You say “Tortilla,” I say “Torta,” let’s call the whole thing…by L

… an omelette. 🙂

Torta: A Filipino Omelette Story

In our household, a number of languages are spoken throughout the day. You’ll hear English, Tagalog, Catalan and Castellano. Along with a diverse number of languages, also comes a variety of dishes coming out of our kitchen.

Onions from Holesovice Market

My mom is in town and at the moment, our stomachs are being well nourished by her homemade Filipino dishes. I love my mom’s cooking and her meals remind me of growing up and living under her roof all over again, minus the curfews. When my brothers and I were kids, we always looked forward to eating Mom’s “Torta.”

Fresh carton of eggs from the Andel Market

For a Filipino person, the word “torta,” means an omelette made with a mix of different ingredients. This could be eggs made with any of the following: eggplant, onions, tomatoes, ground meat, potatoes, green peas or peppers. Some “tortas” can be prepared using one of these ingredients or a combination of them. For this post, mom used onions, potatoes, red and green peppers. As winter continues to push autumn away, (our first snowfall was on Oct.27th!) we will begin to depend on these kinds of vegetables, as well as carrots and cabbage to get us through the coldest of seasons.

Czech potatoes from Holesovice Market

Now, back to our language study. Well, “torta” in Spanish means cake and it is highly probable that this word was adopted by Filipinos when Spain conquered the Philippine islands many decades ago. What’s interesting to me about the use of this word, is how a Filipino “torta” does resemble a small pancake. In my husband’s native soil of Spain, this dish would be referred to as “tortilla.” In Spain, this word does not mean a piece of flat bread used to hold a number of hearty Mexican fillings inside. A “tortilla” is an omelette that is also made with a variety of fillings, such as potatoes, onions, tuna, spinach or my all-time favorite: artichokes. The main difference between the Filipino and the Spanish one is that my people’s version comes in several small round pancake size servings, whereas the Spanish style omelette is as large as the pan it is cooked in and meant to be cut and served at the table. (My husband makes a very tasty “tortilla de patata” and I hope he will guest blog about it in the future.)

Peppers in all sorts of shades from the Andel Market

With the sudden changes of temperature in Prague, it looks like the forecast will be potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes to come. So, Prague friends and those outside our borders, when you are tired of your usual bramborak (the Czech potato pancake) try the Filipino version!

Mama de la Isla’s Torta Special (Makes about 24 small-medium sized pieces of torta)

Mama de la Isla: the one and only!

8 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces

8 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 tomato, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

7 medium-sized eggs

1/2 red pepper, chopped into small pieces

1/2 green pepper, chopped into small pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large pan.

Add garlic, onion, tomatoes and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Then add the potatoes.

Stir well and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl.

Add the chopped pepper.

When the potato mixture is ready, let it cool then add it to the eggs and pepper.

If the potatoes are too hot, it will cook the egg and you don’t want that to happen.

Stir until well combined.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan, turn heat to low.

Drop about 1/3 of a cup of the mix to the pan. (There is no need to add extra oil for frying because there is enough oil in the mixture.)

When the bottom looks cooked, take your most trusted spatula and carefully flip the torta over.

Repeat until all the mixture has disappeared.

Enjoy with a plate of rice and tomatoes. (I like to also have a side of ketchup on hand. Yes, I am a true Filipina!)

OR… as a sandwich

¡Torta con pan!


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