Tortang Talong II (Eggplant Omelet)

This is just an updated version of a blog I made on Tortang Talong four years ago.

For best results I recommend that you use an Asian/Chinese eggplant. It is slender and elongated in shape and has a more delicate flavor and thinner skin compared to the American ones.

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First, you need to grill or broil your eggplants. You can do this on top of your stove if it is gas, or inside the oven or outside grill. The purpose is to soften the eggplant and to make it easy to peel off the skin. Wash and dry your eggplants. Then lay it on top of a grill mesh specifically made for stove top use. Let the skin blacken all over. When cool enough to handle peel of the skin. Then flatten the flesh using a fork creating an oval shape.

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Beat 3 eggs in a shallow rimmed plate wide enough to fit your eggplant. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Then dip your eggplants making sure to coat both sides.

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Get a non-stick pan and heat 2-3 tablespoon olive oil or any neutral oil until hot. Carefullly slide in your eggplant. Cook until brown on both sides. You can also stuff your eggplant with some cooked ground meat of your choice. For this I just added some corned beef has which was leftover from breakfast. Just place on top of the eggplant and scoop some beaten eggs on top. Slide into pan stuffed side up, when it’s brown on the bottom carefully flip it and continue cooking until brown and a bit crisp on the other side.

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We like to eat this with rice and a dipping sauce of ketchup or in our case Filipino Banana ketchup.

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Goto (Congee with Beef Tripe)

I would describe Goto as a downright hearty and unpretentious food. It’s rice porridge with some kind of ofal or beef tripe added as a key ingredient. For me what distinguishes it from Arroz Caldo is the kind of meat that is added, goto has beef or ofal and arroz caldo uses chicken.

I haven’t had this in literally ages and I thought my girls would enjoy it since they are adventurous when it comes to food. I made this for dinner, though Filipinos usually have this for mid afternoon snack.

To make you will need beef tripe or beef honeycomb tripe. These are sold in Asian stores already cleaned and I’ve heard sometimes bleached. What I learned from my mom and grandma is boil it for a few minutes in water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Then you rinse it well in running water. Place in a pot and cover with water and add several garlic cloves, peppercorn and bay leaf and let this boil then simmer until tender.

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For the porridge, in a pot saute a medium sized finely chopped onion until transluscent. Then add 3 cloves of garlic minced and cook until fragrant be careful not to burn it. Then add a thumsize piece of ginger cut into slivers. I personally add more because I really want the strong flavors of ginger in my porridge. Then add 1 1/2 cup (I used my rice cooker measuring cup) combination of jasmine and glutinous rice. This is a personal preference, you may just use either one of the two. Then add 5-6 cups beef broth. I made my own beef broth using beef neck bones. I also added a pre-packed ox-bone broth that I got at a Korean grocery. Let it boil then lower heat and simmer until rice is cooked and has broken down. Continue stirring it while cooking to prevent the bottom from scorching. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of fish sauce.

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To serve, ladle into bowls and top with some sliced beef tripe, hard boiled egg, pork cracklin or Chicharon and green onions. I just added some meat from my neck bone broth for a heartier porridge. Serve immediately.

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Turon (Fried Caramelized Banana Rolls)

Turon is “saba banana” that has been coated in sugar and rolled in lumpia (spring roll) wrapper before being fried. In the Navotas-Malabon area where my parents grew up, these are called Valencia. It’s actually wrapped in a more rectangular and sometimes squarish shape compared to the long thin ones that we commonly see peddled on the streets of Manila. What we consider Turon are those stuffed with mashed sweetened monggo (mung beans) instead of bananas.

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For a more authentic Turon, I made used of the Filipino lumpia wrapper that is circular in shape and much thinner than the spring roll wrapper you get at Asian stores in Northern America. It makes for a crisper and lighter end product.

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To make, you will need some ripe Saba bananas. You can use plantain or Thai bananas as substitute. Peel and slice your bananas lengthwise and coat with sugar. I used a combination of light and dark brown sugar. Either is fine it’s just a matter of preference. Take a lumpia wrapper and place a couple of slices of bananas on the lower center. Pull the wrapper that is facing you up and over and bananas. Then fold both sides up towards the middle. Roll it tightly from the bottom to the top. Make sure to moisten the tip with water to seal.

