Recipes from Home: Tortang Talong
About five years ago, I eliminated red meat and poultry from my diet. Considering that I am a daughter of Filipino immigrants living in Texas, it’s almost a sacrilegious concept. If you didn’t know, most Filipino dishes center around pork. Also, my mom and dad love to feed me. It’s a dietary conundrum that we have encountered at every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and family gathering. However, not all hope is lost. There is one vegetarian dish that is uniquely Filipino: Torta Talong.
Tortang (omelet) Talong (eggplant) literally translates to “eggplant omelet.” It’s traditionally eaten at breakfast, but my family likes to eat it for dinner. There are only five ingredients (!) to this dish, but the complexity comes from charring the eggplant before combining with the eggs.
There are a couple of ways of roasting eggplants, from using the broiler in your oven to a standard outdoor grill. We like to live adventurously at the Arostique household, so I grew up with my mom roasting eggplants directly on a gas range. Fun fact: Many Asian households have a “secondary” outdoor kitchen, primarily consisting of a 1-2 burner gas countertop range. This is where the magic happens. Shout out to mom for showing me how it’s done!
7 or 8 Chinese eggplants
4 or 5 eggs
1) Washing your produce during COVID-19 is non-negotiable. Use running water to “wash” the eggplants, and then pat dry.
2) Using a fork, poke holes all over the eggplant.
3) Depending on your method of choice, roast eggplants until you achieve a sufficient char on the skin. Place charred eggplant into a bowl of water to cool. Carefully peel the charred skin and discard. We use gloves because the eggplants will still be very hot.
4) Except for the stem, mash the eggplant with a fork.
5) Scramble eggs, heavily season with salt and pepper, and transfer into a shallow bowl.
6) Meanwhile, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat.
7) Dredge the mashed eggplants in the egg mixture.
8) Add vegetable oil to pan, place dredged eggplant into the heated pan and cook. When it no longer sizzles, flip the eggplant so the other side can cook.
9) Cook until the eggs are no longer runny.
10) Serve with rice and enjoy!
Tip: Tortang Talong is traditionally eaten with banana ketchup, but I like it dipped in soy sauce.