It is almost impossible for tourists in Catbalogan, Samar who are in town for the fiesta to overlook one of the city’s signature dishes: a spicy pork dish wrapped in a banana leaf, the Tamalos.
The Tamalos of Catbalogan is a variation of the tamale, a Mexican dish which found its way to the Philippines.
The Mexicans trace this dish way back to the ancient Aztec people (800 to 5,000 BC).
The Mexico-Manila trade route (whose first call of port was in Northern Samar) introduced the basic ingredients of the dish.
The dish is basically made of pork encased in rice flour and a flavorful peanut sauce called “pipi-an.”
Pipi-an, also a Mexican blend, consists of ground rice, peanuts, chilies and other spices.
It produces a piquant flavor that is always present in most Mexican dishes.
You can try making your own Tamalos by following the recipe below:
For the meat
- 1 ½ kilo pork shoulder or belly (liempo)
- 1 cup vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 4 pcs bay leaves
- 1 clove garlic, peeled, pounded
- 1 tbsp. peppercorn
- 2 tbsp. rock salt
- 6 red chili peppers
For the sauce (Pipi-an)
- 300 grams peanuts, peeled
- 4 tbsp. achuete oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3-4 pcs chili peppers, add more as desired
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- Salt to taste
- ½ kilo rice powder
- 2 cups water
- Banana Leaves
- Slice meat into pieces
- Cook the pork in vinegar, salt laurel, garlic and water until tender.
- Remove from broth and set aside. Keep the broth.
- Bake the peanuts and grind in a food processor along with sesame seeds and hot chili peppers until fine and smooth.
- Transfer mixture into casserole and add the pork broth. Add in salt, sugar, garlic, chilies and achuete oil. Cook over low fire until the mixture is a little bit thick.
- Remove from heat.
- Mix the rice and water together and knead until smooth
- Divide the dough into pieces. Get one piece and roll into prepared banana leaf.
- Add 2 slices of pork and pour the Pipi-an sauce on top.
- Gather sides of the leaf then fold, tie the sides with a piece of string.
- Steam the Tamalos for 1 hour.