Meat and Malunggay Frittata

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At around 7:00 am you can still find me in bed, probably snoring, probably aware that people have woken up already, but most of the time, I don’t have a care in the world. That’s me at 7:00 am. Since my departure from school, being a student and teaching, that has been my routine. I just love sleep.

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Breakfast begins at 9:00 am, that is, if I’m actually in the mood to cook myself something decent. The people in the house are long gone, and I’m left to my own devices. Sometimes, I just wait to have my first meal of the day during lunch at my grandparents’ house, which is just next door.

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But I have my moments too. Moments where I just focus, zone in, get a pan ready, grab things from the fridge and cook. I think I may be on to something here with “one-pan” wonders. Yesterday it was pork with tomatoes for lunch, and today…breakfast/brunch was a really great frittata.

A frittata is just like an omelet, only studded with meat and vegetables, and usually finished off in the oven. You might even throw a pie crust here and there. I remember eating an amazing breakfast buffet at the hotel where we stayed in Hong Kong. There was an “egg station” where all you had to do was point at the fillings you wanted with your eggs, and the chef will make a frittata out of it. There was no oven work involved, and with his small spatula, he masterfully flipped the egg in the equally small pan to cook everything perfectly. It was a damn good frittata.

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And this one? I’d like to believe it’s just as good – probably even better. I had this idea of adding malunggay or moringa leaves to the frittata from a recipe that I read in one of our food magazines lying around. Malunggay, in the Philippines, is usually added to soups, like chicken tinola, to impart an earthy taste that goes perfectly with the ginger in the soup. Strangely enough, when I’m trying to describe malunggay’s taste, the thought of ginger comes to mind.
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It’s crazy overwhelming how nutritious malunggay is. It makes perfect sense to have it for breakfast because the leaves have quadruple the calcium content of regular milk, among other nutrients. We’re lucky enough to have a small tree growing just outside our fence, so all I had to do was grab a bunch.

What’s great about this recipe is that this can easily be a blank canvas. You can replace the chorizo and the meatballs with whatever deli products you might have lying around, keeping in mind that bacon makes everything better (haha). But seriously, don’t skip the malunggay.

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Chorizo, Meatball and Malunggay Frittata (serves 4 Р6)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • malunggay leaves (I used 2 small stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 – 8 meatballs, quartered (or your choice of deli)
  • 3 – 4 chorizos, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (or you choice of deli)
  • 1/8 cup frozen green pease (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  2. Remove the malunggay leaves from the stems and wash under running water.

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    Make sure you remove the leaves from the stem

  3. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add the milk. Beat until everything is incorporated well. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry until lightly brown and fat renders.
  5. Add the meatballs and green peas. Stir to incorporate everything together.
  6. Pour the egg-milk mixture onto the pan. Sprinkle with the malunggay leaves.
  7. When the edges of the omelet have begun to set, remove from heat and place it in the oven. Allow to cook for 10 – 13 minutes, or until the frittata has set all the way through.

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    The edges have begun to set

  8. Remove from the oven (use an oven mit, the pan handle may be hot) and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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The Stove

Ever since I tried bicol express cooked not just with chilies but with eggplant, many many years ago, I have become an eggplant convert. At first, the thought of eating something mushy, kind of like okra (so sue me for my poor descriptive skills), didn’t really appeal to me. But a lot has changed since the first time I tried and actually enjoyed eggplant.

Now, one of my all-time favorite comfort foods would have to be tortang talong or eggplant omelet. There’s something about biting into soft, slightly toasted, smoky eggplant meat that is an experience all on its own. I usually just use liquid seasoning to flavor it some more, but when Mama Eng is in the mood (and I encourage her), she makes a mean “pritong sawsawan” or fried dipping sauce. Toasted minced garlic, onions and a few pieces of sliced bird’s eye chili cooked in oil and soy sauce, paired with the omelet, is a winner.

Today I observed how she makes tortang talong and also helped out in the kitchen a bit, but I don’t have a recipe to share since I’d like to hone my eggplant omelet- making skills some more. I think I’ll let this post simmer a bit before I belt out my own recipe. For now, here’s something you standardized stove owning folks around the world don’t get to see everyday:

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Using this (I’m not really sure what to call it) traditional stove top (?) fueled by burning wood and dried coconut husks…she makes magic. This is also where we cook our paella, and it’s pretty much practical and economical to use.

Well, it’s probably more cumbersome than the regular stove, but it gets the job done.