How To Make Nyonya Kaya

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

I am always torn apart between Nyonya Kaya and Hainanese Kaya. Hainanese Kaya has that deep caramel coconuty flavor while Nyonya Kaya is iconic for its rough pandan-green aromatic texture. If I have a gun pointed to my head, I would definitely choose this Nyonya version. Perhaps the process of making this kaya from scratch brings back nostalgic memories; my grandma would make a huge batch, jarred and gave to neighbors and the whole family.

Making kaya is indeed a long and tedious process but I guarantee that once you start making this, you will never go back to store-bought ones. Ever! I am using a very traditional method. One that doesn't require any hand or stand mixer, as my grandma would say that aeration is the last thing you need. So, be sure to wash your hands clean before mixing. I do, however, add a few touches of my own (my grandma would probably kill me tho).

On a side note, if you can get your hands on fresh coconut cream, please use it. I am just using packaged ones. Yes, it will make a lot of difference. You can have a smoother texture by passing the cooked kaya thru a fine sieve. I prefer the rough texture with bits of yolks and sugar clumps. You can also adjust the amount of sugar used; keep it between 450g to 600g. Spread it on some toast and it tastes heavenly. Without much delay, let's get started with the recipe.


(Make 2 Pints)

  • Pandan Leaves, 21 + 6

  • Granulated Sugar, 150g

  • Demerara Sugar, 150g

  • Raw Coconut Sugar, 150g

  • Eggs, 6

  • Coconut Cream, 170g

  • Coconut Rum, 2 TBSP


  • Huge Wok with Lid

  • Blender


  1. Wash pandan leaves thoroughly.

  2. Tie 2 pandan leaves into a knot.

  3. Repeat until you have 3 knots.

  4. Transfer into a heavy large heat-proof bowl and set aside.

  5. Coarsely cut the remaining 21 pandan leaves into a blender.

  6. Add in 150g of water.

  7. *The ratio is 50g of water to every 7 pandan leaves.*

  8. Blitz until smooth.

  9. Pass the pandan juice thru a fine sieve into a bowl.

  10. Using the back of a spoon to squeeze as much juice as possible.

  11. Discard the residue and set the pandan juice aside.

  12. In a large bowl, add in the 3 types of sugar.

  13. Add in eggs.

  14. Using your hand, mix until well combined, breaking up any lumps of sugar and yolks.

  15. *This is to prevent any aeration.*

  16. Add in the pandan juice, coconut cream and coconut rum.

  17. Still using your hand, mix until everything is well combined.

  18. Pass the batter thru a fine sieve over that heavy large bowl with 3 knots of pandan leaves.

  19. Discard any residue.

  20. Add some water into the wok over very low heat.

  21. The water should be barely simmering.

  22. Place the bowl of batter into the water.

  23. The water should reach 1/2 inch away from the top of the batter.

  24. Wrap a lint-free kitchen towel over a plate and place over the bowl to act as a cover.

  25. Cover the wok with a lid.

  26. Steam for 15 mins.

  27. Remove the lid and the plate.

  28. Give the batter a light whisk.

  29. Cover and repeat the steps every 15 mins for 2.5 to 3 hrs.

  30. *If the water is simmering, the heat is too high and it will cook the eggs.*

  31. The batter should thicken and stick to the whisk.

  32. Remove from heat and fish out the pandan leaves.

  33. Set aside to cool down.

  34. It will thicken further once cooled.

  35. Transfer into sterilized jars.

  36. It can be kept chilled in the fridge for a good 3 months.

  37. Spread on some toast and enjoy.

Here's the recipe video:

#kaya #nyonya

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