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Kaya toast is a sweet and decadent breakfast staple first popularized in the traditional coffee shops, known as kopitiams, of Malaysia, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Two pieces of toasted bread sandwich a slice of cold salted butter and a generous portion of kaya jam, a sweet, custardy spread made from coconut cream, sugar, and egg yolks. Though cooking techniques vary across the region, many iterations include pandan, a tropical herb that lends the jam a grassy, slightly nutty aroma. Dip these sweet, aromatic sandwiches into runny eggs seasoned with soy sauce and white pepper to start your day on the most luscious of notes.

Look for pandan leaves in the freezer section of your local Asian grocery store, or substitute with 1 teaspoon of pandan extract at the end of the cooking process.

Leftover kaya jam makes a lovely filling for pastries, cakes, or French toast.

Featured in “Meet the Coffee-Shop Staple Serving Up Coconutty Vibes Around the World.”

Yield: serves 2
Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the jam (see headnote):

  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. palm sugar (1½ oz.)
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 pandan leaves, tied into knots
  • 4 large egg yolks

For the toast:

  • 4 slices white bread, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. cold salted butter, cut into ⅛-in.-thick pats

For the eggs:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. light soy sauce
  • Pinch white pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the jam: Bring a medium pot filled with 2 inches of water to a boil. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the coconut cream, sugar, palm sugar, and salt. Add the pandan leaves. Place the bowl on top of the pot (ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl), turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking frequently, until the sugar has dissolved, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat, and remove and discard the pandan leaves.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Whisking continuously, gradually pour in 1 cup of the coconut milk mixture, then add the tempered yolk mixture to the coconut mixture on the stove and whisk to combine. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, using a silicone spatula to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl, until it has a pudding-like consistency, 12–15 minutes. (If using, add the pandan extract and stir to combine.) Remove the bowl from the pot, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Make the toast: Onto two of the bread slices, spread 2 tablespoons of the kaya jam, then top evenly with the butter, and sandwich with the remaining bread slices.
  4. Make the eggs: Bring a medium pot filled with 4 inches of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and use a slotted spoon to lower the eggs into the water. Cover and set aside for 6 minutes, then crack into a small bowl.
  5. To serve, top the eggs with the soy sauce and white pepper. Slice the kaya toast on the bias and serve hot alongside the eggs for dipping.

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