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Tortang Talong, Filipino Aubergine Omelette

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Tortang talong on a plate with banana ketchup and greens.

Have you ever lived in shared accommodation? Back in the day, I found myself living with six other housemates in a tiny terraced brick house. Although I’m glad that time is behind me now, it did result in some fantastic culinary education! One day, wondering what to make with the only groceries I had left — aubergine and eggs — one of my housemates, seeing I was struggling, chimed up. Knowing I was vegetarian, he suggested I should make a dish from his home country, the Phillippines. Can you guess it? That’s right, it was the beloved tortang talong. 

Since my housemate knew my love for Indian recipes, he explained that tortang talong is made similarly to baingan bharta — by roasting the whole aubergine directly over the gas flame and then peeling off the charred skin. Infusing a smoky subtlety into the dish while simultaneously rendering the flesh tender, soft, and juicy, this technique is something you need to try. That day he showed me how to cook authentic Filipino tortang talong, and it’s been my go-to recipe for long aubergines ever since. 

Filipino tortang talong with banana ketchup.

What is Tortang Talong?

Tortang talong is a Filipino aubergine omelette (or eggplant omelet, for my U.S. readers) dish. We make it by roasting an aubergine whole until it’s burnt and smoky, peeling off the skin, and dipping the vegetable in a savory egg batter. It’s equally delicious and simple! If you haven’t heard of the dish before, this is your chance to try something new — it will impress.

Where Did Tortang Talong Originate?

Although historians are unsure when this dish first entered the culinary consciousness, we are sure of one thing: tortang talong originated in the Philippines, where it’s eaten as a breakfast or lunch meal.

The dish’s Filipino roots are evident in its name: “torta” translates to “fritter,” and “talong” means “aubergine” or “eggplant.” Occasionally, it’s abbreviated as “tortalong.” In the Philippines, “torta” refers to a whole category of omelet-like dishes, although this aubergine omelette may be the most widespread.

It’s also a great example of Spanish influence in the Philippines — note the similarities between the Spanish word for a savory cake (“torta”) and the Spanish word for an omelette, “tortilla.”

Filipino aubergine omelette with banana ketchup.

What is Tortang Talong Made Of?

You only need a few pantry staples to make this mouth-watering dish. For quanities and cooking instructions, please scroll down to the recipe card.

  • Japanese eggplants or long aubergine are essential for the tortang talong. The long, narrow shape makes them perfect for cooking. Italian eggplants (also called globe eggplants) are far too fleshy, meaning they take longer to cook and won’t flatten properly.
  • Eggs form the batter for the aubergine. I recommend using the best eggs you can get your hands on since it’s such a crucial flavor for the dish. 
  • Vegetarian fish sauce is optional, but it flavors the omelet mixture fantastically. 
  • Sea salt and black pepper are essential seasonings. Add them to your taste. 
  • Canola or another neutral cooking oil is needed to fry the Filipino aubergine omelette in your pan/skillet. 
  • Sesame oil tastes unbelievably good drizzled on top of the tortang talong! It’s optional and not traditional, but I highly recommend it. 

Is Tortang Talong Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free?

This tortang talong recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free, making it an incredible breakfast or lunch option for many people with dietary preferences.

If you choose to add a dash of umami-packed vegetarian fish sauce to your egg batter, make sure to check the ingredients. Some brands may contain soy, which can be a problem for people with soy allergies. You can skip this ingredient, or if you don’t have an issue with soy, ignore this note!

Unfortunately, tortang talong isn’t typically vegan since it’s an egg-based aubergine omlette. However, there are ways it can be made plant-based. Just keep reading …

Tortang Talong Without Egg

If you’re vegan and don’t want to miss out on the tantalizing flavors of tortang talong, I’ve got good news for you! While the traditional dish isn’t plant-based, there’s just one simple swap you need to make for an egg-free omelette. 

Use your favorite egg replacement brand — if you’re in the U.S., my go-to is JUST Egg. 2 Eggs are roughly equivalent to 100 – 110g, so weigh out that amount of egg replacer. 

Alternatively, whisk together chickpea flour (besan/garbanzo bean flour) with water to make a smooth, nutty batter. Since chickpea flour has a natural nuttiness that eggs lack, the resulting flavor will be different — more akin to an Indian onion bhaji — but nonetheless delicious. Plus, the good news is chickpea flour is gluten-free, so this option is still suitable for those with gluten allergies or intolerances. Win-win! 

A piece of tender eggplant omelet on a fork.

How to Cook Tortang Talong

Tortang talong is a minimalistic dish that’s easy for anyone to master — even beginners in the kitchen. Below is a simple outline of the cooking process, although for fully detailed instructions and ingredient quantities, you should scroll down to the recipe card.

  1. Whole roast the aubergine over a gas hob, until the skin is blackened and charred. You can also do this over BBQ coals, or alternatively, an oven grill. 
  2. Peel and flatten the aubergine. The skin should flake off easily. Then run a fork gently down the aubergine, flattening the flesh while keeping it all intact. 
  3. Whisk up the egg mixture with eggs, minced garlic cloves, vegetarian fish sauce (optional), salt, and cracked black pepper. 
  4. Dip the aubergine into the egg mixture. 
  5. Fry the tortang talong in oil until browned and crispy. 

