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Also called kaya or srikaya, coconut jam is a type of coconut-flavored spread popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Traditionally served on buttered or plain toast, coconut jam may also be used as filling for pastries or on rice. Though it can be found commercially, the commercial brands usually have additional flavorings and preservatives not found in the homemade recipes. Making this jam at home, however, is a time consuming process.
The basic ingredients in coconut jam are coconut milk, sugar, and eggs. Although white sugar is almost always used, sometimes brown sugar is added as well. Pandan, or screwpine, leaves are often also added to the mixture for additional flavoring and removed after the jam has cooked. In commercial brands, flour is added to help thicken the mixture.
Generally, it is recommended that fresh coconut milk is used. To obtain fresh milk, the coconut meat is grated and squeezed to produce the creamy mixture. Using fresh coconuts ensures the quality of the milk and that no preservatives or artificial flavorings are added. Coconut milk can be bought pre-made but should be 100 percent pure.
To make coconut jam, the milk, sugar, and eggs are mixed together and then strained before being placed in a double boiler. Double boilers allow foods to be heated by steam without coming in contact with the moisture. Water is added to the bottom half of the boiler, then the top half is placed snugly over the bottom. The coconut mixture is pour into the top half, and the leaves are stirred in. The leaves may be knotted together before they are added for easier removal later.
While in the double boiler, the mixture is stirred constantly. Recipes vary on the exact cooking time, but the jam will cook for at least an hour in the boiler. Sometimes, it may be heated for two to three hours, stirring frequently, rather than constantly, after the first hour. When the jam is done, it will have a smooth, thick consistency and a golden coloring.
If the pandan leaves were tied together prior to inclusion, they may simply be pulled out of the completed jam. Loose leaves, however, will need to be strained. Once removed, the leaves can be discarded.
The finished coconut jam is allowed to cool before it is placed in jars. The jars should be tightly sealed to ensure the jam keeps well. If refrigerated, coconut jam will be good for about a month.