One of the perks of being a Research and Development chef is going on tastings at other restaurants. When I was a part of an R&D team several years ago, my fellow colleague and I decided to spend a day visiting several restaurants to garner some inspiration. One of the restaurants we wanted to try was Susan Feniger's The Street. Unfortunately, it was closed when we went. It took a year but I made another attempt during opening hours and was finally able to taste her famous kaya toast with an egg. This dish is the one that everyone goes to The Street for. Imagine toast sandwiched with coconut jam and served with a fried egg in soy sauce...a match made in heaven. Here is my recreation of the delicious snack.
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar divided
- 8 fresh pandan leaves washed and tied into a knot (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 8 slices challah
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 4 soft fried eggs
- 1-2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- pinch of white pepper
- Prepare the coconut jam. Combine coconut milk with ¼ cup sugar and pandan leaves in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, keeping the pandan leaves submerged. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Drain milk, discarding pandan leaves.
- Whisk together egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a medium stainless steel mixing bowl. Slowly add the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water and cook the custard until it thickens, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and strain custard through a fine sieve. Cover and let cool.
- Spread coconut jam on half of the bread slices and top with another slice of bread. Melt butter in a nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the sandwiches and cook until golden brown about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove from heat and cut in half.
- Drizzle the soft fried eggs with dark soy sauce. Season with a pinch of white pepper. Serve with kaya toast.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
What is kaya toast? It's a popular Malaysian snack, that can also be found in Singapore, consisting of coconut jam (kaya) spread on toast. You can enjoy it by itself or with a soft fried egg.
To make the coconut jam, first, simmer the coconut milk with sugar and pandan leaves. Pandan leaves are a type of edible plant with strong vanilla, almond, and coconut flavors. It can be difficult to find so if you can't seem to locate it, just omit it from the recipe. Alternatively, you can use pandan extract but like all extracts, it is very strong. You'll only need one or two drops for the kaya jam.
Slowly add the warm milk to the egg yolks and sugar, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Heat the mixture over a double boiler and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes or until thick. Although kaya means coconut jam, the addition of eggs makes it more like a custard.
Strain the jam through to a sieve to remove any lumps and let it cool completely. You can also make the kaya up to one week in advance.
Now it's time to assemble the toast. Spread the jam on one side of sliced bread and top with another slice to create a sandwich. Melt butter over low heat in a saute pan and or griddle and cook the sandwiches until golden brown on both sides. Top the toast with soft fried eggs, a drizzle of dark soy sauce, and a dash of white pepper.
I'll be frank. This version of kaya toast tasted exactly like the one from Susan Feniger's restaurant! Even though I didn't have pandan, the jam was still sweet with the perfect amount of coconut. The best part? Dunking the toast in the runny egg. Now, this is a true breakfast of champions!
For more toast inspiration check out this Mediterranean breakfast toast!