Buko Pandan is a type of dessert salad made out of young coconut strips, pandan jelly and sometimes sago pearl and nata de coco on a cream and condensed milk dressing. This desert from the Bohol province is considered one of the most popular Filipino dessert. In most Filipino gatherings or party this is usually a main stay as it is inexpensive and really easy to make.
There are two key ingredients to make this dessert and it is evident on its name, first is the buko which is the Tagalog word for young coconut and Pandan. I guess everyone knows what a buko is so let’s talk about this pandan. Pandan for those who does not know is a type of plant which looks like a thick grass, having its blades measuring an average of 8-15 inches used commonly as flavouring in Southeast Asian cuisines, for more info check this wiki entry. This plant is not just popular as a flavouring in dishes but also it is used to give a distinct aroma to bread and rice, imagine a mellow earthy vanilla scent, similar to how middle eastern and Indians use cinnamon to give an aromatic smell to their dishes.
- Pandan Gulaman (recipe below)
- 2 cups young coconut, shredded
- 2 cups cooked sago pearls
- 350 g green nata de coco
- 125 ml fresh cream, chilled
- 400 g sweetened condensed milk
- 3 drops pandan extract
- Crumb gulaman bars and place them in a pot together with coconut juice, let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Place pot in stove top and bring it to a boil, once boiling lower heat to medium and add sugar, continuously stir until the gulaman and sugar melts. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes in low heat.
- Turn heat off then add pandan extract. Using a fine mesh sieve strain gulaman into a flat rectangular non-stick container, let it cool down and set in the refrigerator.
- Once gulaman is hard and set, cut into small cubes then set it aside.
- Combine cubed gulaman, young coconut, sago pearls and nata de coco in a large bowl.
- In a mixing bowl whip fresh cream until thick then add then condensed milk and pandan extract, mix until well incorporated.
- Pour cream mixture into the coconut and gulaman, fold to distribute cream evenly. Chill before serving.