03 Aug2006


I have probably eaten over 300 tortang talongs in my entire lifetime and I never cooked it myself until yesterday. It is certainly Pinoy comfort food and the combination of ground meat, egg and eggplant make it a pretty nutritious albeit somewhat fatty dish. Growing up, this was a staple for lunch or an occasional dinner even at our home. And I always ate it with lots of tomato ketchup and rice. atorta2When I asked our current cook how she prepares it, she said she just sautés some onion and garlic in oil, adds ground beef and pork , adds some soy sauce and seasons with cracked black pepper. This is what she stuffs in to the roasted eggplants after the addition of eggs. I suppose many carinderias or canteens make a similar version (though many folks do not use soy sauce but rather tomatoes and other veggies for flavoring) and that is pretty much the taste I grew up with…smoky eggplants, salty meat and egg and fried to caramelized perfection…

This is not a dish we invented, however. I think we can probably attribute it atorta3to a similar dish prepared by the Spaniards called berenjenas rellenas or stuffed eggplants. Using smaller eggplants from the island of Majorca and other southern areas of Spain, the eggplants are fried or roasted and the meat scooped out and added to sautéed minced meat with added spices. Everything is returned to the eggplant casing and baked with breadcrumbs until done. I decided to make some tortang talong so I could put a post on it, but as we started to prep for cooking, I decided to experiment a little with terrific results…

To make, first select some nice medium to large skinny to medium girth atorta4eggplants and roast them over a charcoal fire. Peel the charred skin and set the eggplants aside, leaving the stem ends intact. Slit the eggplant lengthwise and open it up a bit. Next, make the filling for the eggplants. We started by making the cook’s version with sautéed minced onions and garlic with ground beef and pork and some Kikkoman soy sauce and cracked black pepper. Once cooked, set it aside to cool for a few minutes. Incorporate several eggs into the meat mixture, I use one egg for each medium sized eggplant to be made, then put it on top of the roasted and split open eggplant.

Heat up a fish pan (perfect shape for this dish) or a large non-stick skillet and fry the eggplant and meat in some vegetable oil. After a couple of minutes, flip it over and cook the meat side until nicely caramelized. Some other folks, then add meat mixture to the back side to maximize the meat and flavor in this dish. I tend to just use one side of the eggplant. I thought the base meat mixture of the cook looked good but was a bit one dimensional…on the salty side from the Kikkoman which has a tendency to drown other flavors. So I decided to try a less “Asian” version and added ingredients more European in nature…

I heated up a pan, added some olive oil and sautéed some atorta6minced onion and garlic, then added about an eighth of a red bell pepper minced. Sauteed some ground pork and beef and removed some of the excess fat that comes out of the meat. I seasoned with some good sweet Spanish paprika, some oregano, a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce and some chopped chives. Add some salt and cracked black pepper to taste. This filling looked better alongside the soy sauce version. But then again, I’m biased.

We cooked the second version the same way as the first and the resulting tortang talong was really quite delicious. It had a more Mediterranean touch and the minced red peppers and atorta7slight tomato sauce and distinctive flavor provided by the paprika was very appetizing. I ate an entire eggplant made my way and about half of an eggplant made with the Kikkoman. Yum. You can only imagine how much rice and ketchup I consumed!



  1. linda says:

    I love tortang talong! It’s one dish that I cook very often for the family. I always bulk it up by adding cooked and diced potatoes plus your usual ingredients.Try it,MM.

    Aug 3, 2006 | 7:50 am


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  3. Apicio says:

    One of my favourites, if in a jiffy even without the meat filling, as long as the eggplant is Asian (they are sweeter, more flavourful and less likely to be bitter), char-grilled and the black pepper freshly cracked. I would second your conjecture about its Spanish origin since if you ever noticed, they have this penchant for enveloping things in beaten eggs as witness their endless variation of huevos revueltos. Besides, the plant itself was brought by the Moors to Spain where it spread throughout Europe but first through Provence where it found its most exalted use in ratatouille (nudge nudge).

    Aug 3, 2006 | 9:02 am

  4. Mila says:

    For the vegetarians, try substituting mushrooms and tofu for the ground meat, but the filling does need to be drained otherwise you get the mess I had two nights ago. Ah well, culinary experimentation is always fun and, for the most part, edible.

    Aug 3, 2006 | 9:49 am

  5. Jean says:

    Been thinkin’ about making this for hubby. Mila’s suggestion of using tofu and mushrooms sounds very healthy.

    Aug 3, 2006 | 11:08 am

  6. nikka says:

    This is one of my favorite dishes! Though I have to say, the meat ends up more like a coating or shell rather than a filling. I do prefer it with crabmeat though. (and banana ketchup!)

    Aug 3, 2006 | 11:28 am

  7. izang says:

    i love tortang talong but without the meat…will Mila’s suggestion of mushroom and tofu…..thanks…

    Aug 3, 2006 | 12:51 pm

  8. izang says:

    ay kulang, much too excited..hehehe….i will TRY Mila’s suggestion….and eat it with lots of ketchup….

    Aug 3, 2006 | 12:53 pm

  9. mackenzie says:

    One of my faves! I only recently learned how to make tortang talong. Not having any charcoal lying around, I place the eggplant in the toaster oven for about 10 to 20 minutes. Then, I then dip the hot eggplant in water so that it becomes easier to peel. Like Mila, I do it vegetarian style and use mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are my favorite to use. Yum yum!

    Aug 3, 2006 | 1:51 pm

  10. lee says:

    i enjoy eating a simple tortang talong without all the fanfare, the one fried with just beaten eggs and grated cheese. But then again, I would kill for one stuffed to the gills (talong have gills?) with all the goodies, ground meat, mushrooms, cheese, chorizos, tomatoes, garlic, ketchup on the side, lotsa rice… Oh well, I remember I’m on a diet, so this is just a dream sequence fading out to three skyflakes crackers and a glass of water. Mind numbing ice water.

