Butter Just Got Better
Over the last few years, the definition of butter has kind of extended itself in myriad directions especially in the domain of “flavours”. The simple, non – pretentious butter comes in multiple avatars now. Some spiced with condiments, some with aromatics, and some vegan (I don’t get how that is butter, but well, to each his own!).
Nevertheless, at one of the restaurants I worked in, we had a Philippino-Nepali sous-chef, who was absolutely brilliant at what he did. One day as a breakfast treat, he decided to whip us up a beautiful feast. And, that is when, I first got to know of the existence of kaya butter, or kaya jam. It was the most beautiful jam I ever tasted. Subtle flavours, and yet an extremely robust accompaniment, makes it my most favourite in the whole wide world!
I prefer to call it butter, because it is. It’s decadent, it’s smooth and it just makes breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or brunch), so much better! It’s not really butter though. Truth is, it is known as kaya jam in most of South-East Asia. Made with really raw and pocket friendly ingredients, this is a fabulous accompaniment as a dip, a spread, a filling, or even a marinade.
As mentioned earlier, over South-East Asia, this is known as Kaya Jam, but the smooth, buttery texture of it, makes me want to go the JamYung way (the sous chef who inspired this post), and call it butter.
But on second thoughts, this is more of a jam, but again, it’s smoother and more versatile. Let’s just say, I am calling it a jam to meet the international standards. I am also calling it a butter to meet my loyalties to my sous chef. So, well, it could be both, or either, but it sure makes a stupendous accompaniment.
So, then I thought, what could be better than a decadent breakfast of kaya jam (butter) stuffed French toast? In my knowledge, nothing! So here goes, my recipe for the most amazing breakfast ever.
For the Kaya Jam (Butter)
Egg yolks – 2 nos (save the whites)
Palm sugar – 1/2 cup
Granulated white sugar – 1/2 cup
Coconut milk (first extract) – 1 1/4th cup
Cinnamon powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
- First in a big pot, add some water to 3/4th level, and let it come to a boil. Once boiled reduce the flame and let it simmer.
- While the water boils, in an oven proof bowl/ pan, combine the sugar, palm sugar, salt and coconut milk.
- In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks. Don’t go overboard, they just need to form a cleanly whisked bowl of eggs, no foam or bubbles. (All of this happens while the water in your pot boils.)
- Now Take the bowl of sugar and coconut milk, and let it heat in a bain marine kind of setting. Keep stirring with love (not vigorously), but constantly.
- Once the mixture has come to a boil and all the sugars have dissolved, take it out and set aside. (Make sure the pot of water is still simmering).
- Now take a ladle full of the coconut milk and sugar mixture, and add it to the egg yolks, whisking it like there is no tomorrow. Do this a couple more times.
- Now add the egg yolk mixture to the leftover coconut milk and sugar mix, and on a bain marine cook it, constantly stirring, until thick, not curdled, just thick, like a custard (about 10 to 12 minutes).
- Once that is done, take the bowl out of the bain marine, and let it cool.
- Kaya jam is done!
Now for the tastiest French Toast.
The kaya butter of course!
Sliced baguette – 2 slices, per toast
Egg whites – those remaining from the yolks for the butter
Egg – 1 whole
Butter – 2 tbsp (regular salted butter)
Coconut milk – 4 tbsp
Pinch of salt
Sugar – 1tbsp
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Bacon – 2 slices per toast
- In a bowl, whisk the egg whites, the whole egg, the salt and the sugar, until the sugar dissolves.
- Whisk in the coconut milk and vanilla essence.
- In a really hot pan, crisp up the strips of bacon and set aside.
- Spread the kaya butter generously on two of the baguette slices (on one side each of course.).
- Now, lay on 2 strips of bacon on one slice (the buttered side) and cover with the other slice (again, buttered side down). Press firmly. Set aside. Repeat the process for the rest of the toasts.
- In the pan that you crisped the bacon, add 2 tbsp of butter (again, the regular salted one) per toast. Let the butter melt (on a low flame).
- While the butter melts, take your bowl of the egg mix, and dunk one of the kaya and bacon sandwiches in it. Coat it well with the mixture and transfer it on to the pan with the melted butter.
- Turn up the heat to medium, cover and cook for about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Then flip (the sandwich, not the pan).
- Again, cover and cook for about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Done. Repeat the process with the other sandwiches, and you have the most delicious breakfast ever. Serve with sour cream and any fruit that you have at home.
- This jam/ butter requires patience, so please do not try any short–cuts. Because trust me if there was one, I’d be the first to tell you.
- A bain marine is a simple homemade apparatus, which has a thick bottomed utensil, with regular water in it. Over this pan, we put an oven proof dish that covers the rim of utensil with the water. In the oven proof dish, we add the ingredients, and cook as per directions (once the water in the thick bottomed utensil has come to a boil and started to give out steam.).
- Remember, this method is usually used to cook ingredients that tend to burn really fast (before they actually reach their cooking point). Always make sure, the oven proof vessel, doesn’t touch the water in the utensil, it is placed over. It is the steam from the boiling water in the utensil, that helps cook. Handle with care, because the oven proof utensil can get pretty hot, owing to the steam.
- Instead of the bacon, you can use anything salty, like cheese. Just skip the step of frying the bacon and carry on with the rest of the recipe.
- You can also use a drizzle of honey on the toast, if you like it sweeter.
- The kaya butter/ jam can be stored refrigerated in an air-tight jar for almost a week and a half.
- You can use the jam as a marinade for chicken wings, lamb racks and a whole world of things, with just a little bit of creativity.
So, there we go, a butter with a twist, that will lead to a breakfast with a twist and that will leave a big smile on your face and on the faces of those you make it for. And the best part is, you can make the jam in advance, so that is one thing out of the way. I know I help you with ideas, so it’s only fair that you follow me on Instagram, Facebook and of course follow my blogs. Leave a comment if you are looking for something specific, or have any doubts, ideas or suggestions. I’d be more than happy to oblige. So, see you soon!