Tortang Talong  – Filipino Eggplant Omelette

Tortang Talong – Filipino Eggplant Omelette

Italy may have their Eggplant Parmesan but the Philippines has their Tortang Talong or Eggplant Omelette.  The word “torta” has many meanings in the Latin based language.  In Italy and other countries whose language is rooted in latin it usually means cake or pie.  In Mexico it refers to a sandwhich.  In Spain it can mean either a cake or an omelette.

The Philippines was under Spanish rule for about 500 years.  Much of its language, customs, and cuisine is adapted from the Spanish culture.  Hence many favorite Filipino dishes include Arroz Valenciana or Paella,  Arroz Caldo, Pastel de Lengua, Menudo, Chorizo, and Torta, just to name a few.

The word “tortang” is derived from the Spanish word “Torta”.  In the Philippines when they refer to something as “tortang” it means that it is made like a torta, which in this case mean omelette.  So Tortang Talong means Eggplant Omelette since Talong is the Filipino name for Eggplant.

Tortang Talong is a simple yet tasty way to eat eggplant.  It uses the long Asian eggplant instead of the large round eggplant normally used in the Italian Eggplant Parmesan.  The eggplant is cooked, usually over an open fire or grill, flattened, dipped in beaten eggs, then fried.  There are many versions of this Filipino dish, some of which include ground meat.  In my family we usually make it without as it’s pretty filling without meat.  I make it at home for our meatless dinner nights.  Served with a tossed salad and some olives and pickles on the side it’s simply delicious!

You can roast the eggplant up to a day in advance.  Leave the skin on and store in the fridge until ready to use.  Depending on the size of the eggplant you can either make one to share or smaller individual ones.  I usually make 2 and that feeds around 4 people.

Tortang Talong

Ingredients:

1 Asian Long Eggplant

2 Eggs

1/2 Tsp. Minced Garlic

Salt & Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Directions:

Roast or broil the eggplant with the skin on.  You will know the eggplant is cooked when it is soft and the skin is a bit wrinkled and has turned brownish in color.

Peel cooked eggplant.  You can do this by holding the stem and gently pulling off the skin with your fingers.  The meat may stick to the skin so be careful peeling it so that you don’t take the eggplant meat with the skin.  Do not remove the stem.

Place peeled eggplant on a flat plate and gently flatten with a fork.  You should end up with eggplant meat fanning out from the top stem.

Beat eggs, garlic, salt & pepper together in  a shallow dish.

Place about 1/2 tsp. oil in a large frying pan and heat.

Place eggplant in egg mixture.  Use the fork to gently immerse eggplant (but not the stem) in the egg mixture.  Allow the eggplant to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible.

Holding the eggplant by the stem gently place it in the hot oil.  You can pour some more egg mixture over the eggplant in the pan so that the eggplant is completely covered.

Cook until the bottom starts to turn golden brown and the egg mixture on the top starts to get a bit dry.

Gently flip the eggplant over and cook until that side turns golden brown.

Slide finished omelette onto a serving dish and serve.

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Lumpia – Filipino Egg Rolls

Lumpia – Filipino Egg Rolls

Lumpia is the Philippines’ version of Egg Rolls.  Like so many other Asian countries the Filipino Lumpia comes in many varieties.

There is Lumpiang Sariwa or “Fresh Lumpia” that are very thin crepe like wrappers that are filled with stir fried vegetables, shrimp, meats, or a combination of them.  Lumpiang Shanghai are meat filled deep fried egg rolls that are tightly wrapped to look like thin cigars or are cut into smaller pieces when served as appetizers, they are usually served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.  Then there are fried lumpia that closely resemble spring rolls.  Fried Lumpia can be filled with just about anything including ripe bananas which are actually called Turon or Banana Lumpia.

Fried Lumpia is a favorite in my house; I make them by the dozen and freeze them so we always have some on hand.  Making fried lumpia is pretty easy since I usually toss in whatever I have on hand including ground beef, green beans, tofu, carrots, bean sprouts, potatoes, and onions.  You can put any combination of meats, seafood, and veggies in a fried lumpia, it’s really not complicated.  Whatever ends up as my filling I always serve it with a garlic vinegar sauce, my family loves it!