How to Cook Tortang Talong Without Grilling

  • How to cook tortang talong on an electric stove: Use a square griddle/grill pan on an electric stove to roast the aubergine, then continue with the recipe as usual.
  • How to cook tortang talong in the oven: Set your oven to grill mode (or, in the U.S., broil) and preheat to 200 C (392 F). Arrange your aubergines, uncovered, on a baking tray. There’s no need to add oil. Cook them for around 20 – 25 minutes or until the skin has darkened. Wait for them to cool, then peel and continue with the recipe.
  • How to cook tortang talong in an air fryer: Grease your air fry basket with cooking oil and preheat to 200 degrees C (392 F). Add the aubergines and cook for 25 minutes.
  • Tortang talong boiled: Bring a large saucepan of salted boiling water to boil. Add the aubergines and cook for around 20 minutes or until the aubergine is soft. Note: This method doesn’t imbue the dish with the same smoky flavor, so it’s ideally not what I’d recommend.

Top tip!

You’ll achieve far and away the best flavor in your tortang talong with the traditional method: burning the whole aubergine directly over a gas flame (or even better, coals!). This method is guaranteed to inject that irresistible smoky essence into the aubergine, adding a subtle depth of flavor to every bite. It’s also by far the quickest, taking an average of around 10 minutes — half the time!

Tortang talong on a plate with banana ketchup, cress, and a fork.

Is Tortang Talong Healthy?

Absolutely! Tortang talong is a healthy and nutritious vegetarian breakfast recipe packed with surprising amounts of heart-healthy vitamins, minerals, and fiber, thanks to the health benefits of aubergines. While aubergines aren’t high in protein, the eggs make up for that — resulting in a perfectly balanced meal. 

On the search for more nourishing vegetarian breakfast recipes? Consider South Indian fluffy idli or filling Maharashtrian kanda batata pohe

Calories in Tortang Talong

One serving (one aubergine omelette) of tortang talong contains just 70 calories. However, it’s vital to note that nutrition calculators aren’t always accurate, and these only figures apply to this Oh My Veg recipe.

Please be sure to avoid disordered eating and maintain a healthy relationship with food! 🤗

Close up of greens on Filipino tortang talong.

What to Eat With Tortang Talong

I adore eating tortang talong with a crisp, light side salad and no other additions. The light seasoning and succulent texture of the aubergine is enough for me! However, if you’d like to add something extra to your meal to make it more substantial or learn more ways the traditional dish is eaten in the Philippines, we’ve got some ideas for you.

  • Eat tortang talong with rice is by far the best way to eat tortang talong as a filling lunch! Whether you whip up a simple fluffy steamed rice recipe or opt for a more protein-dense egg-fried rice doesn’t matter, as any option will be delicious!
  • Tortang talong with giniling is a popular form of rellenong talong, or stuffed aubergine omelette. It uses a flavorsome and hearty Filipino ground pork stew called “giniling,” which is spooned on top of the aubergine while it’s frying, and then gets covered in more egg. For a vegetarian version of this classic dish, you can use a meat alternative (I love omnipork). 
  • Banana ketchup and tortang talong are like yin and yang; never seen without each other. The popular Filipino condiment is a fruity ketchup made from — you guessed it, bananas — that captures the same tangy, sweet, and intensely savory notes as tomato ketchup. While its natural color is a deep yellow, it’s often dyed red to resemble tomato ketchup. Break off a piece of the eggplant omelet and dip it in the banana ketchup for a culinary flavor explosion!

Can You Freeze Tortang Talong?

I always recommend making this Filipino classic fresh. Similarly to other egg-based breakfast dishes like Indian spiced omelet or spinach baked crêpes, it’s best eaten straight from the pan and doesn’t taste the same once reheated.

If you’re short on time, I recommend freezing the whole grilled aubergines and then defrosting them once you’re ready to cook the aubergine omelette. If you have the means, it’s also quickest to cook them directly over a gas flame — it takes less than 10 minutes.

While I can’t condone freezing tortang talong, if you can’t eat the dish fresh, store it in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to three days. Once you’re ready to reheat the dish, use either a microwave, stovetop, baking tray (in the oven), or air fryer to reheat the omelette.

This Recipe Is …

  • Authentic and tasty
  • Soft, juicy, and tender
  • Vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free
  • Healthy and non-greasy
  • Easy to make!
Tortang Talong, Filipino Aubergine Omelette

Tortang Talong, Filipino Aubergine Omelette

Yield: 4
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This quick Filipino tortang talong recipe is packed with umami-rich smoky flavors and makes for a delicious vegetarian breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 4 Small Japanese (Long) Aubergines
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Vegetarian Fish Sauce (optional)
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whole roast the aubergine*. Using a medium-sized ring, turn the flame to high. Balance one or two aubergines directly on top of the flame (you can use a metal grilling rack to make this easier) and cook until the skin is completely blackened and charred.** Leave it to cool.
  2. Peel and flatten the aubergine. The skin should flake off easily and can be discarded. Then run a fork gently down the aubergine, flattening the flesh while keeping it intact from the top. 
  3. Whisk up the egg mixture with eggs, minced garlic cloves, vegetarian fish sauce (optional), salt, and cracked black pepper. Mix until smooth.
  4. Pre-heat oil in a pan (cast iron or non-stick is best)
  5. Dip the aubergine into the egg mixture, and then carefully lower it into the pre-oiled hot pan. Cook one side until it's gorgeously crispy, then spoon over any excess egg mixture and carefully flip the tortang talong.
  6. Repeat with all the eggplant omelets.

Notes

* For alternative cooking methods including using an air-fryer, oven, barbecue, or even boiling, please see the article section "How to cook tortang talong" above.

** Don't forget to start your fan, otherwise you risk the fire alarms going off due to the burning smell! Also, open your kitchen windows if the aroma bothers you.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 70Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 240mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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