If you simmered coconut milk slowly over low heat, the milk would reduce to a thick cream and if you heat it further, it would ultimately separate into fragrant coconut oil and caramel brown crumbs called latik [lah-tik].  The coarse coconut milk crumbs add a rich toasted coconut flavor and a delightful crunch to Filipino sweet rice cakes called kakanin [kah-kah-nin] made of sticky rice or sticky rice flour.

Latik is typically sprinkled on top of rice cakes nestled in coconut oil-lined banana leaves but can also be an excellent topping for ice cream and other baked sweets.

Making Latik, makes around 4 ounces

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

Bring coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan and simmer gently over low heat while stirring frequently.  Continue to simmer until the milk reduces to a thick cream, about an hour.  Continue heating and stirring until the cream separates into coconut oil and latik.  Turn the heat off as soon as the crumbs turn a deep caramel brown color. Drain the coconut oil, which can be used for sautéing and baking. Latik will keep for a month stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


Latik Recipe

  • Marcus

    Sounds interesting. I can’t wait to incorporate it into some recipes. I know just the thing for it too.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thanks, Marcus. The flavor of toasted coconut is intense and the texture is really wonderful. Please do share when you get the chance to try it out.

  • http://whenadobometfeijoada.blogspot.com/ carolineadobo

    That spoon full of latik is begging to be eaten! Now I’m craving some kakanin, hope you’ll be posting one soon.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Carol. And yes, there’s a biko recipe coming up soon!

  • http://www.saffronlane.com Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane

    This is so interesting — I had no idea! I imagine low-fat coconut milk won’t produce the same results, right?
    Thanks again for another unique tidbit, Jun.

  • http://whisk-kid.blogspot.com/ Whisk Kid

    I love your blog because you always introduces me to new stuff. I have never heard of this and it sounds amazing. Very cool!

  • Chet

    Hi Jun, thanks for posting this. Did you get all this latik from just one can of coco milk? I tried it once and got only a bit of latik, not as much as your photo. I did get a lot of coconut oil though. Oh, coconut oil is not just for smearing banana leaves for the kakanin. You can also use coconut oil as suntan oil. (Not that Pinoys use it this way — we don’t really like to sunbathe.) That is, if you are comfortable with the coco fragrance. Also, before shampooing, you can put some coconut oil on your hair. In olden times, it was believed that coconut oil keeps hair from falling and from going grey prematurely.

  • http://www.skiptomalou.net skip to malou

    latik making is a hit and miss for me. I always get confused which brand of coconut milk to use. There are many out there that sounds and look lke Chaudoc… also this brand is not being carried by our neighborhood grocery store. But thanks for sharing Jun. Can’t wait for the kakanin.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Hi Chet, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I got about 4 ounces from a 14-ounce can of coconut milk. I would assume that the amount of oil and latik would depend on the cream and fat content of the coconut milk, which I would assume varies from brand to brand, or even from can to can. Which brand did you use?

    And yes, coconut oil has a lot of uses even outside the kitchen. It’s so versatile!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I know, I was telling Chet below that the amount of latik depends a lot on the cream and fat content of the coconut milk. I have been using Chaudoc a lot lately but other good brands to try are Chaukoh and Mae Ploy.

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thanks, Beth. You’re right. Low-fat coconut milk won’t produce the same results. The amount of coconut oil and crumbs you’d obtain depends on the cream and fat content of the coconut milk.

  • Lemonsandanchovies

    Jun, this post couldn’t have been timed better–for me, at least! I’ve been meaning to make maja blanca and of course it wouldn’t be the same without latik. You know, I actually didn’t know what it was called until this past Christmas when my mom made maja blanca (my favorite Filipino sweet). Now when I finally make it, I’ll have not only my mom but also your wonderful instructions to guide me. :-)

  • shirley

    Thanks for sharing. Would you give us some kakanin recipes that use latik as topping ?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thanks, Shirley. We’ll post a recipe for biko soon. Stay tuned!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thanks, Jean. I love maja blanca!! I’m anxiously waiting for your maja blanca recipe!!

  • Tangled Noodle

    Sweet! I just read your reply to Shirley about posting a recipe for biko which is my absolute, all-time, top-of-the-list kakanin!! (I love ‘em all but biko is always my first choice). I never got around to making latik since I haven’t made the sweet, sticky rice treats which go so well with it. Now, I’m determined to make it, if only to spoon it out of a jar and eat it straight! 8-)

  • http://twitter.com/gourmandeinthek Sylvie

    Wow, I would never have thought it would separate that way. I would have assumed that if cooked long enough you would end up with something similar to dulce de leche. The science of cooking always amazes me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lynne-Constantine-Johns/1161241549 Lynne Constantine-Johns

    Fascinating! About how long does it take you to achieve the separation? I’m assuming it would have to be over medium-low heat? Do you need to do any stirring at all?

    Thanks so much, these look so good..I’m thinking ice cream topping??

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, Lynne. Yes, I simmered the coconut milk over medium-to-low heat. It took me an hour to get a thick cream consistency and another hour to achieve separation to oil and crumbs. And I stirred frequently towards the end to keep it from burning.

    It’s great on ice cream. You should try it!

  • Anonymous

    Cool! Who knew it was that easy? At least, it looks easy! :)

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  • Diane

    I wonder could you cheat and just toast some coconut cream powder?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Hello Diane, coconut cream would work, too but I’ve never tried it. I guess the amount of coconut oil and crumbs would be more when you slowly simmer coconut cream.

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  • http://www.asianinamericamag.com BettyAnn fr Asianinamericamag

    Hi Jun, I came to revisit your old post on “latik” because I am going to try and make it now, as a topping for Maja Blanca Maiz. Your recipe makes it sound so easy. I hope I can measure up to your cooking prowess and my efforts result in Latik that’s as lovely as what you have here. Thanks for sharing and wish me luck ! Fingers crossed, knock on wood, here I go….

  • http://twitter.com/nella22 Marnely Rodriguez

    Wow, this is so interesting! Thanks for sharing, love the process pictures!

  • June

    which coconut milk did you use for this recipe? fresh or canned? i’m just wondering if canned coconut milk will be ended into latik :|

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    I used canned instead of fresh coconut milk, which is not available here in the States.  I suggest using the Chaokoh brand. I’ve had good results with this particular brand of coconut milk.

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  • Kip Hughes

    Can the coconut milk be substituted with coconut cream? If so, which is preferable?

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Yes, Kip. I actually prefer coconut cream when making latik. You get more when you use cream and cooking time is shorter.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005239026811 Maria DeLourdes

    Use the coconut oil for your hair treatment! The best

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