Today I’ll share my version of Fried Lumpia.  I’ll list ingredients just remember they’re all pretty much optional and you can toss in whatever you prefer; but use at least 3 of the optional items in your filling.  You can buy frozen egg roll wrappers at any Asian Market, most packages contain 25 wrappers.

Fried Lumpia

Ingredients:

1 or 2 Package Egg Roll Wrapper – thawed

1 Lb. Ground Beef – but you can use pork, chicken, turkey, or shrimp instead

1 Small Onion Chopped

1 Tbs. Garlic Minced

2-3 Potatoes – Cooked and cubed (optional)

2 Cups Bean Sprouts (optional)

1 Package Firm Tofu – cut into small cubes

1 Cup Shredded Carrots (optional)

1 Cup Fresh String Beans – Thinly sliced (optional)

1 Cup Shredded Cabbage (optional)

1/8 Cup Soy Sauce

1/2 Tsp. Salt

1/2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Egg slightly beaten (to seal wrappers)

Oil for frying

Dipping Sauce:

1/2 Cup White or Rice Vinegar

1/2 Tsp. Garlic Minced

1/4 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Chili Pepper Flakes (optional)

Directions:

Heat about 1 Tbl. of oil in a wok or large skillet.

Saute chopped onions until they start to turn translucent.

Add minced garlic and saute for about 1 minute, be careful not to burn the garlic.

Add ground beef or whatever meat you are using.  If you are using shrimp add them later after veggies have cooked as shrimp cook quickly and will over cook if you have to cook veggies.

Add salt and pepper.  Cook until meat is well done and crumbly.

Add beans, carrots, cabbage if you are using them.  Cook until soft.

Add Bean Sprouts and cook until soft.

Gently stir in Tofu and soy sauce.

Remove from heat, drain liquid from pan, and set aside.

Thaw egg roll wrappers and remove from package.

Separate wrappers being careful not to tear.  Place on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel.  You will be using one wrapper at a time so keep the others under the damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.

Take one wrapper and place on flat surface.

Place about 1 to 1 1/2 heaping tbl. of filling along one side of the wrapper.

Fold over both ends and roll like a burrito.

Brush some beaten egg on the wrapper to seal.

Place on a plate if you will be frying the same day or place in freezer bag if you plan on freezing them for later.

Repeat until you use all the wrappers.

When you’re ready to fry heat about 2″ of oil in a pan or use your deep fryer.

If you are frying the ones you just made, fry them in hot oil until they turn dark golden brown.

Place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Serve hot.

If you are frying frozen lumpia, carefully place FROZEN lumpia in the heated oil.  Do not thaw them as they will get too soft and fall apart.  Fry them until dark golden brown.

To make the sauce just add all the sauce ingredients into a bowl and stir.

Other options for the fillings include shredding sweet potatoes, chopped water chestnuts, sliced bamboo shoots,and pretty much anything you like.


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Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

Asian restaurants specializing in Korean Fried Chicken seem to be popular these days.  Bonchon Chicken, a franchise from South Korea has opened over 100 restaurants around the country.

So what is Korean Fried Chicken and how does it differ from other fried chicken?  Korean Fried Chicken or KFC as it’s known to some is chicken that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  But what sets it apart is that sticky sweet and spicy sauce it’s dipped in.  It really is delicious!

If one were to travel to South Korea you’d find many fast food joints dedicated to this dish; each one touting their own special sauce.  But traveling to South Korea, or just about anywhere right now, doesn’t seem to be a realistic option for many of us.  So as I’ve been sharing some of my favorite foods from all over the world.  In short bringing home the flavors and memories of my travels.  Today I’ll share a recipe for Korean Fried Chicken, my family says it tastes just like the real stuff!

