Tapsilog, A Philippine Breakfast

I have been in the middle of the breakfast hype when I just realized that I completely forgot about the most fundamental of all. But first, grab a chair, a plate of tapsilog and a glass of spremuta (freshly squeezed orange juice) and join me for breakfast. Today, we will deviate from the typical Italian breakfast of cornetto & cappuccino and move to a place close to my heart, the Philippines. I will explain to you what this plate is all about. 

Tapsilog is a Philippine breakfast composition of three types of food on a plate in local language.  Tap (beef tapa) - si (sinangag or fried rice) - log (itlog or egg).  There are other variants to this ternion dish but this is the most popular one and perhaps the original one that combined this term derived from the composing parts. And well, because this is my favorite among the other kinds.  

Let's start with the rice.  Fried rice is simply day-old rice sauteed in a big saucepan with a piece or two of garlic and oil.  Leftover rice is better over newly steamed rice because it tastes better when the humidity of the rice already seeped away.  For the eggs, they are usually fried but I prefer mine poached.  And the main component, the beef tapa.  They are thinly sliced beef rubbed with salt & other spices and fried.  There are so many different versions of the marinades that it's already hard to understand the real mixture.  Over a period, I tried about a couple of recipes prior to this but they didn't come out well.  One was with soy sauce and the other one was with fish sauce.  None of the two worked for me.  

The other day, I chanced upon Jennifer Aranas' beef tapa recipe.  Reading the ingredients and the procedure gave me hope because as far as I know, beef tapa is originally done by rubbing spiced salt. I would accurately dub this version as an almost beef tapa.  The taste is almost there but not really there. That is really an odd way of describing something but I know you understood me.  Inspite of that, I loved it.  It adapts to the taste of my husband and kids.  There is no explosive garlic among the ingredients which I am not so fanatical about lurking in my mouth first thing in the morning. In Jennifer's recipe, there is a substantial amount of cayenne powder which with kids, is not a good idea so I switched it to mild paprika.   

Get to know this breakfast composition.  I love it, maybe you will like it too.

Buon appetito!

Tapsilog, a Philippine Breakfast

Serves 4
  • 800 g. thinly sliced sirloin beef, cut into big strips  
  • 1-1/4 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. mild paprika (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • extra virgin olive oil (or whatever oil you have)
  • 1 - 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar (for poaching the egg)
  • 100 g. cherry tomatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar (or any type of vinegar) (optional)
  • salt & pepper (optional)
  1. Pound the meat with a tenderizer.  
  2. In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, paprika and black pepper. 
  3. Brush both sides of the beef slices with the lime juice and sprinkle with the spices. Stack the slices and refrigerate overnight. 
  4. To make the fried rice, prepare a saucepan that can accommodate all the rice that you have.  Warm up the saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, toast the garlic and add the rice.  Season with salt.  Stir until the rice is well coated with oil.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Set aside.  
  5. Meantime, if poaching the eggs, boil some water in a saucepan.  When it boils, put the flame down so it simmers.  Add 2 tablespoons of vingegar.  Slide in one egg at a time.  Cook for 3 minutes each.  Take away with a slotted spoon.  If frying the egg, prepare a saucepan with oil and fry the egg when the oil warms up.
  6. Prepare the tomato salad by mixing the tomatoes in a bowl with 2 or more tablespoons of vinegar, salt & pepper.  Set aside.
  7. To cook the beef tapa, warm up a saucepan with oil.  Cook the beef in a single layer and cook in batches over medium - high heat until slightly charred. 
  8. Serve at once with fried rice, fried or poached egg & tomato salad.