I wish I could take credit for this food find which is native to where I grew up, but I have to hand it to my friend Suzanne for discovering this jar of goodness. These coconut based jams, called kaya/srikaya are a staple in South East Asia and lovely with toast and a strong cup of coffee. Transplanted to America, other non-traditional uses have been found for it – which I cannot wait to try. According to the Hey Boo website and also the jar, below are some of the countless ways you can try this kaya:
- with toast, waffles, pancakes
- with scones, biscuits, bagels
- on top of ice cream, cakes, sorbet
- dip for pretzels, crackers, green apples
- with pies and crepes
- with cheese and wine (pairs well with aged cow’s milk cheeses such as Mahon and Cantal)
- with fried bananas and sticky rice
- invent your own!
Like most of my other addictive food finds like the Old School Milk and Kishu Mandarins, this one is available at Bi-Rite Market. It is a little pricey, so I am going to try making some at home and eat it the way Susan Feniger suggests with a runny egg with dark soya sauce and some thick toast slathered with some home-made kaya.
SUSAN FENIGER’S KAYA TOAST
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
8 pandan leaves, washed and tied into a knot (available at New May Wah in SF or well-stocked Asian stores)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 egg yolks
1. In a small saucepot, mix together the coconut milk and one-half cup sugar. Stir in the pandan leaves and salt and bring to a boil over high heat, keeping the pandan submerged in the milk as the leaves cook and soften. When the milk has come to a boil, remove from heat and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the pandan leaves from the milk, squeezing any excess liquid from the leaves into the milk. Discard the leaves.
3. In a medium stainless steel mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and remaining one-half cup sugar. Whisk in the coconut milk mixture to form a custard base.
4. Place the stainless steel bowl over a medium pot of lightly simmering water. Gently cook the custard, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. The final texture should have a thick custard consistency (a trail of the spatula should remain on the surface of the custard for more than 10 seconds).
5. Immediately remove from heat and strain into a medium bowl set over a larger bowl of ice water. Stir until the custard cools, then cover and refrigerate until needed. This makes about 2 cups coconut jam, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe; the jam will keep for 1 week, refrigerated.
KAYA TOAST PLATE ASSEMBLY:
2 tablespoons coconut jam
2 slices dense white bread, such as pain de mie or pullman, toasted on 1 side
1 1/2 tablespoons shaved salted butter
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
Dash ground white pepper
1 soft boiled egg, peeled
1. Spread the coconut jam evenly over both slices of bread on the untoasted side, then place a layer of shaved butter over the jam. Place one slice of bread over the other to form a sandwich.
2. Halve the sandwich, then cut each half into thirds to form 6 even wedges.
3. Pour the dark soy sauce over the egg and dash with the pepper. Serve the egg alongside the sandwich wedges.
Photo from http://www.eatstreet.com