"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Buco Pandan Salad

Another longed-for Filipino dessert...

I got ideas from oggi (but I don't have pandan leaves nor gulaman bars). I was adamant I would NOT ever use Jell-O for this classic Filipino dessert. For one thing, I never liked Jell-O gelatin. The consistency is just not the same. Too jiggly and soft for me. And they gel longer too. Plus, they come from animal sources (the collagen), while agar-agar is from a seaweed.

Anna, Celia and I wolfed our serving down hungrily. My kids looked freaked out by its color, but loved its taste.

WARNING: Eat sparingly. Loaded with cream cheese and heavy cream (kaya nga yummy!).

Ingredients and Instructions:

For the gelatin:
juice from 3 buco (young coconuts)
1 can (14 oz) pandan leaves extract (Maesri brand; sent to me by Deb -- Thanks!)
water (enough to reach 4 cups when combined with buco juice and pandan extract)
1 (20 ml) buco pandan flavor (McCormick)
4-6 tsp of agar-agar (available at amazon.com; I bought mine, an expensive brand, from Spice of Life here but seeing amazon's, I should have just ordered from them.)
1/2 cup sugar

Note: The suggested ratio of agar-agar to liquid on the back of the label was 1 tbsp agar-agar to 1 cup of liquid. I read from burntlumpia's post that he found 1 tsp in 1 cup gives the right consistency, and that 1 tbsp results in too firm a gelatin.

Let agar-agar stand in the mixture of liquids liquids for 15 minutes then start boiling together until agar-agar is dissolved completely. Try cooling a small amount in the fridge for about 3 minutes and check if you like the consistency. If not, add a little more and reheat until the agar-agar dissolves. Add sugar when agar-agar is completely melted (not sure if it would get in the way of dissolving the agar-agar so I added it last). Place in 13x9 glass pan; cover and chill until solid. Cut into cubes. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Shredded young coconut meat (I had very little from the 3 buco because only one of them had meat that was not mala-uhog, so I opened 2 cans of canned young coconuts pre-cut in triangles. I discarded the "buco" juice from those cans as they tasted like very diluted. The coconut meat that came from these cans were not too pleasing when eaten plain, but mixed as buco salad, they are ok. The frozen shredded are too mature for buco salad use. The freshly shredded ones are still the best.)

1 can kaong (palm seeds in heavy syrup); drained (optional; I added because I had it in my pantry, and goes well with coconut)

Creamy Sauce
1 (14 oz) can condensed milk
equal amount of heavy cream (use the can of condensed milk to measure)
6 oz cream cheese spread

Beat the cream cheese first until smooth. Add the condensed milk slowly, then the heavy cream. Pour into the gelatin and shredded young coconuts and let chill.

Tapioca Pearls (optional)
Boil 4 cups of water then add 1/2 cup of tapioca pearls. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn heat off, cover and let stand 15 minutes or until translucent. Rinse with cold water 3 times. Place in a jar then add cold water to cover and refrigerate. Add these only when serving the buco pandan salad (not sure what the effect is if you mix right away).

Note: I love placing my buco pandan in the freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour to have some ice crystals before serving.


  1. Mukhang masarap! I never had buko pandan ever....susubukan ko ito.

  2. MaMely,
    If you love buco and pandan, you will love this!

  3. Although I prefer agar agar I also love the jiggly stuff because of the mouth feel and it's fun to watch it move like a blob before eating.:)

    This reminds me to make again, this time using the recipe of Claude Tayag which is pandan gelatin squares served with buco strips and then topped with macapuno ice cream or whipped cream.

  4. we love this.. esp. if served chilled!! super yummy.. then we use green and red gelatin for color! haha with lots of sago and buko! *craves*

  5. Mmmmm, I can almost smell the pandan! Sometimes I add lychees when I make this salad. :)

  6. I used the GREEN AI-YU JELLY i bought from Vietnamese store and i works well with my buko and mango pandan, Try it!


  7. I've eaten this couple of months ago, yummy


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