Making a Spanish Tortilla in Madrid

Hola mis amigos!

Yesterday I made a tortilla – also known as a Spanish Omlette! And if you are really interested in the name, ‘tortilla’ means ‘small cake’ – even though it only resembles a cake in shape and not flavour. Since I arrived in Madrid back in September,  I’ve been able to try many authentic Spanish dishes but this was the first time I actually made one. I made it under the helpful guidance of Urvana – a women from Bolivia who cooks for the family. Although I had watched her make it last week and meticulously written down everything she did, I’m glad she was there to supervise because it’s one thing to write it down, but quite another to physically do it. 

My first job was to  peel the potatoes and it took me forever.  Really, I was so slow. I kept seeing her glance at me out of the corner of her eye, probably wondering why I was taking a million years when she does it in 30 seconds.  The reason was that I had to use a knife instead of a peeler so 1) I was scared I was going to cut myself and 2) I didn’t want to waste any potato by peeling off too much (which I did anyway.) I really need to practice peeling…

Next job was to cut the potatoes into slices. Make sure you cut them as thin as possible – mine were too thick at first and she had to intervene.  Chopping up the onion was easy (no mistakes, woo!) but when I cracked the eggs, I had to fish out the pieces of shell that had fallen in…oops.  I tried to discretely do this but I think she still saw.  Apparently there is also a technique for stirring the eggs properly because I did it wrong and she had to show me how. Adding the salt and the milk is a ‘feel’ thing so I suppose that’s something that will just get better with practice.

The most fun yet challenging part happens after you’ve added everything together and have to flip the tortilla onto the plate!  I have to confess that Urvana did the flipping this time because apparently it can get quite messy and I guess she didn’t feel like cleaning up a big mess – but I will do it next time!!

I like cooking with Urvana. I think it’s cool because even though she doesn’t speak English and my Spanish is still pretty basic, we’re able to communicate and somehow understand each other through a lot of pointing and facial expressions. Next week she is going to teach me how to make empanadas! Woohoo!

Ingredients

  • 4 Potatoes
  • 4 Eggs
  • Roughly half an onion
  • Milk
  • Salt

How to Make Spanish Tortilla

  1. Peel potatoes (4)
  2. Wash peeled potatoes and cut them into thin slices
  3. Cut onion into slices and add to potatoes
  4. Add a little salt and mix with your hands
  5. Pour oil into a pan (lots of oil!) Add potatoes and onions to pan. Stir.
  6. Put a lid on potatoes but stir them every once in a while or they will burn
  7. Crack 4 eggs into a separate bowl. Stir with fork till it’s all orange
  8. Add milk to eggs. Stir again.
  9. Pour the potatoes and onions into the egg mix but be careful not to pour the oil in!
  10. Remove the oil from the pan so that you can pour the now-combined mixture there
  11. Let it sit for a while, then put lid on pan and flip!
  12. Add a little more oil to the pan if you need to and slide the “flipped” tortilla back into the pan
  13. Let it sit, put  a plate over the pan and flip again! DONE!

So there you have it! Keep an eye out for my very own Spanish Tapa Bar coming soon to a restaurant near you.  So far there’s only one thing on the menu, but as the dad very kindly told me, “It’s probably the best Tortilla in all of Canada!” Also, funny story:  as the parents were praising my first attempt, Leire, the 9-year old girl, matter-of-factly says, “It takes like every other tortilla we’ve had.” It made me laugh but I’m taking that as a compliment – it must mean I did it right! Oh, and if the Spanish Tapa Bar idea doesn’t work out, I’ll gladly invite you all for dinner instead.

PS: The pictures make it look gross because I’m not good at taking pictures and cooking at the same time…but I promise it looked (and tasted) much better in real life!

PPS: I dare you to try making this at home! And when you do, let me know how it goes!

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Kazandra Pangilinan

Kazandra is probably not that different from you. She eats, sleeps,and wonders about how to make the most of this life. This blog is dedicated to the trials and triumphs she has experienced in the process of growing up in her quest to find meaning, connection and happiness.

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