Extracting Coco Cream & Coco Milk, & Making Latik

latikMy Principles in Food Preparation teacher in UP Diliman was the late Matilde P. Guzman. My sister and I, as well as her notable graduates such as Sylvia Reynoso-Gala and Nora Daza, all benefited from the basic food principles that she taught us.

Studying her manual, “Principles of Cooking,” was my life-line. I found a blog entry about Mrs. Guzman during her early days — and looking at the photos reminded me of Mom’s life in UP Diliman.

Remember that Coconut milk or cream can be used undiluted or diluted thick or thin by adding hot water to fresh grated coconut meat. The quantity of the cream extracted by a coconut depends on its size, and on the ripeness of the coconut meat.

As a rule, 1/2 cup undiluted cream can be obtained from a large mature coconut . It will also yield about 300 grams meat.

300 grams meat yields 4 cups grated coconut.

4 cups coconut yields 1/2 cup undiluted cream.

From Mrs. Guzman’s book:

This method of extracting coconut cream and milk for all recipes which call for coconut milk: Using two muslin bags (or sako sa harina) per coconut makes squeezing easy to get all the coconut flavor in the milk.

Prepare coco cream and coco milk as follows:

1. Place grated coconut (mature coconuts, not the buko juice type of coconut) into two muslin bags (that had been wrung out of hot water). Squeeze the coco cream without adding water (and this is called the “first press,”). Set aside for latik and oil.

2. For Coco Milk: Use 2 cups hot water for fractional extraction, i.e. divide the water into two or three portions and squeeze the coco milk with each portion of the warm water. Combine all extractions thus obtained.

Note: Now you understand why I call coco milk the second or more presses.

3. For Latik and Oil: Cook the coco cream in a saucepan to form the latik and oil. Regulate the heat towards the latter part of the cooking to prevent scorching of the latik. Latik should be a delicate golden yellow. Remove latik from the hot oil when this color is obtained.

Note: Latik is used for recipes like Biko.

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