This Beef Tapa Matzo Brei Silog Perfectly Combines My Filipino and Jewish Cultures

published Oct 1, 2022
Beef Tapa Matzo Brei with Atchara Recipe

This recipe is a combination of two classic breakfasts: Filipino Tapsilog and Jewish Matzo Brei. The savory strips of beef with the oniony scrambled eggs is a winning combination.

Serves4

Prep1 hour 30 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Plate of Beef tapa matzo brei with atchara
Credit: Photo: Paul Crispin Quitoriano; Food Stylist: Jenn de la Vega; Prop Stylist: Charlotte Havelange

This recipe is the coming together of two classic breakfasts I grew up with in my Jewish Filipino household: tapsilog and matzo brei.

Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around breakfast. Whenever we would visit my grandparents in the summer, one of the dishes I loved the most was my grandpa’s garlic fried rice. To this day I tell him that I’ve never been able to make fried rice as good as his. It always makes him laugh because he says it’s an easy meal: leftover rice, garlic, scrambled eggs, and usually SPAM. Occasionally, and most special to me, if there was leftover beef from dinner the night before, he’d slice it up and throw that in instead. Even now, I always ask for it the very first morning on any visit.

One of my other core breakfast memories revolves around my dad. My mom would usually make a special pancake or French toast breakfast every Sunday, but occasionally my dad would take over and make us matzo brei. He’d always make it with matzo, scrambled eggs, onion, and SPAM — it always tickled him to include a piece of Filipino breakfast for us in a Jewish breakfast he grew up with. It always stuck with me and when I moved out on my own and was figuring out how to bring pieces of my Jewish Filipino upbringing into my own home, it was one of the first things I asked how to make.

Credit: Photo: Paul Crispin Quitoriano; Food Stylist: Jenn de la Vega; Prop Stylist: Charlotte Havelange

Atchara is my own addition to this combination of family recipes. Like many in 2020, I went very hard into pickling vegetables and I love the sweeter brine of atchara. I still try to add a pickled onion or carrot to nearly every dish (my dad says I get it from my zeida, who loved to pickle tomatoes). If you’re having trouble finding an unripe papaya for the atchara, daikon radish can be a good substitute. The beef tapa and atchara can be prepared the night before for a quick day-of meal with the matzo brei. The secret to the matzo, according to my dad, is to run it quickly through running water, making sure not to soak it. If the matzo is a little damp it’s easier to break into smaller pieces without creating a lot of crumbs.

This dish is perfect to make when you’re having friends over for a hearty brunch. The rich, savory flavors of the beef tapa, scrambled eggs, and fried matzo are complemented by the fresh, sweet pickled crunch from the atchara.

Beef Tapa Matzo Brei with Atchara Recipe

This recipe is a combination of two classic breakfasts: Filipino Tapsilog and Jewish Matzo Brei. The savory strips of beef with the oniony scrambled eggs is a winning combination.

Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the atchara:

  • 1/2

    medium green bell pepper

  • 1

    medium carrot

  • 1/2

    small green (unripe) papaya (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 cup

    distilled white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 1

    large or 2 small cloves garlic

For the beef tapa:

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    boneless beef sirloin steaks

  • 1/4 cup

    soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 3

    large or 5 small cloves garlic

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

For the matzo brei:

  • 1

    small white onion, or 1/2 medium to large white onion

  • 3

    large or 5 small cloves garlic

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 4 square sheets

    matzo

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Make the atchara:

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Thinly slice 1/2 medium green bell pepper (about 3/4 cup). Peel and cut 1 medium carrot into matchsticks (about 3/4 cup). Peel 1/2 small green papaya, then scrape out the seeds. Cut the papaya into matchsticks (about 1 1/2 cups).

  2. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt and toss until evenly coated. Let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the brine.

  3. Place 1 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute.

  4. Remove from the heat and let cool until room temperature, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice 1 (1-inch) piece ginger (2 tablespoons) and 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves (1 tablespoon). Place the garlic and ginger in a quart-sized jar or airtight container.

  5. Transfer the bell pepper mixture to a colander and rinse under cold water. Working in 2 or 3 batches, transfer to a double layer of cheesecloth, lint-free kitchen towel, or cold brew bag, gather up the sides, and squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Add to the jar.

  6. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar. Use a chopstick to stir and make sure the ginger and garlic are evenly distributed. Seal and refrigerate at least 8 hours or preferably overnight. Meanwhile, marinate the beef.

Marinate the beef:

  1. Place 1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin steaks in the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Meanwhile, place 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup. Mince 3 large or 5 small garlic cloves (about 1 tablespoon), add to the soy sauce mixture, and whisk until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

  2. Thinly slice the beef across the grain and place in a large zip top bag. Add the marinade and toss the beef until evenly coated. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. (This is a good time to cut up the onion and garlic for the matzo brei. Refrigerate in separate airtight containers.)

Cook the beef tapa:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the beef and spread into an even layer. Cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the beef and cook until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Use tongs to transfer to a plate. Repeat cooking the remaining beef. Return all the beef to the pan, remove the pan from the heat, and cover to keep warm.

Make the matzo brei:

  1. Thinly slice 1 small white onion or 1/2 medium or large white onion (about 1 1/2 cups). Mince 3 large or 5 small garlic cloves (about 1 tablespoon).

  2. Run 4 matzo sheets quickly under running water, once on each side. Stack on a large plate. Place 4 large eggs in a medium bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and whisk until beaten.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, break the matzo into large (roughly 2-inch) chunks with your hands.

  4. Add the onion and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the pan. Sauté until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and swirl around the pan to melt. Add the matzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the matzo is light golden-brown and a bit toasted, about 2 minutes.

  6. Pour in the eggs and season a few grinds of black pepper. Stir and cook until the eggs are just set, about 1 minute. Serve with the beef tapa and atchara on the side.

Recipe Notes

Green papaya substitute: An equal amount of daikon radish can be used in place of the green papaya.

Make ahead: The atchara can be made up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated. The sirloin can be marinated up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftover beef tapa can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The atchara can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months.