Recently, I’ve written a blog post about the differences between Singapore-style and German-style breakfast eggs. While I was doing my research on kaya toast and eggs, I was amazed by the heavenly combination of taste when the kaya toast comes together with kaya, butter and eggs. I found the simplicity of ingredients and flavours so beautiful. And because kaya toast is so readily available in Singapore, we as Singaporeans sometimes forget how delicious this Singaporean (or Malaysian) breakfast item could taste.
It’s A Heavenly Combo
The three main components to this simple yet perfect breakfast set
The prices of each breakfast set (including coffee or tea) range from $3 to $4.80. It can be rather costly considering that the ingredients like bread, kaya and eggs are relatively cheap in Singapore. Thus, I felt that it is better to prepare them at home. Besides, it is not difficult to prepare your own kaya toast at home as it doesn’t require much of a skill. However, there are several tips and tricks to make a perfect kaya toast.
How to make the Perfect Kaya toast and Half-boiled eggs
I’ve eaten kaya toast for the past 30 years of my life (not every day) but qualified enough to differentiate a good kaya toast from a not-so-good one.
The ideal kaya toast is one which is done traditionally where the white bread (without the crust) are grilled over a charcoal stove. The toast should be slightly charred, revealing the brown toasty grilled marks. The charred taste of the bread is essentially what makes the toast so tasty and fragrant.
But these days, most of us just toast our bread using the oven or bread toaster. It is perfectly fine but it lacked that charred taste. If you do not own a charcoal grill (which most of us don’t), you can also grill the toast with a pair of tongs over the gas stove. I’ve tried that and it works! However, it is difficult to grill it evenly. But at least, there’s a charred taste to it.
Once the toast is nice and crisp, spread a generous layer of kaya on one side of the toast and a thin slab of cold butter on the other side. The warmth from the toast will melt the butter so that butter would eventually spread out quite evenly.
It takes hours to make your own kaya (or coconut jam) using coconut milk, eggs, sugar and pandan leaves. But it is worth a try if you have some time to spare. Otherwise, you can always buy a bottle of kaya from any supermarkets or bakeries for a few bucks. The Hainanese kaya from Toast Box is not too bad. I bought mine from a neighbourhood bakery.
There are two types of kaya – Pandan Kaya (greenish) and Hainanese kaya (brownish). Pandan Kaya is made with purely pandan essence and the basic kaya ingredients. The Hainanese kaya, on the other hand, has caramelised sugar syrup mixed into it. In my opinion, both types of kaya are equally fragrant and differ only slightly in favour. If you love the natural light flavour of Pandan, you should go with Pandan Kaya. If you prefer a more intense flavour, choose Hainanese kaya.
Cooking eggs are easy but it is slightly more challenging to achieve a well-cooked half-boiled eggs. Like cooking poaching eggs, it requires some practice.
The best way of preparing half-boiled eggs is to bring the tap water to a boil. Once the water is boiling hot, turn off the heat and slowly immerse the eggs into it. Try to use room temperature cooks so that the eggs can be cooked evenly. Cover the pot with the lid and leave the eggs there for 8 minutes.
After 8 minutes, quickly scoop out the eggs and crack it open into a dish or bowl. If it is too hot, you can cool it for a short while in tap water before cracking it open.
The egg whites and yolk should be runny so that you can dip your toast into it. When I was much younger, I used to slurp the half-boiled eggs from a bowl – just like how you would drink a glass of milk.
Don’t forget to season the eggs with a dash of dark soya sauce and white pepper. Then mix everything up with a teaspoon.
Singapore-style (or Nanyang) coffee (Kopi) tastes different from western coffee. To achieve that local flavour, you will need to roast the coffee beans over charcoal for that strong robust flavour. It’s pretty unique I must say. And we would usually serve the coffee with a spoonful of condensed milk. The sweetness from the condensed milk beautifully blends in with the roasted flavour of the Kopi.
The Art of Eating Kaya Toast
Finally, we have come to talk about the art of eating kaya toast. To fully appreciate and experience the true flavours of this dish, you will need to it like the way the locals do. First, bite into the toast and enjoy the sweet flavours of kaya mixed with the melted butter. To enhance the flavours, you can use salted butter or sprinkle some salt over the butter slices. I always get overwhelmed with the rich flavours of the kaya and butter. It might not be the healthiest breakfast item to indulge in the morning but it is very satisfying and fulfilling to have it for breakfast as a snack.
Once you have savoured the goodness of the toast, the next step is to pair the toast with the half-boiled eggs. Simply dip the toast into the egg mixture and take a big bite of the toast. You will be sent straight up to heaven with this heavenly combo of flavours.
I have personally met anyone who dislikes kaya toast. In fact, Kaya toast is one of the local dishes which is very palatable and acceptable by many. So, how could you not have kaya toast when you are in Singapore?
Thankfully, this dish is easy to prepare and you can even make your own kaya toast in any part of the world which has coconut milk, pandan and eggs.
These days, such simplicity in flavours aroused me. I truly hope to hone my kaya toast making skills and bring it up to the next level. I heard kaya goes well with cream cheese too. Have you tried it?