This recipe takes a bit more effort to make and probably a trip to the Asian Market for a couple of the ingredients, but believe me it’s well worth the effort.  In an absolute pinch if you can’t find Goochujang Paste, the Korean Chili Paste, you can substitute Sriracha chili sauce or a Thai Chili Paste, it will be close but not the same.

The recipe is divided in 4 stages; the marinade, the coating, the sauce, and the garnish.  You can make the sauce ahead of time and reheat just before serving.  To maintain the crispiness chicken should be served as soon as it’s fried, it looses the crispness as it cools.  I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but boneless skinless breasts can be used as well.

Korean Fried Chicken

Ingredients:
The Marinade:

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite size chunks

1 Cup Buttermilk

1 Tsp. Salt

1/2 Tsp. White Pepper

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

The Coating:

1 1/2 Cup flour

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp. Chili Flakes

Oil for frying

The Sauce:

2 Tbs. Gochujang Paste

2 Tbs. Honey

4 Tbs. Brown Sugar

4 Tbs. Soy Sauce

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

2 Tsp. Minced Giner

1 Tbs. Vegetable Oil

1 Tbs. Sesame Oil

Garnish:

1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbs. White Sesame Seeds

1 Tbs. Black Sesame Seeds

1/2 Small onion thinly sliced

Directions:

Mix Marinade ingredients together and pour into a Ziplock bag.

Add chicken and coat with the marinade.

Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a large pan of vegetable oil, make sure you have about 2 inches of oil in the pan.

Mix the coating in a bowl.

Lift pieces of chicken from the marinade and let the excess drip off.

Drop into the hot oil until it’s cooked.  Coating should be deep golden brown and if you cut a piece of chicken in half the meat should not be pink.

Drain cooked pieces of chicken on paper towels and keep warm until all the chicken has been fried and the sauce is done.

Place all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and stir.

Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Place cooked chicken into a large bowl, pour sauce over it and gently tossed until all chicken pieces are coated with sauce.

Move to serving dish and garnish with cilantro, onions, and sesame seeds.

Served with steamed white rice and Stir Fried Baby Bok Choi this dish is amazing!

 

 

 

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Easy Crab Cakes with Remoulade

Easy Crab Cakes with Remoulade

I just love Crab Cakes, don’t you?  What’s not to like?  They’re crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and delicious to boot!

For some reason I used to think Crab Cakes were something you ordered as an appetizer at a fancy restaurant, that is until I realized just how easy they are to make at home.  Actually what prompted me to explore the making of crab cakes were the Crab Cake burgers they had on the menu at Ruby Tuesday’s.  I loved them!  Then for whatever reason they disappeared from the menu, boo!  In the end I decided that Carb Cakes were super easy to make, and guess what, you can even make a bunch to freeze for later use!

So know not only do we make homemade Crab Cakes for those Crab Cake burgers, we make them for potlucks, game days, birthday parties, and other events.  They’re great appetizers and snacks too of course!

For the best Crab Cakes I use Jumbo Lump Crab meat or if I can’t find that Lump Crab meat is the next best thing.  I avoid using canned crab meat as it’s too shredded and in my opinion has a fishier smell and taste.

So here’s my recipe for Crab Cakes and Remoulade, which is a must have!  Remoulade is the dipping sauce for the cakes and I also use it as a condiment when making crab cake burgers.

Crab Cake

Ingredients:

1 Lb. Jumbo Lump Crab meat

1/4 Cup Panko

2 Tsp. fresh parsley chopped

2 Stalks Green onions chopped

1 Tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

1 Egg

1/2 Tsp. Dijon Mustard

1 Tbs. Mayonaise

Oil for frying

Directions:

Combine crab, panko, parsley, green onion, and Old Bay in a bowl.  Mix well, it should be lumpy so don’t over mix it.

In a separate bowl beat egg, mayo, and mustard together.

Combine with crab mixture until it’s evenly distributed.

Form into patties – larger patties for burgers or small ones for appetizers.

Place on a sheet covered with parchment paper and refrigerate for about 1/2 hour or until firm.

