A one-pot, two-dish Filipino recipe for under $10

Ginisang bitsuelas and torta

[flickrset id=”72157626373743089″ thumbnail=”square” overlay=”true” size=”large”]

My mother taught me another recipe from our family’s archives the last time we visited her in Everett. It was an instant hit in our household, not only for its economy but for its amazing versatility. I’ve been tweaking and perfecting these variations for my non-Filipino and vegetarian guinea pigs; they insist that it’s time to share the details with them (and the world).

Since this recipe can make two different dishes, I’ve separated the ingredient lists and steps below into the base sautée, the green bean variation, and the potato variation.

Our favourite way to take advantage of this? We make the base, use a third of it for the green bean stir-fry to serve immediately, and use the same pan to make the potato variation from the remaining base, which is reserved in the fridge and then finished for a hearty breakfast the following morning.

When you try it out, let me know how you vary the recipe to suit your household’s palate.

The base sautée


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 lb lean ground pork [vegetarian: omit or substitute diced extra firm tofu]
  • 2 tablespoons a) fish sauce, b) tamari soy sauce, or c) light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced


  1. In a large wok or skillet, sweat garlic and onion in oil over low heat until onions are translucent. Don’t burn the garlic.
  2. Increase heat to med/high and add pork, fish sauce, and water. Stir to break the pork into tiny chunks. Cover and boil for 20 minutes until pork is cooked and liquid is completely absorbed.  [Vegetarian: skip step or use tofu and soy instead.]
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in tomatoes and cook until soft and thoroughly incorporated.

Dish #1: Ginisang Bitsuelas (sautéed green beans)

Ginisang bitsuelas (saute?ed green beans)


  • 1/3 of the base sautée, above
  • 1/2 lb green beans, thinly sliced on the oblique
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Freshly cracked ground pepper to taste


  1. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, thinly slice your stash of green beans at a steep 20 degree angle. (That’s about as steep as the slant of a sandwich board.) If you’re really handy with a razor blade or are as old-school as my mom is, take a razor like the one above and shave off the slices like you would peel a carrot. Just don’t catch your wrist in it…

Razor blade, by scottfeldstein on Flickr

Razor blade, by scottfeldstein on Flickr (Creative Commons)

  1. Stir the green beans into the base sautée. Cover and cook on low/med heat until green beans soften and intensify their verdant colour. Don’t overcook – you want ’em al dente for best mouthfeel results.
  2. Add butter and pepper to taste. If it isn’t salty enough, reseason with fish or soy sauce. Serve on a mound of steamed rice.

Dish #2: Torta (Filipino frittata)

Torta and banana ketchup


  • 3/4 of the base sautée, above
  • 1 medium Russet potato, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Freshly cracked ground pepper to taste


  1. Add potato to base sautée. Cover and cook on low/med heat until potatoes are softened.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and cool mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. At this point, you can also call it a night and do the rest in the morning.
  3. Whisk eggs. Pour into cooled base and mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat oil on low heat in non-stick skillet or wok. Pour in a circle of the egg batter – about 3 heaping tablespoons’ worth. Season with pepper if desired. Cook, covered, until egg is firmly set.
  5. Flip over – using a plate if the torta is larger than your flipper – and cook reverse side for 1 minute or till lightly browned.
  6. Served with steamed rice and a side of (banana) ketchup or sweet and sour sauce.

3 Replies to “A one-pot, two-dish Filipino recipe for under $10”

  1. Good one! Odd that they missed flitoung the jejune “carb loading” aspects of their tacky gunk for high-performance athletes, as was done in the comments on Krispy Kreme. This would have opened the door for them to stand in a league alongside the latter’s donuts as honourable partners for charitable organizations’ health-oriented charity campaigns!

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