Coconut jam

Coconut jam, also known as kaya jam or simply kaya, is a sweet spread made from a base of coconut milk, eggs and sugar. It is popular throughout Southeast Asia.

Coconut jam
A jar of matamís sa báo from the Philippines
Alternative names
  • sekaya
  • seri kaya
  • srikaya
  • matamís sa báo or matamís na báo
    (the Philippines)
  • sangkhaya (Thailand)
  • cadé (Vietnam)
  • 咖椰 (Chinese communities)
TypeSpread, Dip
Region or stateMaritime Southeast Asia[1]
Associated cuisineSingapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, and Thailand
Main ingredientsCoconut, sugar, eggs

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore

A close-up of Kaya from Malaysia showing texture

The word for coconut jam in the Malay language, kaya, means rich, referencing the texture of the popular food. For Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans, kaya,[2] also called srikaya (coconut egg jam), is a sweet creamy coconut spread made from coconut milk (locally known as santan) and duck or chicken eggs (which are flavored with pandan leaf and sweetened with sugar). The resulting color varies depending on the color of the egg yolks, the amount of pandan, and the extent of the caramelization of the sugar. As a popular local spread, kaya is typically spread on toast to make kaya toast and eaten in the morning,[3] but is also enjoyed throughout the day. Kaya can be found in most kopitiam and night markets.

Different varieties available include the nyonya kaya, which is of a lighter-green color, and Hainanese kaya, which is of a darker brown and uses caramelized sugar, and is often further sweetened with honey.

In Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, kaya is also used as a topping for several desserts including pulut taitai or pulut tekan, a dessert of sweet glutinous rice colored blue with butterfly pea flowers (bunga telang), and pulut seri muka, a similar dessert but colored green due to adding pandan leaves. It is also used with glutinous rice to make kuih seri kaya.


Philippine coconut jam is known as matamís sa báo (also matamís na báo or minatamís na báo, among other names). The names literally mean "sweetened coconut". It is different from other Southeast Asian versions in that it uses coconut cream (kakang gata, the first and second press of grated coconut meat) and cane sugar extract or molasses (treacle). It also does not use eggs and thus is more like syrup rather than custard. It is often eaten on toast or pandesal or used as a filling for pan de coco. When it is mixed with ground glutinous rice paste, it becomes a popular dessert known as kalamay.[4]

A less viscous version made with coconut milk (gata) is known as latik (anglicized as "coconut caramel"), and is used in place of syrup in numerous native Filipino desserts.[5][6]


The kaya of Thailand is called sangkhaya (Thai: สังขยา, pronounced [sǎŋkʰàjǎː]) in Thai. There are two major types of kaya eaten in Thailand. One type is more liquid than the other, while the less thick kaya is similar to what is eaten in Malaysia and Indonesia. People either spread it on steamed or toasted bread or dip the bread into kaya. This kind of kaya is commonly sold by street vendors but has recently been brought into tea and coffee shops.

Another type is a concoction that has a less sticky and more custard-like texture. It is sometimes called "coconut custard" in English and is used to make sangkhaya fakthong (สังขยาฟักทอง, [sǎŋkʰàjǎː fáktʰɔ̄ːŋ]; sangkhaya maryu in Lao), sangkhaya pumpkin or custard pumpkin, khao niao sangkhaya (ข้าวเหนียวสังขยา, [kʰâːw nǐaw sǎŋkʰàjǎː]), glutinous rice topped with sangkhaya, and sangkhaya maphrao (สังขยามะพร้าว, [sǎŋkʰàjǎː māpʰráːw]), sangkhaya served in a coconut.

See also


  1. Hui, Siu-Ling (April 2004). Queen Victoria Market: History, Recipes, Stories. Wakefield Press. ISBN 978-1-86254-601-1.
  2. Julie Wong (3 August 2014). "Kaya: A rich spread". The Star. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  3. Michael Aquino. "Roti Kaya – a Favorite Kopitiam Breakfast throughout Malaysia and Singapore". About Travel. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  4. "Minatamis na Bao (Coconut Jam)". Kawaling Pinoy. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  5. "Bisaya translation for "latik"". Bisaya Translator and Cebuano Dictionary. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
  6. Nocheseda, Elmer I. (2004). "Palaspas Vernacular: Towards an Appreciation of Palm Leaf Art in the Philippines". Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society. University of San Carlos. 32 (1): 31. JSTOR 29792546.
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