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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Azalina Eusope Stirs, and Stirs, Her First Batch of Kaya

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 12:09 PM


Kaya, which means "rich" in Malay, is the dulce de leche of the coconut, a caramelized coconut-milk jam that Malaysian spread on toast, fill buns and rice cakes with, and drizzle over crepes. "Kaya is used for anything that in the United States that you put lemon

curd or jam on," says Azalina Eusope, owner of Azalina's (and the Azalina's Lacy Crepes stand, which used to appear at the Alemany farmers' market).

Kaya is also tricky to find in the United States, as SFoodie discovered a few months ago when we went hunting for it. Which is why, when we spotted a tub at the Haight Whole Foods, we immediately picked it up. When we called up Eusope to ask her about the kaya, it turned out this was her inaugural batch.

Kukoq nyoq, or coconut grater. - AZALINA EUSOPE
  • Azalina Eusope
  • Kukoq nyoq, or coconut grater.

Eusope began by grating coconuts on a kukoq nyoq, then making two batches of coconut milk (the first thick and creamy, the second thinner), which she combined and cooked down with palm sugar for five hours. "I stood there stirring and stirring just to make sure the jam didn't burn," she says. When the flavor and color reached the right point, she added in egg yolks to thicken the kaya further. (Commercial kaya producers use flour, Eusope says, but she didn't like the taste.)

Azalina's kaya is as delicate as it is kaya, and the flavors of coconut and palm sugar remain true even as they have concentrated and caramelized. It's a beautiful spread for toasted brioche or for drizzling on ice cream or crepes. SFoodie has eaten kaya flavored with pandan/screwpine, and Eusope says if the plain variety sells well she may introduce saffron-flavored kaya as well. For the moment, Azalina's kaya (along with her peanut sauce and star-anise curry) is only available at the Haight Street Whole Foods (690 Stanyan), though she's talking to distributors and plans on serving the jam over banana fritters when the Azalina's Lacy Crepes stand returns to Off the Grid Fort Mason.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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