There's a good chance you've heard of Buko Pandan Salad, as it is one of the most popular Filipino desserts. It combines the best of flavors: buko (young coconut) and pandan. Let's look at some of the most frequently asked questions about it.
Buko Pandan Salad is a fruit salad made with (buko) young coconut, sago, and pandan-flavored agar-agar. It may also contain nata de coco and kaong, a chewy fruit from sugar palm trees. The sauce is made with cream and condensed milk.
According to Wikipedia, what we know as pandan is also called screwpine or pandanus amaryllifolius.
Pandan doesn't have a specific taste. Most people use it for its grassy, nutty flavor and green color. It is overpowering in a good way. You have to bruise the leaves and cook them to extract their wonderful aroma.
Pandan is a tropical plant found in South East Asia. It grows everywhere in the Philippines. In the US, fresh or frozen pandan leaves are sold in Asian grocery stores. Pandan extracts or essences may also be available.
The plant itself isn't fragrant. You must bruise or crush the leaves and cook them to obtain their unique flavor and light green hue.
Buko, or young coconut, is a fruit that belongs to the palm family of Arecaceae. It has a green outer husk that contains a sweet clear liquid and jelly-like flesh encased in a hard brown shell. The fruit is harvested before it is fully mature.
Buko, also called "young coconut," is harvested before it matures. Its flesh is sweet and tender compared to a regular coconut.
Buko juice is coconut water. It's the slightly cloudy liquid that comes from inside a coconut.
No, nata de coco or coconut gel does not have gelatin. It is made by fermenting coconut water with bacteria and washing it off with acetic acid.
Tapioca is made from cassava roots, while sago is from tropical palm trees. They are both chewy and cooked similarly.
Sago should be soaked in cold water or preferably in simple syrup until ready to use. If they are already clumped together, rinse them under hot tap water. Use a fork to separate them.
Agar-agar is vegetarian or plant-based gelatin made from red algae or seaweed. It acts as a thickener or stabilizer. They also come in flakes, bars, and strands.
Agar-agar shouldn't take long to set. It won't solidify if you add too much water or there isn't enough agar-agar. You can fix it by remelting it in a saucepan and adding water or agar-agar as needed.
Check the smell, color, and texture. Throw away anything that smells off, looks slimy/foamy, or has molds on it.
For the best flavor and texture, store Buko Pandan Salad in the refrigerator and consume it within 3 days.
I would not recommend freezing Buko Pandan Salad. It gets watery when thawed, and the sago loses its chewy texture. If you must freeze it to extend its shelf life, mix it well after thawing.
I hope you found this article helpful and inspired you to make this dessert! If you love coconut and pandan, you will love Buko Pandan Salad. Plus, it's perfect for summer potlucks or gatherings.