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opened filipino tamales on a serving plate
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3.79 from 14 votes

Filipino Tamales

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Filipino
Servings: 12 Pieces
Calories: 317kcal


  • 1/2 pound chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth (reserved from cooking the chicken)
  • 2 1/4 cups rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon atsuete powder, diluted in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add chicken and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that may float on top. When broth has cleared, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drain chicken, reserving about 1 cup of the broth. Allow chicken to cool to touch and then flake.
  • In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  • Add coconut milk and broth and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Slowly add rice flour, whisking vigorously to prevent lumps. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and resembling a thick paste.
  • Separate 2/3 of the mixture into one bowl and the remaining 1/3 to another bowl. To 1/3 of the mixture, add the dissolved annatto and the peanut butter. Stir until well combined and evenly colored.
  • Wash banana leaves and with a paper towel, wipe down any grit or dirt. Briefly pass through gas flames or soak for a few minutes in hot water until softened and more pliable. Set aside.
  • Scoop about 2 tablespoons of plain mixture on banana leaf and spread to about 3-inches wide.
  • Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the colored mixture onto the plain mixture and spread across the top.
  • Arrange the pieces of flaked chicken and sliced hard-boiled eggs on top of the colored mixture. Fold banana leaves over tamale mixture to fully enclose and tie with kitchen twine to secure.
  • Arrange prepared tamales on steamer basket and steam for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked. Alternatively, arrange tamales in a pot and add enough water to cover. Over medium heat, boil for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Carefully remove tamales from heat and let stand for 1 or 2 minutes to set a little. May be served hot or cold.


Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 3mg