ingredients
all
avocado oil
1 whole onions
diced
4 cloves garlic
pressed or smashed and chopped
1 lb ground meat
beef or turkey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 whole tomato
diced
eggs
1 tbsp cream
optional
1 tbsp butter
optional
cooked quinoa
or steamed rice
ketchup
optional
Tabasco
optional
cookware
This is one of my favorite Filipino home cooking dishes. It is a savory and satisfying meat omelet that is served as a main course over rice. Growing up, I’d always get excited when this was served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Then in college, I’d make this for friends, and it’d always be a cost-effective crowd pleaser. This dish is great for families for that very reason, but it is also efficient because you can prepare and store the meat base in the fridge or freezer. Then when you need a quick, hearty meal, you just mix it up with eggs, cook it, and serve it with rice. Adapted from my mom’s recipe, initially transmitted through multiple phone calls while I hovered over the stove in college.
brown the meat filling
1
Pull out the ground meat from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to help it come up to room temp. Dice and chop all the produce.
2
Sauté the onions with avocado oil until clear. Then add in the garlic and stir for about a minute to incorporate.
3
Add the ground meat and cook until all the pink has disappeared. Season with salt and pepper.
4
Toss in the tomatoes. Stir and cook until softened.
assemble the torta
5
Beat enough eggs to enrobe the torta meat filling and make either a large torta to feed many, or make a few smaller ones individual ones. Mix in the cream to the eggs if using.
6
Combine a portion of the torta meat with the eggs. Gently pour the mixture into the center of a pan with warmed oil (and melted butter if using) over medium heat.
7
With a wooden fork or chopsticks, stir the mixture in the pan in small circles. You’ll know that the torta is starting to solidify when you can see the bottom of the pan when you mix. At this point, start swirling the torta to fill in gaps.
8
Flip the mostly solid torta. Give it about a minute to finish cooking the other side. Repeat for additional tortas if needed. Keep tortas warm on a plate in a 200°F oven.
9
Divide and serve over cooked quinoa with a side of ketchup and/or Tabasco.
source: Carmen Tolentino
notes
Flip it! At the point that the torta starts to look pretty solid, swirl it in the pan to ensure that it is loosened. Then just go for it, with full conviction. If you hold back, even just a little, the torta will know, and it will land everywhere but back in the pan. But if you go all in, you get the happy fulfillment of having flipped the torta, AND you didn’t have to dirty an extra plate or utensil to do so. Note that we do flip the torta over the countertop. In then event of a torta disaster, the countertop is much easier to clean than the stovetop.

Alternatively, you could also use the lid of the skillet or a plate to help invert and slide the torta back into the pan.

Torta can also be made with eggplant, at which point it’s named “torta talong,” or even with French fries.

eggs