Mornings, I would wake up to my mom or my grandma cooking. I’d lay in bed with the sun shining through the window, too lazy to even get up and turn on the cartoons. I knew that rice would already be steaming away because there was rice at every meal. I knew eggs would be sizzling in the pan because it was morning. But what I wouldn’t know was what kind of meat we would have because the possibilities were many.
The smell of garlic and onions being sautéed is what would pull me out of bed and tell me that breakfast was almost ready. The mystery would be revealed when I got my plate and started chowing down. Many of those days were rice, eggs, and corned beef days.
And yes, I’m talking about the canned stuff. But we don’t eat it straight out of the can (why would anybody do that to themselves?). Filipinos take the sleeping canned meat from the kitchen cabinet and wake it up with fresh garlic, onions, sometimes tomatoes and other stuff. Then they breathe new life into it all in a sauté pan.
Corned beef is a thing of comfort for many Filipinos. It’s something we grow up with. It’s a reminder of home. It’s a morning norm, and has been ever since World War II when Filipinos embraced A LOT of American influences and incorporated them into everyday life. Guaranteed whenever a Filipino sees corned beef, the first thing they’re thinking isn’t St. Patrick’s Day, but “Breakfast, with the family, on any day of the week.”
FILIPINO CORNED BEEF OMELETTE (Tortang Corned Beef and Cabbage)
1 (15oz) Can Corned Beef
3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
1/2 Cup Onion (Diced)
1 Stalk Green Onions (Sliced)
1 Cup Cabbage (Julienned into Thin Strips)
Banana Ketchup (or regular ketchup) for Garnish
- Pour about a tablespoon of cooking oil of your choice in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is up to temperature, toss the onions in the pan and sauté them until the onions are soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Throw in the cabbage with a three finger pinch of salt, and sauté until the cabbage has softened, about 1 minute.
- Spoon in the corned beef and sauté until the beef has tenderized and rendered some of its fat and juices, about 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes over the pan, stir, and transfer the entire corned beef sauté to a bowl and set on the counter to cool.
- Break two eggs into a separate bowl, add about a half teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper, and whisk with a fork until the egg whites and yolk have completely homogenized.
- Wipe the skillet used for the corned beef clean of any debris and juices, pour in a tablespoon of cooking oil, and place it back on the stove over medium-high heat.
- Once the corned beef is cool to the touch, add two heaping tablespoons of the corned beef sauté to the beaten edge eggs and thoroughly stir.
- Pour the egg and corned beef into the pan. Allow the bottom to cook through and solidify. After about two minutes, gently shake the pan and run a spatula underneath to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan.
- Slide the omelette onto a clean plate, turn the pan upside down, cover the omelette over the plate, and quickly flip both the pan and plate, and brown the other side of the omelette by returning the pan to the heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Repeat steps 7-10 with remaining eggs and corned beef sauté.
- Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Top with banana ketchup (or regular ketchup) and green onions.