Asian shaved ice is usually a pile of very finely shaved, snow-like ice topped with fresh fruit, bean pastes, glutinous rice balls, peanuts or other toppings and finished with a thick pour of condensed milk. This is a slightly lighter at-home version that uses cooked down coconut milk for the condensed milk.
Unfortunately, the ice component requires an ice-shaving machine or high-powered blender if you really want to do this right. Using the “ice crush” setting on my Blendtec yielded extremely fluffy ice–just be sure not to overprocess it (or it will turn into a giant ice block) and use it right away, because it melts quickly. I’ve read that some Asian vendors use “milk ice” to get a finer consistency–if you just have a decent-quality blender, you might try freezing some milk (any kind) in an ice cube tray and blending a combination of milk cubes and regular ice cubes. —Erika
Coconut condensed milk:
15-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
brown sugar (more to taste)
Chopped fruit (mango, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, etc.)
Ice cream (optional--fruit sorbets are popular, as are regular ice creams like green tea and salted caramel)
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together the coconut milk and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, or until mixture has reduced by half.
Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in vanilla and salt.
In a high-powered blender or ice shaving machine, pulverize a few cups of ice until very finely ground (I used the “ice crush” setting on my Blendtec--be careful not to overprocess or the ice will start to clump together again. Stop when it reaches the texture of snow).
Immediately add ice to a bowl, top with fruit, several spoonfuls of condensed milk and ice cream if you like.