Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

Nyonya-style Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam)

Hello Everyone! Try something new on your morning toast! If you’re looking to change up your breakfast condiment selection from the everyday jams and jellies, try this Pandan Coconut Egg Jam. It will transport you to the tropics with its flavourful, rich, and sweet taste!

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

Kaya in the Malay language means “rich”, with reference to the texture of this jam. It is a sweet coconut egg jam that is rich, thick and custard-like in texture, and flavoured with pandan, giving it a fun green colour.

There are two well-known varieties of kaya:

  • Nyonya, which is green in colour
  • Hainanese, which is darker brown in colour and often sweetened with honey

The colour variation depends on the number of eggs, the caramelisation of the sugar, and the amount of pandan leaves used. In the Philippines, a variation of this jam is known as matamís sa báo, but it does not contain eggs and is less thick in texture. In Thailand, it is known as sangkhaya.

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

This version of kaya that I will be sharing with you guys tonight is the Nyonya-style one, which gets its aromatic fragrance and natural green colour from the pandan leaf. The idea of treating it as a dip rather than a spread or a filling was inspired from my trip to Thailand a couple years back, in 2013. We (my family and I) were at a roadside stall for dinner and on their menu they had steamed thick-sliced bread with a kaya and condensed milk dip. I decided to recreate this dish to share with you guys tonight, but instead of serving it with steamed bread, I fried some mantou buns for that extra-added crunch on the outer layer while still keeping the inside of the buns soft.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Curious Cuisiniere by Michelle Wong.

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) Ingredients



  • 4-5 pandan (screwpine) leaves
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

Optional (to serve with)

  • Condensed milk
  • Fried mantou buns


  1. Place the pandan leaves together with the coconut milk in a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and blitz/blend for a few minutes until the pandan leaves have been finely puréed.
  2. Pour the blended pandan-infused coconut milk over a fine sieve and into a large bowl. Strain the coconut milk from the pandan leaf pulp, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the coconut milk from the pulp. Discard the pandan leaf pulp.
  3. In a separate heat-proof bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar, until frothy. Then, add the pandan-infused coconut milk to the egg and sugar mixture.
  4. Create a bain-marie (double-boiler) by pouring some water into a pot that is slightly larger than your heat-proof bowl. Very important, check to see if your bowl can sit on top of the pot without any water touching the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Heat your pot of water over low-medium and bring to a slight simmer. Once slightly simmering, place the bowl with the coconut milk and eggs over it and gently whisk for 10-15 minutes, ensuring no water escapes from the bottom pot. It’s important to keep a low simmer or else the eggs can curdle quickly (refer to notes).
  6. Once done, transfer the kaya to a small serving dish and add just a touch of condensed milk (just enough that it doesn’t become overly sweet) and serve with your choice of steamed or fried bread. Whatever tickles your fancy! Enjoy!

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam) with Fried Mantou

Transfer the remaining kaya into a sterilised and clean jar. Let it cool before storing in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Kaya is eaten as a condiment spread on bread or toast, usually as breakfast.

Kaya (Malaysian Pandan Coconut Egg Jam)


  • If you don’t have access to fresh pandan leaves, you may be able to find pandan extract which comes in a small bottle or pandan leaf powder, which will work perfectly fine with the recipe.
  • If your eggs curdle during the cooking process, not to fret! Continue to cook for the full 15 minutes, and then transfer the mixture to a blender. Blend until the kaya is smooth.

Growing up in Brunei, Nyonya-style kaya was my go-to choice of spread (together with peanut butter or just butter) on the waffles that you’d get at the local supermarket (Hua Ho) in the snack corner. Their freshly made kaya-filled pancakes, or even the kaya buns on their shelves were also my go-to choice. Also not forgetting the Hainanese kaya-filled cakoi (Chinese youtiao fried dough) from a nearby roadside stall from my workplace that my then workmates and I used to drive to our lunch breaks, and the kaya-buttered toast from a popular Chinese kopitiam known as Chop Jing Chew. These are, if not all, then some of my fondest memories of kaya.


– Ally xx



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