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Homemade Kaya - Egg Custard with Coconut Milk

Homemade kaya or sekaya (rich custard made with coconut milk, sugar and eggs) uses very simple ingredients. Why should you make your own kaya?

The ingredients are cheap and readily available, it does not contain any artificial preservatives or flavorings and it tastes delicious!

Sure, you can buy canned kaya at the supermarket but isn't making your own is much better than the one you buy from the store? 

Beautiful, rich homemade kaya.

Yes, the tricky part is the technique you use while double boiling the mixture so that it will not turn lumpy. I would like to assure you, if you follow my methods below, you will get perfect kaya every time.

If you do not have a double boiler, fret not. Ordinary stock pot filled with slowly simmering water on the stove, with a wok on top of it will work just as well.

Kaya made using a wok and a stockpot
You can make kaya using a stockpot and a wok

Kaya being stirred on a wok acting as a double boiler
Kaya being stirred on a wok which also acts as the top of a double boiler.

The resulting kaya would be smooth and even in color also.

Kaya in double boiler
Kaya being cooked in a stainless steel double boiler

Kaya coating the back of the
Kaya is ready when it coats the back of the spoon.

Kaya coating the back of the
Kaya is ready when the consistency
is thick but still runny.

Its sweet, creamy texture, coupled with real butter on toast is a real treat. Kaya is also available from your typical Indian roti man. However, nothing beats kaya made by yourself. Such a labor of love to your beloved family.

The Indian roti man (Mamak roti) will cut the bread or buns and spread them with margarine (Planta) or kaya or both, depending on your request.

Kaya spread on white bread (roti benggali) is a unique Malaysian way of eating it. At an authentic kopi tiam place, the bread is toasted over charcoal fire before wiping the toast with kaya.

Kaya is also used as a filling for kuih pau (steamed bun) and also for the topping for pulut sekaya (or sometimes called seri muka), a Malaysian dessert with glutinuous rice.

Here is the recipe:

  • 500ml thick fresh coconut milk (or in carton)
  • 350g caster white sugar
  • 10 size A eggs - 6 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks.
  • Half teaspoon of salt.
  • 8 pieces of knotted pandanus leaves


  • Separate egg yolks with an egg separator. Please do not separate the yolks using the egg shells. The reason is because, the shells may be contaminated with bacteria which remain even after washing the eggs thoroughly.
  • Beat 6 whole eggs with 4 yolks using a whisk. There is no need to beat until the mixture increases in volume.
  • Pour in the sugar and salt and continue whisking the mixture. Again, there is no need to beat until the mixture increases in volume.
  • Boil water in the bottom part of a double boiler. I use TupperChef double boiler set. The secret to avoid the kaya from being lumpy is to make sure the bottom part of the top pan is one inch above the boiling water. We do not want the top pan to be too hot by piping steam or in contact directly with the boiling water.When using the wok and 24 cm stockpot, I filled the stockpot with 1.6 litres of water to ensure the water will not touch the base of the wok. It worked perfectly.
  • Pour the coconut milk in the top pan of the double boiler and warm it until it is lukewarm, then pour back into a small jug.
  • Slowly pour the coconut milk from the jug in small trickle, into the egg mixture, whisking all the time.
  • Strain the mixture into the top pan of the double boiler.
  • Put in the knotted pandanus leaves
  • Continue stirring over very low heat until mixture is thicken, glossy and smooth. In my case it took 40 minutes.
  • Your kaya is ready when it coats the back of the spoon you use for stirring. It may appear to be runny but it will thicken when it cools.
  • Cool and keep in an airtight jar. By placing kaya in the fridge, it will stay fresh longer.

    To save time I use the TupperChef wok as I could make in double quantity for only 30 minutes! The reason is because the bottom of the wok also has the Artech technology that promotes even heat distribution.

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