Learn how to make dry latik with this easy one-ingredient recipe. This latik makes a perfect topping for many of your favorite Filipino kakanin. You can make this with coconut cream or coconut milk.
What is dry latik?
Latik is a Filipino term that refers to two different types of coconut-based by-product:
- Dry latik
- Latik syrup
What we are making today is the dry version which is also called Tagalog latik or coconut curds.
What do you need to make dry latik?
To make dry latik, you can use either coconut milk or coconut cream. What is the difference you ask?
Coconut cream is thick and rich. It contains pure coconut milk and less to no water. Thus, requires less cooking time to extract the coconut curds.
Coconut milk on the other hand has a thinner consistency containing coconut milk and a higher amount of water. Hence, it will take a while to reduce and produce coconut curds.
Tips on choosing the best canned coconut milk or cream
Freshly extracted coconut milk has the best flavor. There I said it!
But if you’re in the U.S. or in a non-tropical country, fresh coconut milk will definitely be hard to find. Thus, canned coconut milk/cream is obviously your best choice.
When buying canned coconut milk, always check the list of ingredients at the back level. It should, at the minimum, only have coconut milk and water. If it contains thickeners (e.g. xanthan gum, guar gum, or carrageenan) it will not work i.e. it will not curdle.
Yes, sadly, I’ve mistakenly use the wrong kind and it went straight to the bin after a few minutes of boiling.
Frequently asked questions
It should roughly take 30 minutes to 45 minutes to produce the coconut curds. This will vary depending on the amount and whether you’re using coconut milk or coconut cream. It will also need extra time if you prefer a darker color latik (not burned).
Once the coconut milk/cream starts to boil, lower the heat to medium to low heat. Stir steadily. Do not leave it unattended for more than 1 to 2 minutes.
The oil will start to appear once all the liquid/water has evaporated. The coconut curds will start to appear. It will be lightly colored then gradually turn to light brown, then to caramel brown then a little darker than caramel. The final stage is brown.
You can decide to stop cooking when it starts to turn into caramel brown which was I did or continue cooking until it’s brown. Completely your choice.
This latik can be use as a topping for these these Filipino kakanin:
How to make Latik (dry)
- 2 cups /16 oz coconut cream or coconut milk see note 1, 2 and 3
- Place coconut cream/milk in a pan. Turn on the stove and set heat to medium heat. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently. Do not leave it unattended for more than 2 minutes. Once the water has evaporated, the oil and the curds will start to appear. It will be lightly colored then gradually turn to light brown then to caramel brown You can decide to stop cooking at this point or continue cooking until it’s darkish brown depending on your preference. Note that this process will take around 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from heat and drain the oil using a mesh. Transfer the latik to a container. Sprinkle on top of your favorite kakanin.
- If using coconut milk, add 1/2 cup more to produce 1 cup latik.
- Coconut cream requires less cooking time to extract the coconut curds while coconut milk on the other hand takes longer as it contains a higher amount of water.
- When buying canned coconut milk/cream for latik, avoid using those that contain thickeners like xanthan gum, guar gum, or carrageenan. It will not curdle.
- Storage: You can make this in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight container and should last 4 days up to 1 week if stored properly.