Creamy, Vegan Kaya Jam From Malaysia

Kaya jam or serikaya as it is popularly known, is a fruit curd that is native to South East Asia. It is also known as coco jam or pulut in the Philippines. The word ‘kaya’ means rich, courtesy of its smooth, creamy texture is perfect to slap on buttered toast, waffles or even parathas for a dose of sugar at breakfast. The flavour of the coconut is mild and the Portuguese-origin jam (traditionally flavoured with vanilla) uses pandan leaves for a floral aftertaste. Originally made with coconut milk, eggs and palm sugar, this vegan alternative is universally-friendly for humans and their pets.

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In the night markets of Indonesia, you can find jars of kaya jam to take with you. Typically, the jam has two variations – one is called nyonya kaya which is a light green colour and a Hainanese kaya which is a caramelised, darker share of brown, sweetened with honey. The recipe traces its origins to the 17th century when many people from the Hainan region of South China worked as cooks on British ships. As a way of replicating the English tradition of eating toast and jam in the mornings, they eventually invented their own version of the jam once they settled down in Malaysia and Singapore. In cafes around Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, kaya jam is served on toast with thin slices of cold butter. Paired with an iced coffee or cham, a frothy mixture of coffee and tea, it is as authentic as Eurasian influence gets.

Vegan Kaya Jam



  1. 1 nos. Canned coconut cream
  2. ¾ cup palm sugar or brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons cornstarch or flax seed powder mixed with a milk substitute (almond milk, coconut milk)
  4. Pandan leaf or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat the coconut cream and sugar until it melts in a pan and bring it to a boil. Allow the pandan leaf to steep in the cream and sugar as it is heating up. Extract it once the mixture is hot and continue stirring.
  2. Mix the cornstarch with a milk substitute; preferably coconut milk, and add it to the pan with the cream and sugar. Continue to stir for 7-10 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep a close eye to avoid any lumps as it thickens. Stir for an additional 5 minutes for the jam to condense completely and let it cool before transferring to a jar and refrigerating.
  3. The jam stays fresh for two weeks. Use it on pancakes, toast, waffles or anything else you like.