Friday, May 20, 2005

Kaya - Rich egg custard

Kaya means rich so it must be with more eggs for the custard. There are many versions and to each its own. This is my version, simple , fast and rich. The microwave is used to cook this custard.
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  • 5 eggs (280 gm)
  • 280 gm sugar
  • 200 ml thick coconut milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of powdered vanillin


  1. Stir and whip all ingredients except vanillin in a glass bowl to break up the eggs. Strain mixture.
  2. Microwave uncovered for 5 mins on level 4(i am using 1000 watts) and then stir. Repeat again 5 mins on level 4, by now the mixture will be thicker.
  3. Continue to Microwave for 3 mins on level 3, remove from microwave and stir. the custard should be thicken by now.
  4. This time, cover with cling wrap and leave an opening for steam, microwave on the level 2 for 5 mins.
  5. Remove wrap and stir adding in the vanillin and let it cool.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

What brand of coconut milk did you use?

Thanks in advance!

lilyng said...


i like to use savoy and mae ploy brand but lately i found that mae ploy is very watery. so, it is still savoy but have tried a new one dragonfly and it is quite good. all are from thailand

Anonymous said...

Hi Lilyng,

Thank you very much! I used to use mae ploy too, but that was what I found - too watery. I just used Aroy-D brand last night to make Kaya (in the slow cooker - very very easy).

See link here - for my experience.

Once again, thank you very much!


Anonymous said...

What is the powdered vanillin used for? Is it for the texture of the kaya or for flavouring?


Anonymous said...

what you mean by level 3 or level 4 in microwave? Is it the same as medium or high heat?

lilyng said...


if you own say 1000 watts microwave and there are 10 levels, then the first level would be 100 and so forth. High would be 1000 but for medium and low, you would have to check the manual which came with the oven.

making this kaya, start with medium and then use low until kaya becomes custard. it will be thicker when it is cooled

lilyng said...


powdered vanillin is for flavor just like vanilla essense

Anonymous said...

hi - just wondering, how long can this be kept? Should it be refrigerated?

I remember my grandmother making batches of kaya in a double-boiler, or something like that.



lilyng said...


the kaya should be kept refrigerated at all times.

Yvonne Ng said...

Hi Lily,
Just a thought, istead of vanilin, maybe you should try pandan leaves..I bet you could get it at the Asian store or some Chinese market...It enhances the frangrance plus I like my kaya to have a green color.. :oP

lilyng said...


i do get frozen pandan leaves here but i do not fancy the funny green it gives to the kaya. Thanks for the tip anyway

ioyces said...

hi Lily!

I just made a batch of your kaya!!! I was quite skeptical at first...cos i heard that kaya is hard to make and requires long hours of stirring...
and using the microwave???

It turned out awesome!!!

It was somewhat chunky (hard to describle the texture...a bit of curdling?) i used a hand blender to whizz it...and it become really smooth and creamy..yum yum yum!!

It's so good that i wanted to call my friends so that they can taste it too!!! haha...

Thanks so much for your fantastic recipes; they give me so much more confidence to cook Asian dishes!!


lilyng said...


i think the level of heat was too high that's why the curdling. try using a lower level the next time

i am glad it turned out great

anne c said...

hey lily,

after spending ages on lookin through ur wonderful eating blog, i finally picked up the courage to try this recipe!

however it turned out in powdery chunks, but the taste is good!

i tried whizzing it but to no avail.

what did i do wrong?


lilyng said...

anne c

i think you have cooked and scrambled the eggs with high level of the microwave

eggs cooked in the microwave need very low level of heat and you would have to be patient and keep on stirring

Amber * said...

Hi, I was searching for a coconut milk and egg custard on google, yours was the 3rd result. This sounds really interesting. Based on what others are saying it sounds yummy too. I am going to make it right now and I'll post what I think.

I have never checked out your blog, but I love what I've read so far. I will bookmark your site for later.

I am a FB publisher too, you should stop & say hi sometime :)

Amber, of Renaissance Culinaire

Amber * said...

Hi, I am back. I used your recipe - but I used organic light brown sugar instead of white granulated sugar.

It really brought out the coconut flavor. The pudding is very yummy - not too sweet. Next time I am going to try adding cooked rice to it.

Thanks so much for posting this recipe. You changed my view of using the microwave for custards.

lilyng said...


welcome back.

try adding caramelized sugar/caramel, it lifts the kaya to another dimension

pcj said...

hi lily,

1. may i know if i can substitute the powdered vanilin with vanilla essence? if its possible, how much vanilla essence should i put in?

2. will the kaya thickened if i use lesser sugar?

thank you!

lilyng said...


i used powdered vanillin instead of vanilla extract cos i did not want to discolor the lovely yellow color. use 1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract depending on the grade.

The kaya is thickened by the eggs, so more eggs, the thicker it will be. you could use any amount of sugar to your taste.

Anonymous said...

hi lily,

can i use coconut cream instead of coconut milk? if it's possible, how much coconut cream should i put in?

thanks :)

lilyng said...


yes, you can use coconut cream and you do not alter the recipe

Anonymous said...

hi lily

do i put the same amount of coconut cream? or should i dilute it with water?

lilyng said...


if you like your kaya thin, then add 2 = 3 tbsp of water

lilyng said...


if you like your kaya thin, then add 2 = 3 tbsp of water

Sunflora said...


I have to thank you for sharing all your lovely recipes on the blog. I made some kaya and steamed egg custard yesterday and both turned out beautifully.

