Versions of it are enjoyed across the region from Thailand to The Philippines going by names as diverse as sangkhaya in Thailand, seri kaya in Indonesia or just kaya in Singapore in Malaysia.
The tastes differ from region to region but one common denominator is that it's calorie dense and very sweet. In this healthier version, sugar is replaced with fresh Stevia leaves, which are 150 times that of cane sugar, without any of the calories or side effects on blood sugar and insulin levels.
Dried Stevia leaves and powdered Stevia has a more intense sweetness as compared to fresh Stevia leaves, so, do double the amount of fresh Stevia leaves in your recipe. As a rule of thumb, one cup of cane sugar’s sweetness is equivalent to that of one teaspoon of powdered Stevia.
Using just four ingredients, making Kaya is all about having patience and being observant. The technique is similar to making custard: constant stirring under low heat to ensure a smooth consistency. If you rush by turning the heat up, the Kaya will curdle and become scrambled eggs.
- 4 medium/large eggs
- 1 cup coconut milk (if you’re using coconut cream, dilute it with a bit with water to make 1 cup of coconut milk)
- 5 teaspoon of fresh Stevia leaves or half teaspoon of powdered Stevia (or half cup of cane sugar)
- 4 pieces of Pandan leaves
- Cut Pandan leaves into one-inch pieces and pound until masticated
- Soak Pandan leaves in coconut milk for one minute
- Chop finely Stevia leaves or stir in powdered Stevia into eggs, hand-whisk well
- Sieve coconut milk into egg mixture and mix well in a small cooking pot
- Place cooking pot over double boiler or a wok of water with a towel placed underneath pot to prevent over-heating
- Turn heat to low and stir frequently until liquids have reduced and gluey consistency has formed (usually takes 45 mins to 1 hour)
- Turn heat off and let Kaya sit until cool. (Kaya will continue to thicken while cooling down)
- Spoon Kaya into clean, dry glass jars and keep refrigerated for two weeks
- Enjoy kaya with thick slabs of butter on traditional white toast or for a healthy alternative, spread Kaya on lightly buttered gluten-free toast