31 October, 2009

Taste Adventure - Coconut Jam and Pandan

Every book in our house is read a minimum of 4 times an hour.  Each day it might be a different rotation of books, if I am fortunate enough to sneak in a repertoire, but each book will be read ad infinitum.  Generally this causes intense boredom on the part of us parents, sometimes to the point of irritation.  There is one book, however, that doesn't drive me completely insane to read: Munch by Emma McCann.

In this story of a toast and jam loving monster named Munch fighting off an enormous monster with an enormous appetite the strangest jams are highlighted as favourites of Munch: coconut, broccoli, and banana jam. While I had no interest in broccoli or banana jam, I was always intensely curious about the thought of coconut jam. So my Monster and I googled it one day only to discover what apparently most of South East Asia has already known.  Coconut jam, more generally known as Kaya is a little bit of tropical heaven in a jar.

This morning I managed a quick escape from our self-imposed quarantine (still not sure if the flu is really here or not) for a trip to the Loriz Bakery, a Phillipino bakery and convenience store not to far from our house to pick up pandan.  Also known by the horribly bad name of screw pine leaves, pandan is common on Thai, Malaysian, and Phillipino cuisine.  Honestly, to me it smelled like a type of grass.  Tasted bland too.  But combined with coconut it tasted And smelled like our house was transported into somewhere far more tropical than Calgary for an hour. Remind me to get Thai of dinner tomorrow.

I blitzed my screw pine leaves with a bit of water and strained the mess.  Then I set to carmelizing sugar, beating eggs, and cooking it all together with some thick coconut milk.  It turns out coconut jam is more like a custard.  But damn, it is good.

Sadly, The Monster refused to try it and Smilosaurus did not like it at all.  I am blaming it all on the sickness and not on the odd colour that this ends up.  Putting green goop on your toast is not appetizing to the eyes, but to the nose and tongue it was fantastic!  Seriously, it was so good. And one of the best things is that I have A LOT more pandan leaves in the freezer and you can always get coconut milk. Even though the recipe only makes about 3 jars of jam you can make it at any time of the year.

In my research I discovered recipes with or without the pandan  I decided to go for the pandan to make it a bit more authentic.  A lot of the recipes had up to 10 eggs too.  It seemed like it would be a bit too eggy so I found another recipe and adapted it because my can of coconut milk was bigger than the one in the original. It worked for me, it definitely worked for me.

Coconut Jam
Adapted from Almost Bourdain
(makes 3 250 ml jars)

5 pandan leaves
250 grams sugar
1 can coconut milk (not light) or cream
5 eggs, beaten well

1. Blitz the pandan leaves with 1/4 cup of water.  Push the liquid through a sieve and measure 50 ml.
2. Melt sugar and pandan juice in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat until carmelized.  it will be green, so don't let it go much more than a couple of minutes once the sugar is melted.
3. Remove from heat, stir in the coconut milk and eggs.
4. Return to heat and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened and cooked, approximately 20-25 minutes.
5. Place in sterilized jars and seal.  Alternatively, let cool and serve that day. (I did not process my jars, but they did seal.)

Make sure to visit Under the High Chair for her virtual jam swap, there are going to be some fantastic submissions!


Anonymous said...

I am so glad to read that my kaya recipe worked for you. They are delicious. Thanks for the linking! Love your blog!!!

Isabelle said...

This sounds delicious. I really love anything coconut. I also like the look of the book - love that the little monster is saying "Oi" in the last pic.

Emm@ said...

Wow! That's fantastic. I'm so impressed with the coconut jam - I had no idea it really existed when I wrote it!

Thanks for letting me know about your jam making exploits. I've just been moving house so I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to get back to you. Have fun!

Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

That looks so yummy. I love pandan and am looking for recipes where I can use it especially for sweet stuff!

Julia said...

We also read books many times over! I'm all about jam and this looks lovely! Good job! Hope you're all better now!

Karine said...

You seem to have done a great job with the jam. Thanks for sharing :)

Grace said...

Gawd, it's been years since my late mother made Kaya... I remember coming home from school and smelling that glorious smell... thanks for the memories... :)

Julie said...


Anonymous said...

For another food related children's book with awesome rhyming and illustrations try The Rascally Cake. It is a fave in our house.

Anonymous said...

Catching up on blog posts and saw your post on kaya! Yum yum yum. Might have to give this a shot as a surprise present for my dad. He used to feed me kaya from a jar or can when I was a kid, and I bet he'd be pleasantly surprised by some homemade stuff.