How to Make Kaya Bread and Butter Pudding

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They say necessity is the mother of invention and that’s kind of how “Breakfast Roti” – one of the signature menu items at my markets, came about. For the uninitiated, it consists of Roti Canai (Malaysian flaky pancake) served with Kaya (Pandan and Coconut Jam). Fun fact – “Breakfast Roti” ie. “Roti Canai Kaya” isn’t what we Malaysians typically eat for breakfast (or anytime, really – you might see it occasionally on some random menu but it isn’t a “thing” in Malaysia) – I had introduced it thanks to Aussies finding my original breakfast offerings of Nasi Lemak and Laksa a little bit too spicy for their constitution first thing in the morning.

Nonetheless, my Kaya made enough of an impression that before long, people were asking to buy it by the tub. Invariably the realisation would set in that roti canai isn’t readily available at your typical Australian supermarket, so they’d then come back to me for suggestions on what to do with that tub of Kaya sitting in their fridge. I used to tell them to spread it on buttered toast – which in fact is pretty much all we do with it in Malaysia, but of course, you could drizzle it over pancakes and crumpets etc. as well.

Well, when Singaporean chef extraordinaire Madam Tan was in Sydney awhile back, we had something of a mini brainstorming session on fusion ideas – and giving traditional bread and butter pudding a special Malaysian twist by using Kaya instead of custard was one of her suggestions.

I’m a big proponent of the “agak-agak” (guesstimate) school of cooking so when I went on The Travel Bug to do a couple of cooking segments with the show’s host Morgan Burrett, I pretty much threw a few things together for Kaya Bread and Butter Pudding. Thankfully it turned out very well, or at least Morgan seemed to enjoy it.

So here’s the recipe if you want to give it a shot at home; whilst I do sell homemade Kaya at my stalls and online, you could just as easily use one off the shelf – the Dollee brand Kaya used in the show works a treat in this recipe.

Serves 6 – 8


40 g (1/4 cup) sultanas

80 ml (1/3 cup) hot water

50 g softened butter, divided

400 ml (1 can) coconut cream

4 large eggs

pinch sea salt

10 thick slices soft fruit bread

250 ml (1 cup) Kaya Jam, divided, plus extra to serve

1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar


Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Soak sultanas in hot water until plump, about 5 minutes. Rub half the butter across base and sides of a 22×33 cm baking dish.

Whisk coconut cream, eggs and salt until well combined. Drain sultanas and whisk soaking liquid into coconut mixture.

Coat bread slices in coconut mixture and layer in buttered dish, adding a spoonful of kaya jam and some sultanas between each slice.

Pour any lingering coconut mixture over bread. Spoon remaining kaya over the top, dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature with a bit of extra kaya drizzled over the top.

Notes: Recipe can be halved and prepared in a square 20 cm cake tin.

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