Saturday, June 07, 2008

Colourful kuehs and the kaya

Sometime in May, Eastcoastlife graciously took time off to show me around Katong and Geylang area.

While we were at Kim Choo Kueh Chang - Restaurant/ Gallery, I noticed there were colourful kuehs that are for sale. For folks with a sweet tooth, these colourful cakes would surely bring delight to the palate.

I read from Tan Gek Suan's Gateway to Peranakan Food Culture that the Peranakans would use natural ingredients to colour their kuehs. For example, they extract yellow colour from turmeric, green from screwpine (pandan) leaves, and red from annatto seeds. Somehow, the colours make the cakes look very appetizing.

As for the green colour looking kaya, it is a kind of jam made from coconut milk and chicken eggs, flavoured by pandan leaf. For those who would like to try to make Nonya Kaya on their own, I came across the following recipes:
- Nonya Kaya, by thelazychef
- Nonya Kaya, by Sing Yin @ Serene

From what I gathered, many Hainanese coffeeshops also sells kaya, and I am aware that Hainanese chefs were employed by the Peranakan households to help with the cooking. I don't remember seeing kaya as a traditional Hainanese jam while I was visiting Hainan. Could it be that the Hainanese had learnt the making of kaya when they came to the Southeast Asia region, perhaps from the Peranakans? Would anyone be able to lend me some clues?


Doreen said...

I love roti kahwin (kaya and butter on toast). yum yum yum! Somehow I prefer the orange colour kaya though the green one smells nicer. I guess it's the memory thing as I had the orange one through out my childhood.

oceanskies79 said...

I suppose memories have strong influence on one's preferences.