Latik is a ingredient in the Philippines mainly used as a topping in rice cakes, made with coconut milk and/or cream reduced and rendered until it forms into curds.
Latik is an ingredient used mostly to garnish Filipino rice cakes like ube halaya, biko, maja blanca and sapin sapin prepared by simmering coconut milk until is reduced and separates into oil and fragrant curds. Latik in Visayas means differently and is usually referred to as the sweet syrup made by simmering coconut milk and sugar together, like the curd version this latik is also enjoyed in rice cakes as a topping like what is used on suman.
I remember my grandmother used to make this almost every day as she prepares rice cakes almost every merienda, the scent of this while simmering is very pleasant and quite addictive. During these times latik is made with fresh coconut milk, grated at home and pressed with hands after coconut meat is soaked in hot water. Today it is quite easy and all you need is a good quality coconut milk in can or in box, while it’s not as good as the fresh ones, it does the same job.
Pour coconut cream in a pot then simmer in medium heat until it boils. Continue to boil until it renders oil, lower heat and gently fry the curds until golden brown, make sure to constantly stir it so it does not burn.
Once you have a clear oil and golden-brown curds, using a sieve separate them together. The residue are curds or “latik” and the oil is coconut oil, set the oil aside as this can be used in many different ways.