LP 14 – Fish Escabeche

The theme or this month’s edition of Lasang Pinoy is Ala Espanola. We will feature Filipino dishes influenced by the cuisine of Spain. So you ask, how is it that an island nation in South East Asia could have a cuisine touched with Spanish overtones? Over 3 centuries of Spanish colonization will do that. The cuisine of the Philippines is heavily spiced with the taste of old Spain.

My grandparents hail from the Ilocos region on the northern part of the Philippines. Their home cooking style mainly consisted of dishes that were either roasted, steamed, boiled or raw. We didn’t have many of the traditionally Spanish type dishes as part of the daily menu. Those were reserved for more festive occasions or ordered at restaurants. However, I did have an aunt who had a penchant for “fancy” dishes and would sometimes fix fish ala escabeche.

Escabeche as defined by this site is “a spicy marinade of Spanish origin used to marinade fish and sometimes poultry.” This dish, reminiscent of the escabeche my aunt used to make, is the Filipino version which means that it is also touched by another cuisine, Chinese. My kids now just call it sweet and sour sauce.

Whereas the fish used for this dish is traditionally left whole, I used filets of tilapia instead. This is my version:

Tilapia with ginger sweet & sour sauce

Tilapia filets

Salt the filets and lightly flour. Shake off excess flour. Pan fry the tilapia until both sides are golden and set aside.

In a bowl or mixing cup mix the following for the sauce:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. HOT Banana Sauce (ketchup can be used as substitute)
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. corn starch

Mix all the ingredients above and set aside.

In a skillet, saute’ the following:
3 cloves Garlic, sliced thin
1 large Onion, sliced
3 Tbsp Ginger, cut into strips
3 medium Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
5 bird chilis (leave whole or slice if more spiciness is preferred)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Black pepper

Heat the oil and saute’ the garlic, onions and ginger until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and chilis and let it cook for a couple of minutes while stirring. Stir up the sauce mixture to blend it again, and pour into the pan with the vegetable. Stir continuously until it comes to a boil and thickens. Adjust the seasonings, crack some black pepper over the sauce and stir.

At this point you can either put the fish filets into the sauce or spoon the sauce over the fish when plating as in this case.

Other variations of this dish are here:

Pilgrim’s Pots and Pans’ escabeche
Pinoy Cook’s Escabecheng Tonto & Sweet and Sour Fish
Stef’s Pollo en escabeche
Stel’s Homely Escabeche submitted for the first Lasang Pinoy event
CeliaK’s Sweet & Sour Fish

Thank you to Purple Girl for hosting this round of Lasang Pinoy.

Filipino Cookbooks

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About Jeanette Moore (JMom)

I am a terrible housekeeper but I do love to cook so it all evens out in the end. I like to try new recipes that I think my family will like. However, I am not one to follow all recipes to the letter. I tend to tweak and change the recipes based on what I have on hand and how I am feeling at the time. Feel free to share your versions, I just might try it out next time I make the dish again.

12 thoughts on “LP 14 – Fish Escabeche

  1. Karen

    Hey JMommy!

    Good thing you posted about this. I’m not sure if there are still any at the moment but I have been wanting to try the South American version with avocadoes in the sauce.

    Indeed this recipe fuses Spanish and Chinese – very tasty, and very Lasang Pinoy, hehe!

  2. Mae

    Tilapia Escabeche sounds wonderful! I have forgotten about this dish… thanks for the reminder. Oh, i can see a green chilli on top. I like it!

  3. JMom

    Hi Ces, I was worried I wasn’t going to make it. I only saw the announcement a couple of days before the deadline. Luckily, PPG extended the deadline.

    Hi Manang, I’ll look forward to see what you and your friend cook up. That sounds like a great deal!

    Hi Mita, thanks! I hope makahabol ka rin kagaya ko. Extended day ang deadline sabe ni ppg.

  4. Manang

    I will request my friend to cook this for our get-together this Wednesday. Maybe I can prepare the sauce, and she will take care of the fish…

  5. JMom

    Hi Jules, I’m usually not too crazy about sweet and sour dishes, but this one is just perfect for the rare times when I do crave it. I like the addition of ginger best.

    Hi Tin! kumusta ka na? Yes, you can use red snapper. I am actually going to cook some snapper tonight. I just haven’t decided how yet 🙂

    Hi Iska, I’m so glad purple girl extended the deadline for LP. So 100% attendance pa rin ako 😉

    Hi babymoi! It seems like this dish is more common in central and southern parts of the Philippines, ha? I know in the north, like Pangasinan and Baguio, it wasn’t very common either.

  6. iska

    same with my mom. she used to prepare this for us but i forgot how she does it. i’ll try to find out soon.

    im glad u made this entry, JMom. like u, i also dont wanna break my 100% LP attendance 🙂

  7. Tin

    Hi J,

    How are you doing? Just keep busy blogging huh! Wow, parang kailan lang ngayon LP14 edition na pala – grabe ang bilis and I like your Escabeche entry BTW can I use red snapper instead of tilapia fillet?

    Take care!

  8. Jules

    mmmmmmmmmmm my mother used to make this dish often, but I didn’t know what it was called. I recognized it from the ingredients and the lovely picture.


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