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The Theoretical Cook


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Buco-Pandan Salad - the hard way

I wish it looked more palatable...its just the bad lighting folks. Its really delicious.

There was a time when I was addicted to the buco pandan salad at Ken Afford along Katipunan Road. Their salad was sublime: cream, tender buco cut into precise 'squares' - not the usual noodle like strands, and firm green-colored gulaman. In those days, I was a stranger to the kitchen, but the budding foodie in me wanted to know how they made their buco pandan salad. And the budding foodie wanted to find out the hard way: by experimenting. I have never asked nor consulted anyone about how they make their buco pandan salad. But here's how I make mine:

Buco Pandan Salad

Young coconut meat (three coconuts)
Pandan Leaves (one small bundle)
Cream (250 mL)
Condensada/Sweetened creamer (Carnation brand - 155 mL)
Unflavored Gelatin (Alsa brand - green)

Part 1 - Pandan gelatin
1) Boil the Pandan leaves in 3 to 4 cups water to get the pandan 'extract'. When the pandan leaves lose color, remove the leaves (5 mins or so).
2) Filter the pandan extract to remove impurities.
3) Dissolve the Alsa gelatin powder into the 2 cups of the pandan water/extract. If you want a firm gelatin, you may reduce amount of the pandan water. Let the solution boil. Then transfer to a container (I use microwavable rectangular food containers) and let the gelatin solidify. This takes 45 mins, but you may shorten this by chilling the solution.
4) When firm, cube the gelatin. ( I just use a paring knife and 'cube' the gelatin in the container).

Part 2 - Buco pandan
1) Combine the sliced/scraped coconut meat with the cream and the condensada (you can adjust according to your taste).
2) Add the pandan gelatin to the coconut mixture. Then chill.
3) Serve!

The easy way
Now, that's my complicated version of the dish. I figure another way of doing this is to simply add Pandan Extract (McCormick has one at P27) to the gelatin solution. This will do away with the rather messy affair involving the pandan leaves, the filtering of the pandan water etc. Why dont I do it the simple way? Because it takes the fun out of it. I like boiling the pandan leaves, I like smelling the pandan in the air. And I like the idea that I 'figured' this out....Haha!


Anonymous stefoodie said...

hehehe, that's something we have in common -- i like doing things "the hard way" too, most of the time anyway -- 'cause really, where's the challenge in instant stuff?

11:02 AM  
Blogger Kai said...

Yehey! I've eaten enough tasteless green gulaman these past few years (even in restaurants and catered functions) that I have to laud those who cook green gulaman with real pandan leaves. They're so available and it's not really that difficult - and the reward, real fragrant and tasty pandan gulaman, is more than worth it, don't you think?

I've tried Ferna's pandan flavored gulaman and it tastes ok, but again, nothing comapres to the real thing.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Theoretical Cook said...

Hi Stef.
Just skipped the Mama Sita karekare mix earlier (though I bought one) while preparing karekare. The 'hard way' indeed:)

Hi Kai!
And when you use real pandan leaves, mas sumasarap habang tumatagal sa ref...

9:11 PM  
Blogger Jhaw said...

Hi TC!
Speaking of pandan, have you tried using pandan water for iced tea? mas sumasarap, lalo na ngayong napakainit na summer!

BTW, i've posted a comment in your "sizzling plate" entry. Sayang, nagpunta ka pala ng baguio. We could have arranged a foodies meet somewhere in session.

Nice posts btw, I'm enjoying reading them.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Theoretical Cook said...

Hi Jhaw,
I havent tried using pandan leaves for iced tea. In fact, I throw the extra 'pandan' water when I have the required amt for the gelatin. This is a good idea. I will remember to save the pandan water next time. In fact, I just might buy pandan leaves and boil them for that pandan iced tea. Honey would be a nice sweetener. Thanks for this wonderful tip!

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