This is my first successful attempt in cheating my way to make this torta. I’ll first tell you how it’s usually made back home.
Most houses would have an outdoor kitchen where people cook food over an open fire. Sometimes when we cook rice and the burning wood turns to ember, we grill the aubergines over the glowing coals. Now aubergines in the PH are different—they’re long and slim, and probably just a third of the size of the aubergines we usually have here in the UK; and they turn soft quickly when cooked. For this dish, in the Tagalog region they would peel the skin off the grilled aubergine, but in the Visayas region they don’t.
My challenge in making this dish here is that the aubergines do not turn soft as mush under the grill even after 20 minutes or more, and even when I’ve sliced them thinly. I tried boiling—but it lost its nutty and sweet flavour. So here’s how I cheated my way through, and the rest of the recipe. If there’s anything I regret that I could not replicate—it’s not being able to keep the stem at the top of the aubergine which is handy in flipping the vegetable over the skillet, and quite a novelty for presentation purposes.
This dish is lovely in its simplicity….
Ingredients (for one portion):
oil for frying
½ aubergine (cubed)
2 eggs (beaten, and with salt & pepper to taste)
1. Pour oil in the skillet. On high heat, fry the cubed pieces of aubergine, browning them a little.
2. Cover and adjust the heat to medium.
3. Stir once in a while, putting the heat to high when so doing, and putting it back to medium when covering again.
4. Once tender, mash the aubergine in the skillet with your fish slice and stir.
5. Without turning off the hob, transfer the mush into the bowl of beaten eggs (with S&P), give it a quick stir, and return to the skillet—aubergines and all.
6. Flip over to cook both sides.
7. Serve and enjoy!