I decided to cook the kaya on the stove and added some pandan paste because I like the pandan smell. I followed your recipe and it turned out wonderful! Mine turned out a bit lumpy at the end so I just used a hand helf blizer for a smooth paste and it was divine.

Thank you!

etong said...

im feeling very miserable now..the mixture is still very watery and i dunno what to do

lilyng said...


don't feel bad. add an extra egg and continue cooking or add 1 tbsp of cornflour/cornstarch which has been mixed with 1 tbsp of water and add in, then continue to cook until cornflour is cooked. kaya will thicken when it cools

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily, I am very fond of your blog n hv tried a few of your recipes. Yours is the best recipe website I hv come across and I hv bookmarked it for easy ref.

I've used a similar microwave kaya recipe as yours and replaced white sugar with caramelized sugar for that traditional kaya taste I yearned for. However, the caramelized sugar became chunky during the cooking process. I do not have this problem when using just white sugar.

Would appreciate it if you could give tips on using caramelized sugar for this recipe. Many thanks in advance.

lilyng said...


the caramelized sugar has crystalised which caused the lumps. what you should have done is, when the sugar begins to brown, add in a little water and let it cook until liquid again. This way the caramel will not turn lumpy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily, I tried with water and the proportion I used was 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of water. Nice golden color and smooth. However, crystallization still happened when the caramel is cooled. Hmm...this turned out to be very tricky...


Aleena said...

Hi Lily,
I followed the exact steps but the mixture is still dilute and does not have a nice creamy texture. I will try to add an extra egg but how should I continue cooking it and at which microwave level and how long.
Thank you.

lilyng said...


microwave wattage differs, keep on cooking on low and keep on stirring. it will be done eventually.

carole said...

hi lily,
it's me again - i don't have a micro so how do i do the kaya on the stove, many thanks in advance.

your latest fan

microworm said...

Hi Aunty Lily,

I have always been standing hours just to stir the kaya mixture when cooking kaya, your microwave version is definitely a shortcut. I had came across someone using microwave, but didn't print out the receipe, think it was called coconut custard or coconut curd.

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing, it is such a pleasure to have found your site.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
I am having another shortcut recipe for Kaya: 3 eggs,1 cup santan, 2/3 cup sugar, pandan leave(optional),Method: 3 eggs mix with 2/3 sugar, stirring for about 10mins, slowly pour in the santan mix keep on stirring for another 15 mins, leave aside, make sure this part the sugar is dissovle well, will form a smooth mixture when pourin to the caramel.Use a pot, pour the balance 1/3 sugar, use very slow stove fire, stirring until it become caramel,slowly pour in the santan mixture, keep on stirring until the mix slowly become thicken and very smooth texture.Dont put in the pandan leave too early, just after pourin g off the santan mix only stir in the leave, it turns very fragrance and wont "littering" the kaya.My Canada friend use santan powder since she couldnt find santan water, she just mix into the egg mixture also turn out nice too.Enjoy trying !

Fr: Sunshine Leong

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,
I have tried making kaya yesterday. But it didn't look like kaya. It's yellowish and very dried. I cooked it on stove. What's the reason for driness and not brownish color ? Pls comment.

lilyng said...


This recipe will not result in brown kaya, the color comes from adding caramelized sugar of which sugar is caramelized.

For the driness, it could be that the egg has been cooked for too long and curdled.

Christine Ng said...

Hi Lily, Thank you for creating this blog and sharing all your yummy recipes. I tried making kaya. Which is something I miss from home. It turned out delicious. I followed your recipe and another commenter's advise about putting everything in a slow cooker on low for about 4.5 hours. (I doubled your recipe because my slow cooker is big). Kaya on toast with butter. Yum!
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi,Just to give more info on using stove slow fire to make the kaya recipe :the santan mixing with eggs & sugar,must be stirring v v dissolved, when the caramel is formed, slowly pouring the santan mixture into the caramel, our hand movement must not be stopped, should keep on stirring, only it wont turn curdle.Stirring the santan I used 25mins, strring the 2nd part(caramel with mix)I used 30mins, it will be abt 1 hr or more time, not less than 1 hr,the kaya will turn curdle if too fast.

Fr: Sunshine Leong

sweety-penne said...

A wonderful recipe. Thanks for creating this blog. I missed eating kaya so much although it can be bought in some asian shops here. The recipe is easy to follow and to make. Enjoy every bit of it.

Thanks heaps!

shuey said...

Hi Aunty Lily.

I followed your instructions and turned the microwave heat down but it came out chunky.
Do you know why?

lilyng said...


different microwaves have different wattages, so check your microwave's wattage. i used to have one that was 1300 and now i am having a 900.

in the beginning you can use the high for 1 min and as soon as you see some curdling, then you must whisk and bring down to half the wattages. cook 1 min at the time and whisk. if it curdle too much, lower the heat and cook but once the eggs are cooked, it will be runny but when it get cooled it will thickened. whisking vigorously will give you smooth texture

Anonymous said...

Hi Aunty Lily

Just want to drop u a note that i made the kaya jam following ur recipe and it turned out to be fantastic. I used a electric mixer to whisk the jam to a smooth texture to remove any lumps.

This recipe is really fantastic and easy to make, i have also noted down many of ur CNY cookie recipes and i'm gonna try making them this CNY.

thanks again :)

chinchyechia said...

Always use fresh pandan leaves for their
distinctive flavour (British spelling) and fragrance using the double boiling/constant stirring method like mum used to do..... can keep without impairment of flavour for no more
than five days in fridge at 5 degrees C.

Had a lot of 'stirring experience' when a kid when helping out.

Will try the microwave method to see
if end product is as good.

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