You've Probably Been Sleeping On Coconut Jam

Jam is great for jazzing up a morning bagel, enhancing charcuterie boards, and filling out decadent pastries. When most people imagine of jar of sweet, tangy jam they think of mashed berries or figs, but the wonderful world of jam is far more expansive than one might think.

Although it's not a common or widely-known variety, coconut jam is a smooth, versatile condiment that will add a refreshing flair to your lineup of fruit-based jams. Also called kaya, coconut jam is similar to custard and made with a simple combination of full-fat coconut milk, sugar, salt, egg yolks, and traditionally, pandan – a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia that lends to the jam's earthy color.

Kaya jam is popular across Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore and is found high and low throughout the region's cafes, restaurants, and local markets. It boasts a sweet, luxurious flavor profile that's complemented by a subtle herbaceous aroma that works well with both sweet and savory recipes.

How to make and use coconut jam

Although it's not commonly found in the United States, coconut jam is easy to make at home. Combine full-fat coconut milk, palm sugar, white sugar, and a pinch of salt in your favorite stovetop pot and simmer over medium-low heat. Then, whisk together your egg yolks before slowly adding your simmered coconut milk mixture to the eggs. Return the mixture to the pot over medium-low heat and stir until the kaya jam is thick in consistency. If pandan isn't available at your local grocery store, vanilla extract is a common substitute. Once the jam has thickened, transfer it to a jar and let it cool in the refrigerator for a few hours before enjoying it with your favorite recipes!

If you want to craft a little something sweet with your homemade kaya jam, use it as a topping for coconut-crusted cheesecake or drizzle it atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream. For an everyday snack, you can use kaya as a toast spread or for a Malaysian-inspired variation of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hosting a party? Pair it with multigrain crackers, salami, and Havarti cheese for a charcuterie-inspired spread that will impress all of your guests. If you're saving it for something savory, use kaya jam as a garnish for filet, baked chicken, or even to mellow out a meal that's a bit too spicy.