I’m not a fan of monotony. Although there are dishes that I consider all-time favorites — like adobo — every time I cook a dish, there is always something different. Maybe, it’s the cut of meat, the cooking procedure, the ratio of ingredients… You can view it as a never-ending attempt to make something good even better. After all, a cook is only as good as the last dish that he or she cooked, much as a writer is only as good as the last book or article that he or she wrote.
Consider the omelet. Nothing can be as basic. Beaten eggs, seasoned, fried flat. But what go with the eggs can vary every time. Many people I know have this mindset that there is a very definite combination of meat and vegetables that should go into an omelet — ham, capsicum (bell peppers), onion, carrot… and cheese. Mushrooms come to mind but not everyone likes mushrooms.
Try going to a buffet where you can order a custom omelet. Observe what most people will choose among the available ingredients for the filling. See how many will pick out things like olives. Nine times out of ten, they will choose the “usual.” And that’s really sad because they will never know that good can be better, or that there are different varieties of “good.”
When choosing vegetables to go into an omelet, there really is only one important thing to consider — the veggies must not contain too much water because the added liquid will make the omelet soggy if not altogether soupy. Hence, when using water-packed vegetables like spinach, it is better to blanch the leaves first and squeeze out the water.
Personally, for omelets, I like vegetables that retain their crunch and their shape. That’s why stalks are among my favorites — celery, asparagus, kailan (Chinese broccoli) tips and pechay (bok choy) tips.
Recipe: Kailan and bok choy tips omelet
- 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
- 1/2 c. of diced kailan tips
- 1/2 c. of diced bok choy tips
- 2 tbsps. of diced carrot
- 2 tbsps. of diced capsicum (bell pepper)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 tbsp. of minced garlic
- chopped cooked meat, whatever you prefer (I used leftover barbecued pork)
- 1 tbsp. of oyster sauce
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- 4 eggs, beaten
- salt and pepper
- cilantro, crisp onion slices (home made or store bought) and toasted garlic bits
- Make a stir fry for the filling. Heat 1 tbsp. of cooking oil. Add the kailan tips, bok choy tips, carrot and capsicum. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir fry for about a minute or until just done. Add the onion and garlic, stir fry for another 30 seconds then dump in the meat. Pour in the oyster sauce, stir fry for another 30 seconds then turn off the heat. Drizzle in the sesame seed oil, stir and set aside.
- Heat half of the remaining cooking oil in an omelet pan. Pour in the half of the beaten eggs. Cook just until set but the center still wet.
- Spoon the stir fry at the center of the omelet, fold the omelet over and cook until the underside is lightly browned. Flip to brown the opposite side.
- Repeat with the remaining eggs and stir fry.
- Sprinkle cilantro, crisp onion and toasted garlic bits on top of the omelet. Serve at once.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 12 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 4