Jam and Bread, Malaysian Style: Kaya and Roti

It’s jam time, again. Jam and bread. Possibly my two favorite things. Or at least very, very near the top.

Jam and Bread. Not only to be eaten as a side to some tea, but also a very popular breakfast choice throughout the world, each nation touting its own variation. Today, I offer another: Roti with Kaya…or Malaysian flat bread with coconut-egg jam.  Let’s go.


Here’s a mini-story for you: There’s a restaurant in Chicago called Flat Top Grill, and it’s a stir fry restaurant. Only stir fry. It’s quite sad that I count this among my favorites because IT’S STIR FRY. Not exciting, not special. But here’s the thing-I CANNOT MAKE STIR FRY!!.

It just doesn’t happen… Apple Crisp is with me, and we even took a stir fry cooking class.  While the class was a success, neither of us has been able to duplicate the process with much success at home. As such, we have to resort to going out for what is possibly every non-cook’s go-to meal. Such is life. Can’t be good at everything.

Anyway, Flat Top Grill, besides having amazing stir fry, has amazing Roti. It’s crispy, buttery and addictive. Here’s my chance to give it my best shot at duplication.

As for the jam, it’s egg based, which is weird for a jam. Intrigued, I got to work.

Again, thanks Rasa Malaysia for the kaya recipe, which I’ve altered slightly


For the jam:

Makes 1 jar


5 eggs

½ cup coconut cream

¾ cup coconut milk

3 pandan leaves, tied into a knot

1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch + 1 1/2 tablespoons water


1 cup sugar

¼ cup water


1. Crack the eggs into a big bowl, followed by the coconut cream and coconut milk. Whisk well, or using an electronic hand mixer, whisk the mixture well. Filter the mixture with a strainer.  The straining is important; this is lumpier than you’d think.

2.  Transfer the egg mixture into a sauce pan or double boiler. Add the pandan leaves into the egg mixture and turn on the heat to medium low. Using a heatproof spatula, keep stirring the mixture until they are cooked, about 20 minutes. This is important- you don’t want to scramble the eggs. 

3.  To thicken the kaya, add the corn starch mixture, stir to combine well with the kaya. Please take note that lumps will form in the jam.

4.  In the meantime, make the caramel.  The original recipe called for a dry caramel, but after the disaster I had last time, I made a wet one.

Heat up the sugar and water in a sauce pan until the sugar melts into caramel. After the sugar has dissolved in the water, STOP STIRRING and let the caramel do its thing.  When the color becomes golden brown, add the caramel into the kaya, stir to combine well and slowly, again, to avoid scrambling the eggs.. The color of the kaya should be golden brown. Turn off the heat.

5.  Let the kaya jam cool down, discard the pandan leaves and transfer the kaya to a blender. Blend until it reaches a silky smooth consistency and without lumps. Transfer the kaya to a jam bottle. This keeps for a week.


For the Roti:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup water

1 egg

1 TB coconut oil or ghee

½ teaspoon salt

Oil, for brushing


1. In a bowl, combine water, egg, oil, and salt. Mix well. Set aside.

2.  Sift the flour into a large bowl, and form a crater in the sifted flour. Pour the water/egg mixture into the flour, and mix well.  Knead this until the bowl is clean and you have a nice ball of dough. Coat the dough ball with oil and plastic wrap. Let it sit for an hour.

3.  Next, knead your dough a bit more, and form it into several balls (about double the size of a golf ball). Coat them with vegetable oil.

4.  Roll each ball flat with a rolling pin, into a flat circle.

oiled rote

5.  Heat a cast iron skillet or pancake griddle. Brushing each side with a little more oil, place the roti in the pan and cook about 2 minutes and then give it a flip.  Cook the other side until golden brown.  It’s shocking how little time this actually takes.

cooked roti

Slather the kaya on the roti. Eat and Enjoy!


jam roti

Just an FYI: The Hungary Buddha is returning to the Motherland this week (HUNGARY! VIENNA! LONDON!) and will be back in a few weeks for some Singapore sauciness.   Until then, eat well!


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