Filipino Native Food · Kakanin · Rice

Filipino Tamales Recipe

Filipino Tamales Recipe
Tamales or Boboto in kapampangan dialect, is made of rice flour, coconut milk, topped with palabok sauce, salted egg or boiled egg, shredded chicken, sprinkled with fried garlic and nuts. It is cooked thru steaming wrapped mixture in banana leaves. The aroma of banana leaves makes the Tamales smells so delicious as it cooks. It is also a favorite delicacy in Bacolor, Pampanga specially for the Christmas season where people will eat or buy the delicacy after early church mass (Simbang Gabi).
Tamales is originally a Mexican dish made of rice flour base, can be topped with chicken,  chorizo, pork and salted egg. A complete meal can be serve as breakfast and dinner. Tamales or Boboto to Kapampangans is a dish we learned from Mexicans. Boboto means to vote. According to some kapampangan trivias, this dish was inspired by women who were left at home while the men went out and voted. They would gather and make this kakanin.
Filipino Tamales Recipe
Credits Maria Prissa Jocson, Wy Legaspi, Lilia Gomez

FILIPINO TAMALES (Boboto in Kapampangan)


  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup roasted peanut
  • 1/2 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 cup sliced ham
  • 1/2 cup shelled shrimp
  • 2 boiled egg/salted eggs, sliced
  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • Atsuete powder (dissolve in 1/2 cup of water)
  • Banana leaves, (wilted: heated in low fire to soften leaves)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Additional Toppings:
  • Toasted Garlic
  • Toasted Nuts
  • thickened coconut milk, for sauce


  1. In a large pan, toast the rice over medium to low heat until golden brown. Using a food processor or blender, grind rice until very fine and set aside. Then also grind the roasted peanuts until very fine in texture. Set it aside.
  2. In a shallow pot, pour coconut milk, season with salt, pepper and brown sugar, let it boil and simmer over medium to low heat. Toss the powdered rice and continuously stir.
  3. Add the ground roasted peanut, stir constantly and let it cook over low heat until texture becomes thick. Continue cooking until it becomes paste like (the paste separates from the pan as you mix it). Turn off heat and remove pan.
  4. For the white mixture: Transfer ¾ of the paste mixture into a bowl (white mixture) and leave the remaining in the pan. Set aside the white mixture.
  5. For the red mixture: Add atsuete water in the pan with the remaining paste mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Turn of heat and remove pan. Transfer to another bowl. Set aside.
  6. To assemble: Prepare wilted banana leaves and lay two pieces banana leaves per package. In the center, place ¼ cup of the white mixture and flatten into a square.
  7. Add shredded chicken, sliced ham, eggs, toasted garlic or nuts and shrimp on top of the white mixture. Cover with 2 tablespoons of red mixture.
  8. Fold and wrap mixture with banana leaves and seal it with cord or kitchen twine on all sides.
  9. Prepare steamer with boiling water and steam for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy!

Want it Saucy and Not Dry? make a batch of Coconut Milk Sauce and heat in wok until thickened. Just keep mixing over low heat until sauce becomes thick.



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