Coconut milk is not the juice found inside a coconut, but the diluted cream pressed out from the thick, white flesh of a well-matured coconut. To make coconut milk, finely grated coconut meat is steeped in hot water until it is cool enough to handle. It is then squeezed until dry; the white fluid is strained to remove all the pulp. When allowed to sit for a while, the coconut cream (hua gkati) rises to the top. Commercially, coconut cream is obtained by pressing grated coconut flesh by itself without water, using a specialized, heavy piece of machinery.
It is ideal for puddings, desserts, rice cakes, exotic dishes such as curries, and beverages like the popular Pina Colada drink and other preparations needing varied concentrations of coconut milk.