    Aug 3, 2006 | 3:22 pm

  11. CWID says:

    Hi MM, tortang talong is a family favorite. However, I have not mastered the technique for frying the stuffed talong. How do you flip it over without separating the filling from the talong and ending up with a complete mess? Help!

    Aug 3, 2006 | 3:27 pm

  12. Doddie from Korea says:


    I usually add small diced potatoes too in the torta mix. My eldest son is a torta fanatic. He can eat 2 eggplant tortas in one sitting and he is only 11 (and as skinny as a bean pole). I can’t grill because we live in a condo apartment 9 floors high. I usually roast the eggplants directly on my stove burner and put them immediately in a paper bag. This allows the skin to peel off easily after it cools down. I love eating roasted eggplants with just a smidgen of bagoong on the side. Haay… and with tons of steamed rice.

    Aug 3, 2006 | 3:30 pm

  13. millet says:

    tortang talong, in any of its 1,500 variants, is one of staples of carinderias all over the country, together with adobo, nilagang baka, afritada..also in their 25,000 versions. your mediterranean-style torta sounds delicious, will try that soon. for dinner tonight na!

    Aug 3, 2006 | 4:59 pm

  14. Carlo says:

    Yum, this is definitely one of my favorite Pinoy foods! MM, yours looks absolutely delicious.

    Aug 3, 2006 | 7:42 pm

  15. virgilio says:

    i like my tortang talong just with crushed garlic, black pepper, some soya sauce (or fish sauce), and coated with beaten eggs. I sprinkle some coarsely chopped coreander when done. Winter time I would normally grill my eggplants in the oven but when in a hurry I just grill them on hot plate which proves to be even faster :)

    Aug 3, 2006 | 8:15 pm

  16. Bay_leaf says:

    love this dish!

    now i got Michael Franks’ song in my head… Eggplant, cooked 19 different ways. lol. :)

    Aug 3, 2006 | 9:17 pm

  17. shane says:

    thanks mila for that suggestion, i think I will try your recipe. i love tortang talong plain without the meat. yours sound interesting. thanks marketman for this post–it just brought back childhood memories of rainy days in las pinas, our yaya had the habit of preparing tortang talong and serving it with rice and ramen soup and lots of banana ketchup!

    Aug 3, 2006 | 10:34 pm

  18. kaye says:

    yummy!! eggplant is my favorite however way it’s cooked…i cook tortang talong plain with eggs, salt and pepper and a little italian seasoning and my kids love it! lucky me my kids’loves veggies! i just had this last week and my mouth is watering for tortang talong again!!

    Aug 4, 2006 | 3:40 am

  19. trishlovesbread says:

    Does everyone eat tortang talong with ketchup? I must admit I grew up with that combo too but nowadays, I prefer a smoky, sweet, and tangy barbecue sauce alongside it. Give it a try!

    Aug 4, 2006 | 4:02 am

  20. Danney League says:

    Mga Mare/Pare,

    Because tortang talong is a comfort food ala e talaga namang napakasarap. At least now I found a technique much easier by toasting it inside the oven and put it inside a paper bag para madaling tanggalin ang balat. I think soaking it in water after toasting it in the over will cause it to loose some of its vitamins. I find it messy roasting it in an open fire. I love eating tortang talong with lots of catsup.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 10:16 am

  21. Normita F. Enciso says:

    Have you tried tortang talong using banana leaf as sapin when frying. Even here in L.A. I still use the same technique when I cook tortang talong. Even just plain broiled talong dipped in beaten egg is so good. I usually pair tortang talong with ginisang munggo with ampalaya leaves. I think I should buy some Chinese eggplant when I go to the farmers market this Sunday.

    Aug 4, 2006 | 11:51 am

  22. Christine says:

    MM, my mom’s tortang talong is very similar to the second one you made. Except instead of sweet paprike, she uses hot paprika to make it a bit spicy.

    Aug 6, 2006 | 2:13 pm

  23. M says:

    Hi MM, just stumbled on your blog while doing a google search for “macapuno”. This is a nice and very helpful post! I’m not Filipino, but grew up in Batangas and this reminds me of childhood dishes (I hated it then but have come to love it very much now). By a twist of fate, my partner is from the Phils although he’s lived in Australia since his teens and I have been intending to cook his childhood favourites. So your blog will definitely be helpful!

    Aug 28, 2006 | 4:30 pm

  24. Marketman says:

    M, glad you like the site and I hope you find some recipes you can try… Many thanks for visiting Marketmanila.com!

    Aug 28, 2006 | 5:16 pm

  25. Houston says:

    Hi MM, I’ve been one of the “lurkers” on your website, so this is my first post. Simiar to M, I stumbled upon your blog while searching on where to buy Marca Piña queso de bola. Thank you for sharing all of your discoveries.

    Back on topic, I thought I’d post one of my first lessons with charring eggplant. I was with my fianceé at the time and I was really craving eggplant with vinegar and garlic. I had bought eggplants at the grocery store and had put them in the oven for charring (I was in an apartment at the time). After 10 or so minutes, we heard a loud thud. I thought something had fallen out of the cabinet in the kitchen, but I couldn’t find anything. I finally opened the oven and found that the eggplant had exploded and its guts was all over the oven. We had a good laugh about what happened, and it was surely shared with my in-laws to be. I will definitely cut slits or poke holes in the eggplant before charring them for this recipe.

    Sep 3, 2006 | 5:32 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    Houston, welcome to the commenters section! Thanks for that tip on the eggplants… imagine if you tried to microwave it!

    Sep 3, 2006 | 7:00 pm


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