Pampangas Tamales or Bobotu

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”Pampanga,tamales is also called “bobotu”.The tamales is a native rice cake that is popular in Pampanga, especially in Cabalantian in the town of Bacolor where, the BEST tamales, they say, come from. It’s an offshoot of the Mexican tamal (tamales is the plural form), which are packets of corn dough with a savory or sweet filling and typically wrapped in corn husk.
We may wander around the world, settle in a different country, embrace a different culture and grow fond of other people’s food. But Filipinos as we are, we would always long for home and crave for the foods that we grew up with.” (Sarap Rasa Pinas)

Pampanga’s Tamales


  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup roasted peanut
  • 1/2 cup chicken
  • 1/2 cup sliced ham
  • 1/2 cup shelled shrimp
  • 2 boiled egg
  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • Atsuete powder (dissolve in 1/2 cup of water)
  • Banana leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a frying pan, toast the rice until golden brown.
  2. Grind rice in a blender and set aside. After the rice, grind the roasted peanuts.
  3. In a deep pan combine coconut milk, salt, pepper and brown sugar, let it boil.
  4. Add the powdered rice, with constant stirring.
  5. Add the ground roasted peanut, stir constantly and cook over low heat until thick.
  6. Continue cooking the paste, until it separates from the pan.
  7. Divide the paste into 2 parts, set aside other half of the paste (regular paste)
  8. Add atsuete water to to the remaining half and cook for 5 minutes (red paste)
  9. Lay two banana leaves. At the center, put 3 tablespoons of the regular paste and flatten lightly.
  10. Top each with chicken, sliced ham, eggs and shrimp. Cover with 3 tablespoons of red paste.
  11. Wrap with banana leaves in four folds and steam for 20 to 30 minutes.

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