I never had buko pandan drinks or desserts growing up. I canâ€™t figure out if I am too old, just deprived or simply clueless to this now highly common flavor combination. Was this just invented or discovered in the past 20 years or was I seriously missing out on something in the 1970â€™s??? How could I have been in the thick of Filipino fruit salad with Nestle Cream and Cathedral Windows and miss out on this near nuclear green icon of Filipino party tables? At any rate, despite being a late bloomer, I have come to appreciate the pairing in recent years and was so amused by my sisterâ€™s gobbling up several glasses of the drink at the Salcedo market last month while on a visit to Manila that I decided to try and re-create it at home.
It seemed simple enough. Though I didnâ€™t have recipe to followâ€¦ If I really wanted to do this â€œfrom scratchâ€ I needed unflavored gelatin that I would flavor with lots of pandan (screwpine) leaves but I just bought pandan flavored gelatin instead and mixed it up with hot water and put it in the fridge until it had set. Then slice it into small cubes and place in a pitcher. Add some fresh coconut water (buko juice), fresh strips of buko meat, added some milk and some sugar to taste. The photo of pitcher above is before milk was addedâ€¦I liked the way it looked at this stage and decided to photograph it then. Chill until cold or add ice cubes (thought it will dilute the drink) and enjoy in a tall glass with a spoonâ€¦ It was surprisingly good and quite refreshing. And I am not sure if I had the right ingredients even.
I went further and also threw some cubed pandan flavored gelatine into a bowl then added strips of fresh coconut meat, Nestle cream, some milk to slightly dilute the mixture and some sugar or condensed milk and stirred it all up to make a buko pandan salad. It was a bit thick but again the flavor of the pandan and the coconut was a good blendâ€¦ Chill it well before serving. This is easy peasy and apparently a party favoriteâ€¦ I liked the buko pandan juice better than the sweet, creamy salad.