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Heat your oil in non-stick frying pan. Carefully drop in your bananas and cook until golden brown. This will only take a few minutes to cook so make sure to keep watch. Sprinkle some sugar on it while frying. As the sugar melts this will coat your Turon and give you a nice caramelization. Serve immediately.

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Okoy (Mung Bean Sprouts and Shrimp Fritters)

In my parents hometown of Navotas, Okoy is considered an afternoon snack. These are sold during the mid afternoon hours along with others treats like, Valencia (Turon goes by this name in Navotas), Maruya (banana fritter) etc. I remember older family members would eat Okoy with cold rice and a dipping sauce made up of vinegar, garlic and ground black pepper.

When I was growing up we would sometimes have this for breakfast during the weekends. This is one of my favorite dish of all time. Whenever I would come back home to Manila for a visit, this is my top most requested dish from my family.

I have tried dozen of times to make this for my own family here in the Northeast without much success. It will either fall apart during frying or become too soggy and not crisp as it’s supposed to. Thanks to this video I finally found the perfect recipe. Her technique or method is also similar to how I remember my Ninang Aveling and Lola would make it. The reason maybe because of the fact she ┬áis from Malabon, the town next to Navotas which shares a culinary tradition and history.

To make, wash and drain very well a bag of mung bean sprouts. Cut one medium sized white onion into thin slices, and separate the rings or segments. If you have access to fresh small/baby shrimps, wash and trim it’s pointy ends or whiskers. You need not remove it’s shells when you are using baby shrimps. For this recipe I used dried pink shrimps as a substitute.

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For the batter mix the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 a tsp. ground black pepper. I just added annatto powder for color, this is totally optional since my aunt or Lola do not use this in their recipe. Batter should be thick but pourable.

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Take a small non stick pan and add about 1/4 -1/2 cup neutral oil and heat.

To make, get a small plate or saucer and sprinkle some sprouts until it just covers it. Next add some onion strips or slices then add a few pieces of shrimps on top. Then get a small ladle or big spoon and pour your batter until it just covers your vegetables and shrimp. I used about 3 small ladles of batter.

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Then quickly slide your fritter into the hot oil. It should slide easily if you added the right amount of batter. Cook until brown and crisp on both sides. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of vinegar, crushed garlic and ground black pepper.

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Peaches and Cream Fruit Parfait

Ever since I saw photos of fruit parfaits from Japanese fruit parlors, I have promised to make some for the family this Summer when a variety of fruits will surely be in season.

I was torn to either making the berry version or the peach kind. Peach won in the end since it’s the sweetest during the Summer months here in Jersey. You may also use melons, mangoes, or a combination of fruits.

There is really no cooking involved here just a matter of putting together your ingredients.

For the fruit sauce I used the peach syrup I have made previously for my summer cooler.

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I used two kinds of peaches here, white and yellow variety. Prepare your fruits by washing, peeling and cutting your peaches into segments. Set aside about half a cup that has been cut into small cubes, you will need this for layering.

Place 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a chilled bowl, add 2 tbsp. sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Get a parfait or decorative glass and layer a tablespoon of fruit syrup, a couple of tablespoon of diced peaches, then your whipped cream. Repeat once or twice until you get to the top. Arrange your peach segments decoratively on top, you may add a dollop of cream before topping it with additional fruit and a sprig of mint.

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Peach Cooler

It’s the height of peach season in New Jersey which starts early July til end of August. My girls love peaches and I always get some every time I do my grocery shopping. There are several types of peaches: yellow, white, free stone, clingstone, donut and nectarine. Yellow ones are the most common and what most orchards have for pick your own.

This Summer cooler is a great way to use your overly ripe peaches. Like the strawberry refresher I made early in May, you will need to make your fruit syrup.

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For the peach syrup wash, peel and cut into cubes a couple of peaches. Place in a small sauce pan 1 cup diced peaches, 2/3 cup sugar and 2/3 cup water. Let this come to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes until it’s thick and a bit syrupy. Place in a container and let cool before refrigerating or use.

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Get a glass and place 2 tablespoons of your peach syrup. Add some ice cubes and fresh sliced peaches. Pour to the brim sparkling water and garnish with mint.

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