.


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