Buko Pandan salad is a Filipino cold dessert from young coconut meat and Pandan leaves that is very easy to make. It is really popular in the Philippines specially when the summer time comes as a way of cooling down from the heat just like with our famous Halo-halo. My Papa loves this dessert and would ask me to make some for him from time to time, it is like a local ice cream but it does not have to be frozen to be enjoyed, although some prefer it like that.
Screwpine (or locally known as Pandan) leaves are used for natural flavoring, although Pandan essence will do if the leaves are not easily available. But to be honest, it is not the same. Somehow you can distinguish the ‘fakey’ taste of the bottled essence. Back home it is easy to get Pandan leaves as they grow almost anywhere in the Philippines. I used to ask our neighbors for some leaves when I want to make this dessert, and she would give me really a lot… probably because she would not know what to do with all of them growing in her garden.
I would boil the Pandan leaves in coconut juice and will use the liquid for making the gelatin. Although the water will turn a bit greenish from boiling the Pandan with it, it is not enough though to make it aesthetically appetizing so I would add some green food coloring…just a tiny bit to enhance the color. Aside from the coconut and Pandan leaves, sweetened condensed milk and all-purpose cream or whipping cream are added. I also add some tiny tapioca pearls although that is optional but I like them because… I do not know…I just like them, they are so cute…haha..Armin compares them though to fish eggs, same texture he says. It never crossed my mind until he mentioned it. But I still like them.
- 2 cups coconut meat, shredded into strips
- 6-8 Pandan leaves
- 3 cups coconut juice
- 2 pouch powdered gelatin (Knox or Alsa), use green if available
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 250 ml all-pupose cream /table cream/ whipping cream
- 1 cup cooked tapioca pearls
- Dissolve the gelatin in 3 cups of coconut juice. Add the pandan leaves and sugar and bring it to boil while stirring constantly. Pour into mould and let cool to set. You may place it in the fridge to fasten the process. Once ready, cut the gelatin into cubes.
- In a big bowl, combine coconut trips and tapioca pearls. Add the sweetened condense milk and mix. Add the green gelatin cubes and mix gently.
- Whip the cream into stiff peaks and gently fold it into the mixture. Cover bowl and leave it in the fridge to chill or transfer to another container if planning to freeze.