Coconut milk, once used primarily in East Asian cuisine, is increasingly prevalent among mainstream American dishes. Coconuts contain a small amount of liquid in the center which is coconut water, although this liquid is easily mistaken for coconut milk. Coconut milk comes from simmering freshly shredded coconut and straining the meat. The result is a thick and creamy liquid that is slightly sweet. Boiled coconut milk is the primary ingredient for everything from coconut custard to coconut chicken dishes.
Place the pot of coconut milk on the stove set on high heat.
Stir the coconut milk continuously as it's close to the boiling point. Like many thick liquids, coconut milk will develop a layer of skin on the surface without continuous stirring.
Stir in any additional ingredients, like rice or sugar, once the coconut milk boils.
Turn off the stove and continue stirring while the coconut milk cools. Stirring prevents a rubbery layer of skin from forming on the surface.
Don't confuse coconut milk with cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is coconut milk already mixed with sugar. Substituting one for the other will leave your dish overly sweet.