Buko Pandan Salad (Young Coconut & Pandan Jelly) {Recipe}


Spring has finally arrived in Sydney. No more chilly and gloomy weather. It has, however, been un-seasonably warm and I’ve been craving ice cream and buko pandan salad to beat the unusual warm weather.

Buko pandan salad is a very popular dessert in the Philippines. It’s made up of buko/macapuno (young coconut strings) and pandan (fragrant green, tropical plant) jelly in thickened cream or heavy cream. It’s absolutely delicious and very refreshing as it is served chilled. This creamy fragrant salad is a clear winner during family gatherings especially in the hotter months.


Traditionally, this salad is made by boiling pandan leaves until the flavour has been enhanced. The leaves are removed and gelatin is added. This is where the jelly gets its distinct green colour.

Pandan leaves are not widely available here but they may be sold in some asian grocers and of course, this is where pandan extract comes in handy if you can’t locate any pandan leaves. They are found in most asian grocers. It has a very strong fragrant flavour so a little goes a long way.

For those that are still puzzled as to what pandan is, you can find a more in-depth definition here.


Buko pandan salad is very easy to prepare as it uses very little ingredients and as mentioned previously, can be found in most asian stores.

I’ve included condensed milk in the above photo thinking that I would use it. I didn’t in this recipe because the macapuno syrup is already sweet on its own.

Buko Pandan Salad – serves 4


410ml water
1 box green unflavoured gelatine (about 90g)
1/2 tsp pandan extract or flavouring

350g macapuno strings
400ml thickened cream/heavy cream
1/2 tsp pandan extract or flavouring


1. In a saucepan, add water, gelatin and pandan extract and stir on med to high heat. Bring to a boil whilst continually stirring.
2. Turn off heat and pour gelatine mixture into a square or rectangular mold. Allow to cool slightly then leave in the fridge to set.
3. In a large bowl, combine thickened cream, macapuno strings and 1/2 tsp pandan extract. Mix well.
4. Carefully cut up the jelly (make sure it’s completely set) into cubes and then gently mix into the creamy pandan mixture.
5. Place buko pandan salad in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours before serving.



– You can buy pandan favoured jelly in asian stores. If you are going to use that, omit adding the pandan extract when cooking the jelly. I didn’t use it in this instance because I didn’t want the pandan to be too over powering in flavour.
– You can still use condensed milk in this recipe. Perhaps use 1/4 cup. It will however, be quite sweet. If you use this method, I suggest using frozen macapuno strings instead so it doesn’t have its own sweet syrup.


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