Heat oil in pan and pan fry patties until it turns brown and crispy on the outside, gently turn over and fry other side.

Drain on paper towels before serving.

Remoulade

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Mayonaise

1 stalk green onion chopped

1 Tsp. relish

1 Tsp. Hot Sauce (I use Crystal or Louisiana)

1 Tbs. Horseradish (not the creamy type)

1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard

1/8 Tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper

Directions:

Mix everything together.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

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Meat Filled Piroshki

Meat Filled Piroshki

For years now I usually write about travel on my Wednesday articles.  Lately due to the worldwide Pandemic travel has become difficult and many times ill advised.

Many of us have chosen to stay home this summer perhaps planning our next trip whenever we feel safe enough to venture further away from home.  In our case I’m not really sure when that will be, specially since cruising is one of our favorite vacation travel.  Sadly the cruising industry has canceled cruises thru September and will likely cancel cruises thru fall and possibly the rest of the year.

Yes we’re sad and even restless.  We haven’t been able to visit our daughter and her family in Italy since last fall.  And yes we miss traveling.  That’s why I’ve been trying to bring a little bit of our travels in to our home.  What better way to “re-live” some of our favorite vacation spots than thru food.  I’ve decided to share some of our favorite cuisine which we discovered during our travels.  Because isn’t food a big part of traveling anyway?

So for the next little while on my Wednesday post I’ll share a recipe for a favorite food we discovered during our travels.  I hope it will inspire you to try something different and maybe make plans to visit one of the countries!

Today I’ll share this Piroshki recipe.  Piroshkis are very similar to American meat pies, British Pasties, Middle Eastern Fatayer,  and even Empanadas from Mexico, Spain, and other Latin countries.

Piroshkis are a popular street or comfort food in Russia and the Ukraine.  They’re fried or baked oblong buns (I prefer the fried) filled with a variety of fillings including beef, chicken, pork, mushrooms, and cheese.  In Russia they’re considered a main course when eaten with a soup or salad.  It’s often served with sour cream.

Today I’ll share a recipe for Beef or Chicken filled Piroshkis.  They’re not too difficult to make and if you’re not used to working with yeast breads this is a fine recipe to start with as it’s fairly simple.

Meat Filled Piroshkis

Ingredients for the dough:

4 cups flour

1 Tsp. Active dry yeast

1/4 Cup warm water

1 Cup Milk

3 Eggs

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Tsp. Salt

Filling Ingredients:

1 Lb. Ground Beef, Turkey, or Chicken

1 Large Onion very finely chopped

1/2 Cup Mushrooms very finely chopped

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Pepper

2 Tbs. Fresh Dill

1 Tsp. Dried Dill

1 Tbs. Fresh Garlic – minced

Oil for frying

Directions:

First prepare dough as follows:

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and place in a warm place until it’s frothy – about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan on low heat pour in milk and let warm up.

Whisk in the eggs, oil, sugar, and salt.  This mixture will be warm and lumpy.

Remove from heat.

Place 1/2 of flour in bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand).  Using the dough hook gradually stir in the milk mixture until fully combined.

Alternately add yeast mixture and rest of the flour, be sure you mix well between additions.

Mix well.

Knead until the dough forms a ball and does not stick to sides of bowl.  You may have to add some more flour (1 Tbs. spoon at a time) to get the dough to the proper consistency.

Cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. About 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

When dough has doubled in size place the ball into a lightly floured surface.

Pinch of pieces of dough to form a ball about 2″.

Flatten dough and using a rolling pin roll each ball into disks about 4″ in diameter.

Place a heaping Tbs. of filling in the center of dough.  Form filling into a line across the diameter.  Fold dough over meat and pinch both ends to seal.

Place filled piroshki on to a sheet with the seam side down and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat enough oil in a pan deep enough so that the piroshkis will be at least halfway immersed in oil.

Place piroshki in hot oil seam side down.  Fry until golden brown.

Gently flip over and fry other side.

Drain cooked piroshki on paper towels before serving.

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