One of my favourite Filipino home-cooked dishes is "torta". I love it because it's simple but really satisfies. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen right now. The best way I can describe it is it's a cross between an omelette and a fritter. It's like an omelette because it's made up of eggs with some kind of filling be it beef, pork or crab, but it's often fried for a lot longer until it browns like a fritter.
Last December, I was invited over for dinner at a friend's place and came across my first cabbage torta. I loved it and got all excited because I happen to think cabbage is another one of those underrated vegetables.
This recipe is my version of cabbage torta. I cooked down the onions and cabbage and didn't add any water so that they would be caramelised instead of stir-fried. I also added a bit cornstarch to help the torta hold its shape. Although I chose to eat it with Japanese mayo and tonkatsu sauce, the flavours of this torta are nothing like an okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake made of cabbage. With an okonomiyaki, the raw cabbage is cooked in the pancake and doesn't caramelise.
1/3 of whole cabbage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1.5 red onions, sliced
3 shallots, cut into 5 cm lengths
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 c plain flour
1 c water
cracked black pepper
optional: Japanese mayo and tonkatsu sauce
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat about 2 T oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Fry onions until they become translucent. Add cabbage in batches so that the pan doesn’t cool too much and lead to stewing. Once all the cabbage is in, reduce heat to medium. Cook down the cabbage and onion mixture until the flavours deepen and become sweet, about 10-15 mins. Season generously with salt as this really brings out the flavours. Add shallots and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool.
Combine eggs, flour and water. Season to taste. When the vegetable mixture has cooled enough, add in the batter and mix well.
Place enough oil in a fry pan to cover the entire base of the pan and heat over medium high heat. Measure out ¼ c of the cabbage mixture into the fry pan. Flatten fritter with a spatula. Fry on both sides until golden brown.
Optional: serve with Japanese mayo and tonkatsu sauce.
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