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Pandan Jam (Screwpine)

It's strange how food craving can drive one to do things that he would never thought of doing, like learning how to cook Char Kway Teow (a local favourite dish in Singapore), or my mom's Nonya Chicken Curry, mutton curry, Assam Fish, Steamed Fish (Teochew Style), Sweet & Sour Pork, White Peppered Pork Slices (my childhood favourite), Chinese Steamed Buns, etc. Had I still been living in Singapore today, I would have never learned how to cook all these dishes as they are easily and cheaply available at home. The things we easily take for granted until we live overseas!

A few weeks ago, I had a sudden craving for a home local jam called Kaya (coconut-egg pandan jam) - my childhood favourite jam. Making this jam at home requires hours of standing, stirring and watching over it on the stove, letting it cook slowly and thicken like a thick custard. It can easily get scorched if one gets distracted from the job. I have seen my mom make this before at home and trust me, it's a very long process. I don't know why but I found myself talking about Kaya on twitter with Davina & Su-yin. Sweet & lovely Su-yin upon learning my plight kindly shared with me her secret Kaya recipe. To say I was overjoyed is an understatement... I was over the moon about it! So excited I was when I got her recipe, that I immediately set out to make it, only to realize that I had no coconut milk in my pantry. Arggh! I was so determined to have my jam that I just went ahead and made it with full cream milk. That's how desperate I was. LOL! When one is that desperate and craving for their home food, nothing gets in the way!

I only have this to say: Thank You, Cravings! If not for you, I wouldn't have discovered this delicious gem 'Pandan Jam' which I'm so addicted to right now. LOL! So readers, food cravings is definitely good for you - it spurs you to explore, create & improvise with whatever you have in hand and a new dish is born. Below is the recipe of Pandan Jam adapted from Su-yin's recipe. I love the colour of this jam - it reminds me of my wonderful 2 weeks vacation in Ireland in '97. Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day and we are celebrating Paddy's Day Food Parade over at The Daily Spud.

Pandan Jam (Screwpine)
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 120 g full cream milk (half-cream milk will do too)
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tsp pandan essence or a few pandan leaves
  1. Mix a bit of milk to the custard powder in a bowl - stir well to ensure there's no lumps, then stir in the rest of the milk. Set aside.
  2. Whisk eggs, pandan extract and sugar in a pot until combined. Add the milk mixture to the egg while continue to stir until it blends together.
  3. Put pot on stove, continue whisk it over low heat until it begins to thickens and resemble a thick custard. (takes about 4-5 minutes)
  4. If mixture is lumpy, whisk it with an electric handheld beater in the pot, giving you a smooth texture.
  5. Let it cool and keep it in a air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  6. To serve: spread the pandan-egg jam on a slice of bread alone or with butter.
The Verdict

It's surprisingly very good. Rich in pandan flavour (that's to be expected of course) ; the texture is very smooth like a very thick custard as it should be and deliciously good. I was hooked on this jam immediately and couldn't stop eating slice after slice of bread with it. The aroma of this jam even rouse Pierre out of his office upstairs to check it out. Little One loves it too.

Pandan jam (screwpine)

Right after the jam is done, it tastes a wee bit too sweet for my taste. However, after it has been refrigerated, strangely it doesn't seems to be overly sweet anymore - I have no idea why. If you don't like it to be too sweet, do reduce slightly the sugar quantity in above recipe.

#1, by Anh (03/17/2010)

I love the color of the jam. is it the same as kaya?

#2, by The Cooking Ninja (03/17/2010)

@Anh: It tastes quite similar to kaya except it doesn't have coconut flavour. It's a good alternative for me.:-)

#3, by Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 (03/17/2010)

Yeah, the craving is all the driving force to make us cook more and explore more. If we use real pandan leaves, will the jam be less green?

#4, by Asha@FSK (03/17/2010)

WOW! What an intense green!!! Perfect for St. Patrick's day!!

#5, by The Cooking Ninja (03/17/2010)

@Janet@Gourmet Traveller 88: I think it'll be a lighter green and how intense the green depends on how much you add the extract from fresh pandan leaves. Using fresh pandan leaves, you have to cut it into smaller pieces and blend it with a bit of water and squeeze out the juice.

@Asha@FSK: Yes I love this green colour. The flavour is so good too.

#6, by diva (03/17/2010)

woa Pam this is great! how did u get your jam such a lovely St Paddy's colour? HEART! mwa x

#7, by Phyllis (03/17/2010)

How wonderful to see pandan jam on St Paddy's Day roundup! I'm originally from Malaysia so pandan and kaya are very nostalgic for me. Good save using the full cream milk instead of the coconut milk! Oh, now you've got me craving kaya - do you think it would go well with some Irish soda bread;-)

#8, by Ching (03/17/2010)

Healthier alternative to kaya as milk is used instead of coconut milk. I might just give this a try.

#9, by MaryMoh (03/17/2010)

Totally agree with you that staying overseas help us to become good cooks. Cravings are really powerful, isn't it?...LOL. Love your kaya. Now I'm hit with instant craving...haha. It's very late and soon time for bed. Think I'll just dream about it....probably drool in bed:-D

#10, by Lynn (03/18/2010)

Wow, what a bright color! That's perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

#11, by Tiny Urban Kitchen (03/18/2010)

My Singaporean friends always talk about pandan but I've never tried it before. I wonder if they are easy to find in America?

#12 (03/18/2010)

I learn something new every day, speaking about food (being still very inexperienced in food area) But I like it!:-) I love discovering new goodies and delicacies, like this Pandan jam. Looks amazing!

ps: I subscribed to RSS from your blog a couple of months ago, but it doesn't update and I really don't know why!:-( Your blog is the only one where I have this problem. Has anybody else had such a problem?

#13, by tigerfish (03/18/2010)

Looks really green! Toast the bread, add in butter, slather bread with your jam, and you have "Ya Kun" toast similar:-D

#14, by Sarah, Maison Cupcake (03/18/2010)

I've never heard of this stuff but it looks and sounds great. Perfect for St Paddy Day line up!

#15, by Su-yin (03/22/2010)

I am glad you liked the "kaya"!:-) Yours is so nice and bright green, hehe.

#16, by bake in paris (03/26/2010)

This is a very interesting recipe I would love to try. It looks appertizing and would love to have it with my toast for breakfast. Thanks for sharing!

Sawadee from Bangkok,

#17, by Kitchen Butterfly (04/02/2010)

I love the colour....and knowing that I'm not the only one who gets serious food cravings! Ha!