Big Fish: Tilapiang Escabeche Tagalog-Style

8 months ago

tilapiang-escabeche-tagalog-style copy

Sweet and sour dishes aren’t always Chinese. Escabeche, which translates to “pickled” in Spanish, talks of a different way of enjoying the same flavor profiles.



Recipe by Atty. Gaby Concepcion

Photographed by Zac Moran of Studio 100

Makes 3-4 servings


2 Small tilapia, gutted, scaled and cleaned

  • Rock salt

½ cup Cooking oil for frying fish

3 Tbsps Cooking oil for sautéing

½ cup Thinly sliced onion

½ cup Thinly sliced ginger

1 Fish bouillon cube

½ tsp Crushed black peppercorns

½ tsp Vinegar

1 Tbsp Soy sauce

½ cup Brown sugar

2 cups Water

  • Patis or salt for seasoning
  • Coriander leaves (wansoy) for garnish


  1. Score both sides of the tilapia, then season with salt. After 30 minutes, fry in hot oil until half-cooked. Set aside.
  2. Make the escabeche sauce. In a shallow pan, heat cooking oil and fry the onions until lightly brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a plate.
  3. In the same oil, fry the ginger strips until lightly golden brown. Add back the onions, the fish cube, and black peppercorns. Fry this mixture together for 3 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and water in a bowl. Taste the mixture and adjust the sourness and sweetness according to your preference. Add this liquid mixture to the onion-ginger mixture frying in the pan.
  5. Add the tilapia to the sauce. Cover and put to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for around 5 minutes. Adjust flavor by seasoning with patis.
  6. Garnish with wansoy leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.


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Samar-Style Fish Escabeche

Bangus with Gata

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