Silky soft and creamy kaya -chinese egg custard- flavored with coconut and a hint of pandan. Spread on warm toast or wrap in pao.
I remember the flavor of my mom’s paus (bapao) like I had them yesterday (if only..). Her dough was super soft, the fillings were to.die.for., and the paus were wrapped with so much care and looked beautiful too. Whenever my mom started steaming the first batch of pau’s, me and my two sisters would be in line before the paus had even hit the pan. I wish I was into food-photography back then; I would’ve captured all the delicious dishes she made so I could cherish them forever ^^ My mom was amazing. ♥
Mom usually made two flavors: amazing drool-a-licious savory char siu pau (Chinese BBQ pork bapao) and creamy sweet nai wong pau (Chinese egg custard bapao). There are so many other kinds of pau’s, but we loved these so she always made these two. (We were never into the most common homemade pau with ground pork and egg. It just didn’t work for me.) A while back I tried to remake my mom’s nai wong pau. Although the pau skin isn’t quite what I want it to be (yet), the filling was spot on. We call the filling “kaya”. And it isn’t just good wrapped in paus; this delicious custard is great on warm toast too! Yumm…. And as usual, I can’t resist to share the recipe with you guys.
Kaya is basically a simple egg custard with “asian flavors”: coconut and pandan. “Traditionally”, my mom made this kaya without pandan. Not because she wanted to, but because it was so hard to get it back then. She was always looking for pandan leaves/essence, but Asian products were rarely sold in The Netherlands back then. Nowadays, I just hop on my bicycle (or walk) and pay a quick visit to the Oriental Supermarket to get my favorite stuff; including a bottle of pandan paste 😀 Obviously, you can use pandan leaves for this recipe instead of paste, but pandan leaves are quite expensive over here so I stuck to the paste. It’s nearly as good. I’ll live 😉
To make the kaya, all you have to do is combine the ingredients and “cook” it with a double boiler. You can buy a fancy double boiler if you’d like, but if you (like me) want a cheap version: pop a heatproof bowl over a big pot of boiling water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Once you’ve got that going, keep stirring the mixture until it thickens. The more you stir, the smoother your custard will be. Once it’s got the right consistency, let the custard cool completely and transfer it to a jar. Wrap this goodness in pau dough, spread it on toast or (secretly) eat it from the jar 😉 Trust me, it’s finger-licking delicous.
What’s your favorite thing to spread on toast?
- 2 eggs (L)
- 3-4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose-flour
- 1 Tbsp custard powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 small can of coconut milk (165 mL)
- 1 drop of pandan paste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a heatproof bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, flour, custard powder and salt until smooth.
- Stir in the coconut milk.
- Place the bowl over a pan (double boiler) with boiling water (high heat).
- Whisk the mixture constantly until the mixture thickens.
- Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the pandan paste and vanilla extract.
- Let the mixture cool completely.