Start Your Day Right with This Healthy Kaya!

“Kaya” in Malay means “Rich”, and is a very suitable name for this fragrant coconut egg jam due to its incredibly rich flavor. But is rich AND healthy kaya possible? Read on to find out!

Healthy Kaya - Jar of kaya jam with a spoon and kaya sandwiches on toasted bread

Image source: foodblogs.com

Many of us here in Southeast Asia enjoy our breakfast by spreading a thick layer of the custard-like jam paired with fragrant butter slices on a piece of toast, or by just simply dipping steamed bread into the rich goodness of kaya. The familiar texture, taste and warmth attached to this simple jam is a comfort food for many of us to start the day.

But like many jams out there in the market, kaya that is bought off-the-shelf is made with a lot of white sugar. Additionally, the numerous eggs and coconut milk added also results in a high fat spread (especially saturated fat). Not the healthiest start to the day.

Healthy Kaya - Toasted bread with thick kaya and butter slices with dish of half boiled eggs in the background

Image source: Serious Eats

But! There’s definitely a way to enjoy kaya without feeling worried.

We can make healthier kaya right at home with this simple recipe that won’t require you to stand at the stove for hours. Healthy and quick! The perfect recipe if you’re wanting to make yourself and your loved ones a better breakfast to start the day without sacrificing comfort and flavour.

Healthy Kaya - Pot of kaya being cooked with pandan leaves and wooden spoon

Image credit: Sabah Eats

This recipe calls for the substitution of regular white sugar with coconut sugar. As mentioned in our Pulut Hitam recipe, we also replace half of the total sugar with a natural sweetener, Stevia. Although coconut sugar is considered a healthier alternative as it has a lower glycemic level and extra minerals, it is still a form of sugar. On the other hand, Stevia maintains the overall sweetness of the dish, while cutting calories and simple sugar.

In addition, we used pumpkin puree to substitute the use of eggs! This means the kaya you’re making is completely vegan, and definitely lower in saturated fat and calories!

Wondering what the kaya tastes like? Here’s the recipe for you to make your own!

Healthy Kaya - Jar of pumpkin kaya with fresh pumpkin, pandan leaves, and white bread

Image source: Bake With Paws

Healthy Kaya Recipe

Yields 2 medium jars

Ingredients

1kg of steamed pumpkin flesh (skinned and pitted)
100g coconut sugar
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or to taste)
250ml coconut milk
3 blades pandan leaves, knotted

Method

Skin and pit the pumpkin and steam the flesh until it’s soft. Mash up into smaller pieces and place inside food blender.

Pour in all the coconut milk and blend until smooth.

Pour puree into a slow cooker, then add the coconut sugar and stevia. Tie the pandan leaves into a knot and place it in too.

Using the slow cooker, cook on high for 1 hour and on low for 2 hours till jam is thick and creamy. Remember to stir from time to time!

*As this recipe calls for less sugar, the kaya will be more sensitive to heat. Make sure to keep an eye on the heat and bring it down to low if you notice the kaya curdling (you may have to cook it for slightly longer).

Once cooked, let the kaya cool. It will continue to thicken a little as it cools. Store the kaya in air-tight jars once it’s cooled.

Healthy Kaya - Short jar of kaya and butter knife on tea towel and wooden platter with white bread slices in the background

Image source: mybizpeople.com

There you go! Healthy and home-made kaya for you and your loved ones to start the day better!

Want another healthy and effortless alternative to Kaya? Try our Pandan Coconut Nut Mix – combining the fragrant aroma of pandan with the coconut taste we all love – minus the refined sugar! Find them in the “Shop” tab above!

Sticky
June 16, 2017

A Healthy Pulut Hitam Recipe You’re Sure to Love!

For many Southeast Asians, the thought of pulut hitam evokes feelings of warmth, comfort…and unfortunately, some guilt. After all, pulut hitam is a dessert – and a rich, sweet one at that. But today we have for you a guilt-free, healthy pulut hitam recipe – read on to find out how to make it!

Healthy Pulut Hitam 1 - Bowl of pulut hitam drizzled with coconut milk with knotted pandan leaves

Image source: Nyonya Cooking

Try explaining what pulut hitam is to a foreigner and you’ll usually be faced with some uncertainty. After all, “black glutinous rice porridge”? Not the most appetizing name for a dessert.

But those familiar with pulut hitam will defend its deliciousness with pride. This dessert dates back to the Nyonya and Peranakan communities of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, although it can be found widely throughout Southeast Asia today. Made with black glutinous rice boiled into a soft, porridge consistency with flavourful Gula Melaka (palm sugar) and santan (thick coconut cream) mixed in, this dessert is hearty, slightly chewy, and fragrantly sweet.

Healthy Pulut Hitam - White bowl of pulut hitam and coconut milk with metal spoon on wooden table

Image source: Delishar

So, it may be delicious, but is it healthy? Yes..and no. Black glutinous rice itself is a whole grain, which means it has all the fiber and nutrients that other whole grains (e.g. brown rice, wholemeal bread, etc) have. In addition, black glutinous rice is also packed full of anthocyanins, the colour pigments which give the rice its beautiful dark purple-black colour. Anthocyanins are valuable antioxidants that can fight oxidative damage in the body.

Healthy Pulut Hitam - measuring cup full of raw black glutinous rice grains

Image source: Msihua

While it has its health benefits, cooking pulut hitam into a dessert adds sugar and an abundance of santan, which is high in calories and saturated fat.

So, how do we make a healthy pulut hitam?

This recipe substitutes the santan with regular coconut milk (the kind sold as a beverage or a milk alternative), which can be found in most grocery stores (check the refrigerated aisle). Regular coconut milk still has good coconutty flavour while being much lighter on the fat and calorie content.

