There is a difference between gelatin and the gulaman bars that we find in the local markets. Gelatin is an animal product. More precisely, it comes from the collagen in animal skin and bones. What we know as gulaman is agar-agar which is comes from seaweeds. So, gelatin is an animal protein while agar-agar is a vegetable gelatin that is 80% fiber. In cooking, gelatin and agar-agar will give you similar (but not exactly the same) results.
Buko pandan dessert is traditionally made using agar-agar but you can also use boxed pandan-flavored gelatin, or colorless unflavored gelatin plus pandan water1, sugar (to taste) and a little green food coloring.
When buying buko (coconut), tell the vendor you want “eating” coconut, meaning soft meat in contradistinction with tough coconut meat meant for grating and squeezing the milk out.
Unflavored gelatin, cooked with pandan water and sugar, was used for this recipe. If using pandan-flavored gelatin, plain water instead of pandan water will do.
- 6 coconuts
- 6 c. of cubed gelatin (approximately 2 boxes, prepared according to package directions)
- 1 c. of sweetened condensed milk2, well chilled
- 1 c. of all-purpose cream, well chilled
Split the coconut husks if the vendor has not done it for you.
Using a teaspoon, gently scrape the coconut meat off.
Toss the coconut meat and gelatin cubes in a large mixing bowl.
In another mixing bowl, whip the chilled cream and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour into the coconut-gelatin mixture and toss. Chill until ready to serve.
1To make pandan water, boil water with pandan leaves. Turn off the heat and allow the pandan to steep until the water cools. If pandan leaves are not available, bottled pandan flavoring may simply be added to the gelatin mixture during cooking.
2Depending on the sweetness of the gelatin, you may have to reduce the amount of sweetened condensed milk.