Oh, the yummm continues! Two posts ago, I wrote of a drool-inspiring, rich and creamy, homemade Nonya kaya (coconut jam), that we Singaporeans (and visitors alike, who are as much into our food culture as we are) enjoy in characteristic Singaporean fashion. Spread lavishly onto thick or wafer-thin slices of toasted, soft white bread, and the killer topper in my opinion, thickly cut slabs of cold butter laid on top. Yeee-uummm. As I was making the Nonya kaya, I was already thinking ahead (as I always do, when it comes to food) of trying the Hainanese version of homemade kaya, which is just as rich-tasting and smooth, but distinctly caramel-flavoured.
As a kaya lover, I am addicted to both – seriously, I cannot possibly argue the merits of one over the other, in any logical, sensible, or rational manner, without fearing that I might be doing injustice to either. I am certainly not a kaya connoisseur by any means, but colour differences aside, I find that Nonya kaya has a muted sweetness to it, and a distinctive pandan flavour as most typical homemade recipes incorporate freshly squeezed pandan juices, whilst Hainanese kaya is typically sweeter, and has a syrupy, honeyed flavour, due to the way it is prepared.
In traditional Hainanese kaya recipes, sugars are first heated until they melt and completely caramelise into a golden, toffee-coloured syrup state, before being added to the coconut-egg mixture. Sometimes, honey is used to sweeten the jam. Both Hainanese as well as Nonya kaya spreads are aromatic, and characteristically ‘lemak’ (a Malay word used, in gastronomic terms, to mean the richness of a food), attributed to the use of coconut milk, which is creamy and fatty.
It doesn’t take very long to prepare homemade kaya, and it seems more than fair, that for an hour’s light labour in the kitchen, you’ll be rewarded with this wonderfully rich and creamy coconut egg jam, and probably, with more than enough to last you a while. I guarantee, homemade kaya will absolutely spoil you, once you try it. You probably won’t be able to appreciate those cloyingly sweet, bottled ones ever again!
In pinning down a recipe that’s easy and straightforward (because it just has to be, right?) I came across this one posted by Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover (you can read the author’s full post here). The great thing about homemade versions is that you’re absolutely free to make it the way you and your loved ones enjoy them. The recipe, as reflected here, has had sugar reduced a tad, and a little butter, often incorporated when cooking fruit curds and jams, added at the end of cooking to enrich the flavour a notch, and blunt the sharp sweetness of sugars in the jam.
Do try this, and tell me what you think! If you’ve got a good recipe to share, or made one with your own adaptations, I’d love to hear about it! Sharing is caring! Have a wonderful week ahead!