Try this easy recipe for a colorful, tangy-sweet Filipino Escabeche or Sweet and Sour Fish and bring your plain fried fish to the next level of goodness.
What is Escabeche?
Escabeche is a dish which is typically made from fish or meat that is marinated and/or cooked in vinegar and some spices. It is a common dish in Spain and other Mediterranean countries but also common in Portugal and France. But the word escabeche actually has a Persian origin.
The dish has been introduced to other Spanish-speaking countries (former Spanish Colonies) and was adjusted or modified locally.
In the Philippines, however, it refers specifically to sweet and sour fish, wherein the fish is first fried and then soaked or marinated in the sweet and sour sauce.
This is actually a conservation technique to enable the dish to last longer.
What fish to use for Escabeche?
In the Philippines, it is common to use Tilapia for Escabeche but you can actually use any fish that is available.
Other fishes commonly used for this dish are red snapper (Maya-maya), grouper (Lapu-lapu). Usually, any fish that are flat and wide and are good for frying should make a wonderful escabeche.
A big fish is typically used for making Escabeche, and Tilapia, being able to meet all the requirements plus being cheaper than the other fishes I mentioned, is the best choice for everyday cooking. Leave the more expensive fishes for the special occasions.
Escabeche- Filipino Sweet & Sour Fish
- 1 whole Tilapia - at least a pound
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch - dissolved in ½ cup water
- ½ cup red bell pepper - cut into strips
- ½ cup green bell pepper - cut into strips
- ½ cup carrots - cut into strips
- ¼ cup ginger - cut into strips
- 1 onion - sliced
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup cooking oil for frying
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon salt for seasoning fish
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons ketchup - optional, for coloring
- Season fish with salt. Heat oil in a frying pan and once oil is hot, fry fish one side of at a time until golden brown. Remove fish from pan and place it on a serving plate.
- In a saucepan, saute garlic, ginger, and onion in 2 tablespoon oil. Add carrots and bell peppers. Pour in vinegar and dissolved cornstarch and add sugar and ketchup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer until sauce thickens while stirring occasionally.
- Pour sauce into the fried fish and serve.