Coconut milk is an opaque, milky-white liquid extracted from the grated pulp of mature coconuts. The opacity and rich taste of coconut milk is due to its high oil content, most of which is saturated fat. Coconut milk is a traditional food ingredient used in Southeast Asia, Oceania, South Asia, and East Africa. It is also used for cooking in the Caribbean, tropical Latin America, and West Africa, where coconuts were introduced during the colonial era.
Coconut milk is differentiated into subtypes based on fat content. They can be generalized into coconut cream (or thick coconut milk) with the highest amount of fat; coconut milk (or thin coconut milk) with a maximum of around 20% fat; and coconut skim milk with negligible amounts of fat. This terminology is not always followed in commercial coconut milk sold in western countries.
Coconut milk can also be used to produce milk substitutes. These products are not the same as regular coconut milk products which are meant for cooking, not drinking. A sweetened, processed, coconut milk product from Puerto Rico is also known as cream of coconut. It is used in many desserts and beverages like the piña colada, though it should not be confused with coconut cream.