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 water and sugar (to taste).
To make pandan water, cut a bunch of pandan leaves. Place in the blender. Add water. Process until the leaves are crushed and the water turns green. Strain. Discard the crushed pandan leaves. Use the water to cook the gelatin.
If pandan leaves are not available, bottled pandan flavoring may simply be added to the gelatin mixture during cooking.
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.
If using sweetened gelatin, you may have to reduce the amount of sweetened condensed milk
- 6 young coconuts
- 6 cups cubed gelatin approximately 2 boxes, prepared according to package directions
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk well chilled
- 1 cup 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.