I’m starting a new personal challenge today — I’m pushing myself to work through a list of frequently served dishes for the Christmas (and New Year) holidays. I figured that with the Christmas season starting in September in the Philippines (the longest in the world!), it would be neat to showcase the usual dishes that show up on the holiday menu. The first thing that I’m crossing off my list is the easy-peasy, Buko Pandan.
Buko pandan is a Filipino dessert that is made of shredded coconut, pandan (screw pine) flavored jelly, and lots and lots of cream. It’s really simple to make and the color blends nicely with the seasonal reds and greens. Despite being a standby on the Christmas table, buko pandan is a popular summer favorite, too.
Strictly speaking, buko pandan can refer to anything that uses coconut and pandan in its preparation, be it a salad, a drink, or a cake. You can find just about any iteration of this in the Philippines. So far, I’ve had a buko pandan salad, a buko pandan ice cream, a buko pandan drink, and a buko pandan popsicle (you get the drift hehe). I have yet to eat the cake version of buko pandan.
Anyway, the recipe that I’m posting below is a scaled down version of the one that I made last August when I was back in the Philippines. I’m not sure if it’s the same where you are, but shredded young coconut does not come by easily or cheaply here in Singapore. I had to order the coconut grater on the Internet and the price of 1 coconut from the grocery is more than the price of 1 kilo of the coconut meat back home. To top it all off, I had to buy 5 coconuts. 😭
For those shredding their own coconuts, choose a young coconut with meat that is neither too soft (almost translucent) nor too hard (firm and opaque). The former will produce a watery and mushy buko pandan while the latter will be difficult to shred and tough to chew. Save the coconut water (about 6 cups) for the jelly later.
I’m so lucky that the Filipino stores here sell pandan flavored gulaman (agar agar) so I didn’t have to use pandan flavorings or boil some pandan leaves. If pandan flavored gulaman is not available where you are, don’t fret. I noted some substitutes in the recipe below.
This recipe uses more cream and condensed milk than what is normally used in other buko pandan recipes. I personally love a creamy buko pandan and this recipe has double the amount of cream and milk. Some recipes use evaporated or fresh milk instead of cream but I find the consistency too runny in my opinion.
Top each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of crushed cornflakes (or pinipig, if available).
Buko pandan is a cold and creamy dessert popularly served during parties. Top it with ice cream for a special touch.
1 1/2 liters (6 cups) coconut water
25 grams pandan flavored gulaman powder (agar agar)*
750 grams shredded young coconut (from 4-5 coconuts)
2 boxes all purpose cream (about 2 cups/480 ml)
2 14 oz cans condensed milk (about 2 1/2 cups/600 ml)
For the jelly:
- Combine the coconut water and gulaman powder in a casserole.
- Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly to dissolve the powder. Remove from the heat and pour onto a jelly roll pan or a mold.
- Let it cool until the jelly solidifies. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
- In a large bowl, combine the coconut meat, jelly cubes, cream, and condensed milk.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
If you don’t have pandan flavored gulaman powder: Add 4 pandan leaves (washed and knotted) and a few drops of green food coloring to the gulaman powder and coconut water. Remove the pandan leaves after boiling.
- You can also substitute a few drops of pandan flavoring instead of pandan leaves.
- Gelatine may be substituted for gulaman.
- It is best to store in the freezer if the weather is hot or if not serving immediately. The coconut gets spoiled easily.
- I topped it with ice cream and crushed corn flakes.
Keywords: Buko Pandan