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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- If mixture is lumpy, whisk it with an electric handheld beater in the pot, giving you a smooth texture.
- Let it cool and keep it in a air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- To serve: spread the pandan-egg jam on a slice of bread alone or with butter.
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.
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.