Buko Pandan Salad made with gulaman cubes, tropical palm fruits, shredded young coconut in sweetened cream. Rich, creamy, and loaded with pandan flavor, this Filipino classic dessert is sure to be a crowd favorite.
Two new recipes back to back in two days! Woot hoot, I am rocking it!
This buko pandan salad is, technically, not a new recipe on the blog as I first posted it in May 2013 but since I am updating it with new photos, cooking tips, and a video, we’ll count it as one of the five brand new recipes I promised you this week. 🙂
What is Buko Pandan?
Buko Pandan is a type of Filipino cold dessert made of jelly cubes, young coconut, and sweetened cream infused with pandan or screwpine flavor.
Although the above three are the standard ingredients, tapioca pearls or sago, kaong, and nata de coco are commonly added as well.
This tropical salad is usually enjoyed as a snack or dessert and often made for holiday parties and other special occasions.
I learned how to make this Filipino dessert on one of my yearly trips to the Philippines. There is a popular restaurant in Tarlac that specializes in merienda and I was so enamored by their buko pandan salad that I would pass by the restaurant every day of my three-week vacation to buy a large container to-go.
Imagine my delight when one of my aunts claimed she makes the best buko pandan salad and that for a little bit more than what I pay for the small tub at the restaurant, I could have a bucketful in the refrigerator good to enjoy for a few days. And she sure wasn’t lying. It was the best I’ve ever tasted!
Her secret? The agar-agar or gulaman is cooked in coconut juice instead of water.
How Do You Make Buko Pandan?
Buko pandan salad is so easy to make, the hardest part of the recipe, really, is waiting for the gelatin to set!
- I use agar agar bars or locally known as gulaman. Although they require pre-soaking and longer cook time, they yield a firmer texture and need no refrigeration to set. Make sure to finely shred the gulaman bars and soak until very soft so they’ll dissolve faster.
- You can substitute gelatin powder such as Knox or Alsa, if you like, and prepare according to package directions.
- Soak the agar agar in coconut juice and infuse the mixture with a few drops of pandan extract to heighten flavor and aroma. If using fresh screwpine or pandan leaves, tie a few strips into a knot and add when boiling the agar. Remove and discard when enough flavor and color are extracted.
- Once all the ingredients are combined in a bowl, I like to perfume the mixture and deepen the green color with additional drops of pandan extract.
Buko Pandan Salad
- 2 bars (.70 ounce) green agar-agar, shredded to very small pieces
- 3 cups coconut juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 drops pandan extract
- 2 cups shredded young coconut
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) Nata de coco, drained
- 1 bottle (12 ounces) Kaong, drained
- 1 can (14 ounces) table cream
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- In a pot, combine agar agar and coconut juice and soak for about 30 minutes.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring regularly, until agar agar is melted.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until agar agar is completely dissolved.
- Add 2 drops of pandan extract and stir to combine.
- Remove from heat and carefully pour into a flat dish. Allow to cool until gulaman is set and hardened. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
- In a large bowl, combine gulaman, young shredded coconut, nata de coco, kaong, table cream, and condensed milk.
- Add about 2 to 3 drops pandan extract and stir to distribute flavor and color. Chill for about 1 to 2 hours. Serve cold.