Coconut milk is used in all types of Asian cooking, mainly in curries, soups and desserts. All over Asia and particularly in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, little old ladies are found in dimly lit kitchens grating fresh coconut meat into large tubs and squeezing it with water to produce fresh coconut milk.
In the West, we obviously don’t have the luxury of time to produce such delicious freshness in most cases so settle for the canned versions of coconut milk. A large variety of coconut milk can be found in Western markets these days, which include brands from Thailand, Vietnam and even Cuban companies based in Miami. Any of them are acceptable to use in Asian cooking.
However, do not confuse coconut milk with those that have the sweetened coconut shreds or grated coconut in cans or plastic packages. In many Asian markets, coconut milk is also sold frozen in plastic bags, also an acceptable version. Whatever version you use, make sure it is a pure form that is unsweetened and unsalted.