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Learn how easy it is to make Filipino latik from a can of coconut cream! These toasted coconut milk curds are the perfect sweet topping for Filipino desserts like Biko (sticky rice cake), Turon (Caramelized Banana Lumpia), and more.
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What is Latik?
Latik is a traditional Filipino topping used to add flavor and sweetness to popular street foods and local desserts. Depending on the region, there are two typical latik desserts: toasted coconut milk solids and a coconut caramel sauce. This recipe will teach you how to make toasted coconut milk curds, but if you are interested in a latik sauce recipe, make the coconut caramel sauce in our Suman Malagkit recipe!
It’s such an easy, delicious recipe, that you’re going to want to put it on every dessert for the foreseeable future!
Ingredients You’ll Need
You’ll just need ONE ingredient to make homemade latik – 1 (14-ounce) can of coconut cream (or coconut milk). Canned coconut milk will work too, but coconut cream is the preferred ingredient as it has less water and takes less time to evaporate.
How to Make Latik
- Bring the coconut cream or milk to a boil. In a medium-sized, non-stick pan over medium heat, add the entire can of coconut cream or milk (solids and liquids) and bring to a boil.
- Stir until the liquid evaporates. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid begins to evaporate and the coconut solids begin to form. Then, lower the heat and continue to cook.
- Continue stirring and scraping the sides to prevent burning. Once the coconut milk curds start to turn light brown and become more fragrant, stir more often to ensure even cooking and scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent burning. Continue this process until the curds turn golden brown.
- Drain the coconut milk curds. Using a fine-mesh sieve, immediately drain the golden brown curds from the remaining coconut oil and residual heat.
- Serve. Enjoy your coconut curds while warm as a topping or garnish on your favorite Filipino desserts!
Sweet coconut latik is traditionally served warm or room temperature on top of a variety of desserts like Biko, Maja Blanca, Turon (Banana Lumpia), Suman Malagkit (Filipino Steamed Rice Cakes), Sapin-Sapin, Ube Halaya, or Banana Cue. You can even serve latik on a scoop of vanilla ice cream or any dessert that could use a sweet, toasted coconut flavor. Simply sprinkle the latik on top or drizzle it on using a spoon and dig in!
We haven’t tried it, but theoretically, it should work. Note that coconut milk contains more excess liquid compared to coconut cream so it will take longer for the liquids to evaporate.
Yes! Latik is naturally vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, and oil-free.
These toasted coconut milk curds can be used as a dip, but latik sauce is more commonly used as a dip because it is the consistency of syrup or caramel.
Coconut latik has a slightly chewy, creamy texture with a rich, concentrated coconut flavor. Plus, the toasting process adds a slightly caramelized taste that makes the topping sweet.
Tips for Success
- Choose a quality can of coconut cream. Since the only ingredient in this Filipino recipe is coconut cream, it is important to use a coconut cream that is not grainy or inconsistent in texture. In our recipe testing, we’ve had good success using the brand Thai Kitchen.
- Use a non-stick pan. A non-stick pan will help prevent the coconut curds from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. We love our non-stick Caraway cookware.
- Turn down the heat, if necessary. The hardest part of making Latik is being patient and giving the coconut cream enough time to properly separate from the oil and form chewy, toasted coconut milk curds. Try not to rush the process and reduce the heat if it begins to stick or brown too quickly.
Leftover latik can be transferred to an airtight container such as a glass mason jar and be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply place the coconut latik back in a saucepan over lower heat on the stovetop and gently stir until heated through. Alternatively, the latik can be microwaved in short 15-second intervals until warm and your desired consistency.