Another treat or dessert that I associate closely with Christmas is Buko (Young Coconut) Salad. This is a dessert that is meant to be served cold. The simplest buko salad I’ve had and considered the best is just a combination of buko, sago (tapioca balls or what is known as bubbles nowadays), evaporated milk and condensed milk. It may not seem appetizing by all appearances due to it’s homogenous color. But there is nothing like fresh sweet young coconut drenched in cream that spells ambrosia.
Buko Salad have been elevated to another level these days with the addition of other ingredients such as pandan jelly among others. Pandan or screwpine leaves is a favorite flavoring for Asian sweets and desserts. It’s rather difficult to find fresh pandan leaves in the Northeast, what we have are frozen ones. However, bottled pandan flavor extract are available which is a good substitute.
To make, prepare pandan jelly by placing 1 cup water in a bowl and sprinkling 2 packets know unflavored gelatin, let this soften. Meanwhile boil 2 cups water in a small pot and add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp. of pandan extract (you can use more, I didn’t want to get an overpowering taste of pandan, the extract tends to give off a strong flavor). Once sugar is dissolved pour this onto your bowl with gelatin. Mix well. Pour this in a small pan and chill in the fridge until firm. Cut into small squares and set aside.
Place 2 packets of defrosted and drained young coconut in a bowl, add your cubed pandan jelly, 1 bottle of drained nata de coco, 1 small can of nestle cream and 1 can of condensed milk. Gently stir until everything is well combined. Chill in the fridge for at least 24 hrs. You can also freeze it and it will give you a totally different taste and texture.
To serve, spoon your buko salad onto a glass or dessert cup and top with buko pandan ice cream.