Learning > Recipes

Covid-19 stay-home recipe: Make your own kaya

At a loss as to what to cook tonight? Fret not. In this daily series, STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo features nourishing recipes you can whip up during the circuit breaker period

Hedy Khoo on 08 May 2020

The Straits Times


Facebook Email

Why make kaya when you can buy it?


For one thing, it is a good way to give your arms a workout - there is a lot of whisking involved.


You will also be helping to keep a waning tradition alive.


The old-school method of extracting milk from freshly grated coconut is ideal. But given the difficulty of obtaining this even before Covid-19 times, you can replace the 750g of freshly grated coconut and 300ml of water used in this recipe with 500ml of store-bought coconut milk.


Even with this shortcut, kaya is not easy to make. It demands patience and effort.


But trust me, it is worth the hard work.


Follow Hedy Khoo on Instagram @hedchefhedykhoo

Follow Straits Times Food on Instagram and Facebook @straitstimesfood





  • 6 pandan leaves, cut into 4cm lengths
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 750g freshly grated coconut
  • 300ml water (to get 500ml coconut milk)
  • 6 fresh eggs (60g each)
  • 250g sugar
  • 100g sugar for caramel
  • 4 pandan leaves, knotted




Double boiler, three muslin cloth bags and two medium-sized jars




1. Place the cut pandan leaves and 2 Tbs of water in a blender. Blend into a pulp.


2. Transfer the pulp into a muslin bag and squeeze to extract the pandan juice. Reserve 4 Tbs of the pandan juice and discard the pulp.


3. Place the grated coconut in a large bowl. Add 300ml of water and let the mixture stand for 20 minutes. Place the mixture in a muslin bag and squeeze to extract the coconut milk. Reserve 500ml of the coconut milk and discard the pulp.


4. In a bowl, crack the eggs and add 250g of sugar. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and add the coconut milk. Stir briefly.


5. Strain the coconut milk and egg mixture through a clean muslin bag into the upper container of a double boiler. Set aside.


6. In a saucepan, place 100g of sugar. Over low heat, melt the sugar to caramelise it and turn off the heat.


7. Fill the lower pot of the double boiler with 500ml of water and place the upper pot over it, uncovered. Heat the double boiler over low heat. Pour the caramelised sugar into the coconut milk and egg mixture.


8. The sugar will solidify but will gradually dissolve as the mixture heats up.


9. Whisk occasionally for the first 15 minutes. Add the pandan leaves and whisk continuously for another 15 minutes.


10. Remove the leaves and add the pandan juice. Whisk constantly for another 15 to 30 minutes until the kaya reaches a thicker consistency.


11. Remove the kaya from the double boiler and transfer into a clean bowl to cool.


12. If you want a smoother consistency, run the kaya through a blender.


13. Store in airtight glass jars in the fridge. It should keep for up to a week.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



The views, material and information presented by any third party are strictly the views of such third party. Without prejudice to any third party content or materials whatsoever are provided for information purposes and convenience only. Council For The Third Age shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising directly or indirectly howsoever in connection with or as a result of any person accessing or acting on any information contained in such content or materials. The presentation of such information by third parties on this Council For The Third Age website does not imply and shall not be construed as any representation, warranty, endorsement or verification by Council For The Third Age in respect of such content or materials.