Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kaya Toast A.K.A. the Greatest Thing You'll Ever Eat

And thus Kevin's career as a hand model began...
The brightest star of my gastronomical zodiac is undoubtedly the Kaya toast from Susan Feniger's Street in Hollywood (thanks professional writer @bryanQmiller for the wordsmithing). My sister and brother-in-law wouldn't shut up about how amazing this odd sounding dish was. How could dipping toast smothered with coconut jam into a soy sauce glazed egg possibly be good? Skeptical, I dug in and then made a face and sound that probably rivaled the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally and surely made those around me uncomfortable. I had just eaten the greatest bite of food in my life, and my most delicious meal was just beginning. When I got my job in Houston, I made sure to have my going away dinner at Street because I didn't want to spend the next year regretting not tasting it again. But now, I sadly find myself 1500 miles away, so if I wanted to treat my taste buds to pure ecstasy again, I knew I'd have to make it myself (or wait until I visit my sister and her puppies ::hint make a reservation now, Erika::).

Kaya Toast
Adapted from
Time: 50 minutes

Coconut Jam

1 cup coconut milk, stirred well
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
3 eggs
3 egg yolks

Progression of the coconut jam. Naturally, I titled this picture: Dat's my jam!
Making custard is kind of like making a ganache.
  1. Mix the coconut milk with 1/2 cup of the sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Whisk the eggs, yolks and remaining sugar together in a medium stainless steel mixing bowl. 
  3. Add the coconut milk mixture and whisk together well to make the base for your jam.
  4. Place the stainless steel bowl on top of a pot with lightly simmering water and stir constantly with a rubber spatula to cook and thicken the jam.  This should take 15-20 minutes. You'll know you're done when the spatula leaves a lasting mark in the jam when you stir.
  5. Strain the jam into a bowl inside of a larger bowl containing ice water (but don't let the water in) and stir until the jam cools down. Set aside and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Jam in my fanciest tupperware.
It took every ounce of my self restraint to not devour the jam before the rest of the Kaya Toast was ready. The end result is delightfully sweet and has the perfect consistency. I did have to make a few changes to the recipe thanks to the lack of fine Asian ingredients in Texas stores. Originally, the recipe calls for pandan leaves, which I couldn't get a hold of, so I replaced them with the vanilla and some green food coloring, which provided a great and almost authentic substitute. Although, i would pass on the green food coloring next time, since its original color is a little more appetizing.

Weird putting J w/o the PB
Kaya Toast

Thick, dense bread (I used Texas Toast)
Salted butter, shaved
Coconut jam (see above)
2 eggs per sandwich made
Soy sauce (use dark if you can find it)
White pepper
Salted butter, shaved

  1. Toast one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Spread 1-2 tbsp of the jam onto the bread. 
  3. Add some butter shavings and close to make a sandwich. Cut into four to six pieces.
  4. Fry an egg in butter making sure to keep the yolk intact.
  5. Place the egg in a bowl and pour soy sauce over it.
  6. Sprinkle on a dash of white pepper.
  7. Dip the mini sandwiches into the egg yolk and declare Susan Feniger to be a genius.
Jam is messy. I went through three plates until I finally got something pretty enough to take a picture of.
Both Kevin and Alexis had that same skeptical look I once possessed when first encountering Kaya Toast. By the time they were each finished their second slice, I knew I had made believers out of them. As another great combination of salty and sweet, it will forever have my heart. It's almost like the world's greatest French toast where the crunch of the bread plays magnificently off the gooeyness of the jam and the egg yolk. I would say it's the perfect start to any meal, but it sets such a high standard that really things can only go downhill from there.

I still want to know how someone thought to pair these together. 
It's been over a month since I moved to Houston, but for a few incredible bites, it was like I had never left Los Angeles. Now, I will just anxiously await my return when I can complete the meal with other winning Street dishes like New Orleans Laundry Day Fritters and Nopales Rellenos (seriously, if you're ever in L.A. do yourself a favor and make your way to Street).

1 comment:

  1. There are plenty of Asian ingredients in Chinese markets in Chinatown. But it may be hard to find something you'd recognize in English. Soy sauce and coconut jam is still terrifying to me, but I'm intrigued.