ALMOST everyone makes his (or her) own version of Buko Salad for Noche Buena and Media Noche. It’s one of the staples of the Filipino dining table on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve.
Well, I had no intention of making Buko Salad last Christmas season. But when my husband Raff and I took our early morning walk around the village last New Year’s Eve (December 31, 2012), we saw a mound of bukos (coconuts) being sold in a vacant lot right inside the village. Just for kicks, we asked how much they were selling each coconut. P28, the vendor answered. Upon reaching the main gate of the subdivision, we stepped outside to look for a hardware store that was open because Raff and I were fixing our fence and he needed more paint remover. Again, we chanced upon a vendor selling bukos in a corner for P28 per piece. We ended up buying three bukos.
I thought of making Buko Lychee Salad. I’d need only a pack of lychee flavored gelatin, lychees in can and chilled cream. So, once we were back home, I raided my food storage cabinet for the ingredients that I needed. I found everything – except the can of lychees. So much for Buko Lychee Salad…
But then I found a bottle of nata de coco (coconut gel) and another bottle of red kaong (palm nut) sitting there on the shelf I was staring at, and my lightbulb moment came. Red and white. I was going to make Red and White Salad with my buko strips, strawberry-flavored gelatin, nata de coco and kaong. I pulled out the tetra pack of Nestlé Cream I was chilling in the ref, mixed everything up, and – success! – it was a good!
Since I don’t like my salad too sweet, I didn’t add condensed milk to my Red and White Salad, but if you like it sweeter than I do, you can add condensed milk to suit your sweetness preference.
1 box Ferna Jelly Gulaman (Strawberry) (90 grams)
1-1/4 cups water
3 pcs. buko, meat shredded into strips, drained
1 cup nata de coco (coconut gel), drained
1 cup red kaong (palm nut), drained
250 ml. Nestle Cream, chilled
condensed milk to taste (optional)
1. First, prepare the gelatin. Dissolve the strawberry flavored gelatin powder in 1-1/4 cups water. Boil for 2 minutes while stirring continuously, then pour into a mold, set aside and allow to set. Once set, cut into cubes.
2. In a bowl, combine buko strips, nata de coco, kaong and chilled cream. Mix well. Add just enough condensed milk to suit your sweetness preference.
3. Add gelatin cubes last, and gently fold in so they don’t break.
4. Chill and serve.