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How to Cook Tilapia Escabeche: A Spanish-Inspired Dish

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Learn how to prepare tilapia escabeche.

Learn how to prepare tilapia escabeche.

Escabeche is a traditional Spanish dish that consists of fried fish with vegetables cooked in a sweet and tangy sauce. I first encountered this dish in the Philippines, which was once a colony of Spain. This dish was one of many Spanish recipes that were absorbed into the Filipino cuisine.

Chinese cuisine has its own version of escabeche, as well, which is known as sweet and sour.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

30 min

40 min

2 servings


  • 3 tilapia
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 small onion, julienned
  • 1/2 inch ginger, julienned
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste


For Preparation:

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  • 1 large plate
  • 1 small plate
  • 1 medium bowl
  • 3 small bowls
  • chopping board
  • knife

For Cooking:

  • frying pan
  • tongs
  • spatula
  • sauteing pan


  1. Wash and clean the fish. Drain water.
  2. Rub salt on the surface of each fish. Set aside.
  3. Heat up frying pan. Add enough oil for frying.
  4. Fry each fish until it turns golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Mix water and cornstarch. Set aside.
  6. In a sauteing pan, add the ginger, onion, and garlic.
  7. Add the vinegar, ketchup, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  8. Pour in the cornstarch mixture or slurry. Let it simmer.
  9. Add bell pepper and carrots. Cook the vegetables until tender.
  10. Add cooked fish into the sauce. Allow it to simmer until sauce thickens.
  11. Serve while still hot.

Step-by-Step Video

Tips and Techniques

  • Replace tilapia with any other kind of fish available.
  • Adjust sugar or vinegar as preferred.
  • Familiarize yourself with the taste of vinegar you'll be using in order to balance the sour taste of the sauce.
  • Use other thickening agents, such as all-purpose flour, potato starch, rice flour, etc.
  • Serve escabeche sauce on top of the fish to maintain its crunchy texture.
Sweet and sour fish recipe.

Sweet and sour fish recipe.

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