In addition, the recipe replaces half of the Gula Melaka with a natural sweetener, Stevia. While Gula Melaka is a healthier alternative as far as sugar options go, it is still a sugar and can raise blood sugar levels rapidly when taken in excess. Stevia maintains the overall sweetness of the dessert, while cutting calories and simple sugar content.

The result? Pulut hitam with 42% less calories and 87% less fat than the original!

Excited to get started? Here’s the recipe!

Healthy Pulut Hitam - Bowl of pulut hitam with white spoon lifting the grains of black glutinous rice

Image source: Iron Chef Shellie

Healthy Pulut Hitam

400 g black glutinous rice
120 g Gula Melaka (palm sugar)
1 tbsp Stevia powder (or to taste)
10 cups water
6 pandan leaves, knotted

2 cups coconut milk
¼ tsp salt
2 pandan leaves, knotted

Method

Rinse glutinous rice and soak in large pot of water overnight (you can omit this step, but you’ll have to cook the rice for longer instead). Drain after soaking.

Bring the rice and 10 cups of water to a boil. Add pandan leaves and reduce heat to a simmer.

Simmer until rice has expanded and is soft but still chewy (about 1 hour), then add Gula Melaka and Stevia. Stir until melted.

Remove from heat and take out pandan leaves.

In a separate pan, heat coconut milk with pandan leaves and salt (do not allow to boil). Once warm and salt has dissolved, remove from heat and take out pandan leaves.

Ladle pulut hitam in a bowl, and drizzle coconut milk over the top to serve!

Healthy Pulut Hitam - Porcelain bowl of pulut hitam drizzled with coconut milk with black glutinous rice grains, pandan leaves, and sugar in the background

Image source: New Malaysian Kitchen

And there it is – a healthy pulut hitam recipe you (and your friends) are sure to love!

Want another healthy and effortless alternative to pulut hitam? Try our Pulut Hitam Cookies – delicious coconutty cookies that are completely free of butter and refined sugar! Find them in the “Shop” tab above!

Sticky
June 13, 2017

All Natural Healthy Bandung Recipe

Love your bandung but wish it were healthier? Read on for our very own Healthy Bandung recipe, made with all natural ingredients!

Healthy Bandung - Cup of pink sirap bandung with black straw

Image source: MY Magazine

At first glance, you may think that “bandung” originates from the city in Indonesia, Bandung – but it actually doesn’t! A Southeast Asian adaptation of the traditional Indian rosemilk, this bright pink street drink combines the floral fragrance of rose with the creaminess of condensed or evaporated milk to a very pleasing result. It is very popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei and is especially consumed during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Why so popular, you may ask? The answer is simple – it’s sweet, refreshing, and very suitable for the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia!

Healthy Bandung - Plastic cup of pink sirap bandung next to cup of another red coloured drink

Image source: 2 Hungry Guys

Let’s start with the main ingredient – the rose syrup! The rose syrup in a traditional bandung recipe is made from melting rose petals and sugar together. However, in our modern world tradition has given way to convenience, and bright red cordials made with artificial rose flavouring and food colouring is the predominant ingredient in bandung today. As you can imagine – artificial flavour, colour and simple sugars? Not the healthiest options.

 Healthy Bandung - Cup of red rose syrup surrounded by rose petals

Image source: Ambika’s Kitchen

To make things worse, the creaminess in bandung comes from adding condensed milk, which contains a lot of saturated fat and added sugars. Alternatively, calorie-watchers may opt for evaporated milk instead. Evaporated milk, while much lower in sugar than condensed milk, often has some form of vegetable fat (e.g. palm oil) added for extra creaminess, further increasing the saturated fat content of bandung.

 Healthy Bandung - Bowl with condensed milk and spoon on table close up

Image source: Stay at Home Mum

So, is healthy bandung possible? Yes! Our recipe uses natural rosewater instead of artificial rose cordial for that fresh floral scent. We replace the condensed milk with high calcium & low sugar soymilk, which adds creaminess, valuable calcium and protein while doing away with the cholesterol and saturated fat! Bonus: it’s suitable for people with lactose intolerance!

We use dates as a natural sweetener as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Lastly, we add fresh dragonfruit to give our bandung that characteristic pink colour, minus any artificial colourings! This bandung is completely natural, rich in vitamins & minerals…and absolutely delicious.

Healthy Bandung - All natural bandung made from soymilk, natural rosewater, dates, and red dragonfruit
Are you ready to try out our all-natural, refreshing bandung recipe? Here it is!

(Psst! Fun fact – Did you know that Bandung means “pairs” in the Malay language? What better way to share this refreshing drink than with your other “bandung”!)

Healthy Bandung

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

½ cup pitted dates, roughly chopped (adjust to sweetness preference)
¼ cup of water
1 ¼ cup (300 ml) soymilk – low sugar (or unsweetened) & high calcium
¾ teaspoon of natural rosewater
½ red dragon fruit

Method

  1. Put the dates and the ¼ cup of water into a small bowl for an hour to soak. Once the dates have softened, blend them with the soaking water, then strain the liquid.
  2. Blend the dragon fruit and strain it to remove the seeds.
  3. Combine and whisk together the remaining ingredients, with the date sweetened water and 3 tablespoons of dragon fruit juice.
  4. Place the drink in the fridge to chill overnight.

And it is that simple! Now you can enjoy an all-natural refreshing Bandung drink with lots of protein, vitamins and minerals!

Craving for other Bandung-inspired snacks? Try our Rose Macadamia Granola, made with 100% rose petals and packed with loads of superfoods and natural goodness! Find it in the “Shop” tab above!

Sticky
June 01, 2017