Srikaya jam is one of traditional flavour jams that I’ve known when I grew up in Indonesia. North Sumatra where most my paternal extended family live and they often sent or brought us some goodies when they visited my family who live in Java. Those goodies were mostly things that were not common to be found in East Java back then such a good quality (from a good brand) passion fruit syrup, ikan salai (smoked catfish), srikaya jam, bika ambon, asam kandis etc. Note: In West Sumatra, the neighbor’s province of North Sumatra, Srikaya is known as Sarikayo and enjoyed with steamed ketan (sticky glutinous rice).
That is why when I stumbled upon What To Cook Today in 2010, I felt a connection as she grew up in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra. Sumatra is an island where my late dad was born and grew up until he moved to Java for continuing his education after high school.
It just amazes me how many talented food bloggers there are these days. The other day I got an e-mail from Pepy, another talented food blogger I got to know from this food blogging world, inviting me to be a guest post at her blog. We were discussing some ideas of what to share from my home town. I grew up in Medan, Indonesia. It is a small city located in North Sumatra. Pepy shared with me that her cousin brought her some srikaya jam from Medan when she still lived in Indonesia. So, I decided to do the guest post on coconut and eggs jam or often called kaya in Southeast Asia, particularly, Singapore and Malaysia. In Indonesia though, we called it both srikaya and kaya. Kaya literally means rich in english. That’s probably where it gets its name from.
Coconut & Eggs jam is made of coconut milk, eggs, sugar and sometimes flavored with pandan leaves (screwpine leaves)- often seen in Southeast Asian cooking. The mixture is then double-boiled to a thick custard consistency. I like it as a spread on toasts, on bao (Chinese steamed bun) or just on its own. The richness of this jam just makes it so amazingly good.
We had kaya in our refrigerator all the time. They never lasted very long however. My mom often said “You guys eat it faster than I am able to make it”. I believe most people in Southeast Asia have their own kaya recipes. After all, this is like “the peanut butter” of Southeast Asians is how I would put it. Recipes may not vary too much, but there may be some slight variations here and there. This srikaya recipe has been passed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother, then my mom, and now…me! My mom said that she used to make this in big batches, packed them in jars and gave them to family and friends. There is something comforting about this jam to me. I remember how I always anxiously awaited my mom to give me few spoons of her fresh-made srikaya when I was little. I ate it like candies. Licking the spoon clean.
It’s difficult to find good quality commercially-made srikaya here in the U.S.(if any), at least where I live. I looked at the color of the kaya and the ingredients listed there, I just immediately knew this is not the kaya I grew up with. No way! That’s when I started to make my own srikaya jam. Making your own srikaya jam is not difficult. Only few ingredients to deal with. You just need to be patient. Eggs are quite temperamental in my humble opinion. When you pair eggs with heat, you need to make sure you control that heat really well. Once you know how to make your own srikaya jam, you will never settle for a store-bought srikaya anymore. Trust me on this one!
COCONUT & EGGS JAM or KAYA
(about 24-30 oz of srikaya)
10 large eggs
10.5 oz (300 grams) sugar
2.5 cups (600 milliliter) coconut milk
3 pandan leaves/screwpine leaves (knotted)
1. Prepare your double boiler. You can set it up by putting some water in a medium size pot and bring the water to a boil and lower the heat while waiting for your srikaya concoction to be mixed
2. Prepare your pandan leaves (if you use frozen, thawed it and then rinse and tie into one big knot). Set aside
2. Mix eggs and sugar until sugar completely dissolve by using a glass bowl or any heat-proof bowl you have because you will set this bowl on top of the pot you prepared on step 1. It’s like melting a chocolate if you’ve done it before
2. If you are using canned coconut milk (which I did), shake the can well. Add the coconut milk into the egg mixture and stir gently to mix well
3. Strain the mixture by running it through a fine mesh sieve. This will catch some lumps from the egg yolks or whites to ensure you have smooth srikaya jam
4. Pour mixture back into the bowl and set it up on top of the pot with some water already gently simmering. From this point on, you pretty much have to stand in front of your stove and keep on stirring that mixture until it started to thicken (which take somewhere around 15-20 minutes). Be patient. For the first 15-20 minutes, it may seem to you that nothing is EVER going to happen and you will be so tempted to crank that heat up, but don’t! I’ve done so before and immediately I ended up with scrambled egg. Remember, our mission is to make a srikaya and not sweet scrambled eggs
5. Once it has started to thicken, you can feel it when you stir, continue to stir. Put in your pandan leaves you have knotted earlier. This was a little tip from my mom not to put in the pandan leaves earlier in the stage as the pandan leaves actually release its flavor best for the last 15-30 minutes of cooking. Continue to stir until it has really thickened up and when you spoon it up, it coats the spatula you use. It will thicken further when you cool it down. Turn off the heat
6. Let it cool down a bit before transferring it into a jar or whatever container you will use for storage.
This will last for about a week in the refrigerator or probably maximum 2 weeks if you make sure you don’t double dip