eggplant torta

12 Mar

Okay. Fine. I’ll post a recipe. Before I do, I’d like to note that the reason why I hesitate to post recipes is because everyone and their dog has some bullshit thing to say about the food I cook, how I cook it, and how (un)authentic it is. With that, I am reminded of why I possess not one, but TWO middle fingers;P

Bitter? I know. It comes from a horrible experience in college when I ended up living with my HSBFF (high school best friend). (Note: we are no longer friends. It’s a long story. If you buy the coffee, I’ll spill the beans.) It wasn’t until college that I learned to cook. Before then, mom did all the cooking. All I had to do is watch and eat. However, I quickly learned that all those years watching equipped me with the necessary skills to do some interesting things in the kitchen. Even I can admit that I’m not the greatest cook. However, my kitchen sensibilities come from the ways in which I grew up. Everyone is like this. With respect to Filipino food, the way I cook certain dishes is way different from the way others cook the same dish. With 300+ years of Spanish colonization, Japanese occupation, and American invasion, YES. Lots of Filipino families do similar dishes in a ton of different ways. Get used to it.

PLUS, I’m from GUAM! (insert raised fist in the air)

Back to the ex-HSBFF…. I simply got sick and tired of hearing, “That’s not how my mom/lola/dad/pet dog cooks it!” With the ex-HSBFF, there was a lot of bark, but not a lot of bite. This person barely knew how to boil water! Looking back, I should have just let her starve! Anyhoo….

As I’ve said before, I’m not big on recipes. I have them, I look at them to get a sense of what the dish needs, and I usually go on my own merry way from there. To explain how I make something like eggplant torta is a bit of a challenge. But I’ll try. I hope you find it useful… (If not, you can check out this recipe.)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/3 lb ground beef (I used the organic ground beef from Costco, hence the strange measurement)
  • 6 Philippine eggplants (about medium sized; I looked for ones that were short enough to roast over the stove burner)
  • Gluten-Free soy sauce (or whatever soy sauce you have; you can also use coconut aminos if you’re hard core Paleo)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch (Roughly. In reality, I may have used about half this amount?)

Directions:

1) Roast the eggplant over the stove, until the skin is kind of burnt. You want that outer layer of skin to peel off. Inside, you’ll get soft, smoky eggplant. You can do this in the oven (just be sure to poke holes in the eggplant), but you won’t get that smoky flavor. I happen to have a gas burner. Therefore, I simply washed and dried the eggplant, turned on the stove on low, and placed it directly over the flame. (This is how my mom does it. If you have problems with the technique, tell her and the ninja slipper that awaits in her hand.)

2) After roasting, peel the burt skin and collect the smoked eggplant in a bowl (yes, juices and all). Discard the skin and tops. Let the eggplant cool. At this stage, I also shred the eggplant to break it up.

3) Saute the ground beef with soy sauce and cracked pepper. I know I left out measurements because for me, it’s a matter of taste. I like LOTS of black pepper. For this batch, I easily used 1+ tbs of black pepper with under 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Cook well and let this ground beef mixture cool with the eggplant. For this batch, I let it cool and then stored in the fridge because I wasn’t ready to cook the torta til the next day. (It’s okay of the meat is a little salty because after eventually mixing with the eggplant and eggs, the salt evens out.)

4) Once the eggplant and ground beef mixture is cooled, beat the eggs and fold it into the batter with the arrowroot starch. I’m developing a newfound love for arrowroot starch and will pick up a big bag of it the next time I’m at Penzey’s. I added the starch so that the batter wouldn’t be so runny and it would be easier to flip.

5) When ready to fry, heat up a flat pan and grease it with ghee (or whatever oil you use). Using my new pancake rings (which I bought just for this recipe), I filled each ring with about 2 tbsp of the batter and flattened it in each ring.

6) This is where your senses are gonna need to kick in. The flame has to be about medium because you want to make sure the eggs are cooked and the torta is solid enough to turn. You may need to take a fork and poke the batter to see how hard or soft it is before turning. When you’re ready to turn, remove the rings and turn. (Again, be very careful!)

7) Once the flip side is cooked, remove the torta and repeat the process. You don’t need the pancake rings, but I find that it provides better control and it makes it so darn pretty! Here’s the final dish!

This batch made about 18 pieces. Most people will have this with banana ketchup and rice. Personally, I like it plain because I season it with enough soy sauce and pepper that it doesn’t really need anything more.

While this is one of my personal favorite dishes, it’s something I don’t make that often (but that will change soon). I think with the new pancake rings (and adding the arrowroot starch), I can make it more frequently because it made the process so much easier, giving me less breakage. (Um, I do think I need another set of rings, though.) Before these tools, I had to make them one by one in my egg pan. It took FOREVER! I’ve considered getting one of these pans, but they’re not deep enough and don’t have enough give to flip something this delicate. Another reason why I don’t do this dish that often is because when I was living closer to my sister, these puppies disappeared as quickly as I made them! (Seriously. When I’d bring this to my sister’s house, the person who received the container either ate it on the spot or managed to hide it in the wee corners of the fridge. Silly family! Torta is for sharing!)

As I’ve said before, everyone has their own method to the madness. I’ve had different versions of torta before: with tomatoes, with the eggplan still in tact, with no meat (gasp!), etc. This happens to be the version I like because I grew up with this.  So… what’s your version like?

Live deliciously!

-joanne

One Response to “eggplant torta”

  1. itziemae March 13, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Send some my way! I love eggplant torta. Wish I can make it here, but I have a hard time finding Chinese eggplants. I can’t even find good long string beans!

We'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: