Escabeche Recipe (Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce)

A sweet and sour twist on a classic sauce used for freshly fried fish. This simple, quick to make, and basic escabeche recipe is best paired with rice.

Escabeche Recipe (Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Stew Fish Sweet Fried Quick and Easy Savory

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Origin of the dish

Escabeche is a dish originating in the countries of Spain, France and Philippines. It consist of meat or fish, fried and dredge over a sauce made of vinegar, soy sauce, onions, garlic, carrots, ginger and bell peppers. The word “escabeche” comes from the Persian word, it was brought to the Spain by the Arabs during the Moorish conquests. The word derives from al-sikbaj, the name of a popular meat dish cooked in a sweet and sour sauce.

This recipe is for the sweet and sour sauce. The fish used are already fried. This sauce will definitely add extra flavor to the dish.

When is it typically served?

Escabeche is a popular dish by most Filipinos because of its delicious sweet and sour sauce. This dish is always present during Fiestas, birthdays and even Christmas. It is typically eaten as the main dish, however, it is also cooked during a typical meal, specially during lunch or dinner. This dish is best paired with hot rice and your favorite drink.

Kitchen Utensils you need!

In cooking escabeche, make sure to prepare the following kitchen utensils:

  • Cutting board
  • knife to cut spices and other ingredients
  • Plate
  • Frying pan for fish
  • Cooking pan for sauce
  • Spatula for mixing
  • Serving platter
  • grater to grate the ginger (or you may dice the ginger using knife and cutting board)

Escabeche’s Primary Ingredients – Fish, Vinegar, and Sugar

Escabeche’s primary ingredients is fish, specifically a whole Tilapia. Tilapias are mainly freshwater fish mostly found in shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. You can buy this in mostly supermarkets and malls. Tilapia are in fact very low in mercury levels because they are fast growing, lean and short-lived with a primarily vegetarian diet. Tilapia are low in calories, carbohydrates, sodium and a good source of protein. In addition to the fish, vinegar and sugar are also the other main ingredients that makes up this delicious escabeche.

Interesting Facts

  • Escabeche has a various similar names from different countries like North Africa (scabetche), Jamaica (escovitch), France, Belgium, Italy (escabecio or scavece) and South America.

  • Tilapia is second of the most farm-raised fish in the world, second to carp (a greenish-brown fish commonly found in Eurasia).

  • Tilapia are actually banned in the country of Australia due to it belonging to an invasive fish category, which poses threat to the country's native biodiversity. An invasive fish means it can outcompete or defeat other fish species in resources like food, water, or habitat. Banning tilapia is the country's way to maintain its ecosystem balance.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you want a thicker sauce for fish escabeche, you can add a thickening agent like corn starch.
  • Banana ketchup can also be added in cooking escabeche to give it a sweet taste, aside from sugar.
  • You can also use other fish for escabeche like red snapper (Maya-maya) or grouper (Lapu-Lapu).


  • 1 carrot
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 small onions or 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoon of oil
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved and mixed with 4 tablespoon of water
  • 2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare all ingredients.

    Escabeche Recipe (Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce)
  2. Heat oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and onion.

  3. After 3 minutes, add the ginger, bell pepper and the sliced carrot to your sauté. Stir until carrot is cooked.

  4. Let it simmer within 5 minutes. (Tip: You can determine that the sauce is ready once it's thick enough)

  5. Put the cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of water in a cup and stir using fork until it's well mixed.

  6. Add the water followed by the brown sugar, vinegar, and the cornstarch mixture.

  7. In a plate, put your fried fish and add your sauce on top of it.


Escabeche is very popular among family gatherings, its sweet and sour sauce is the main attraction for this dish, since it is the one that brings a delightful taste to this dish. There are a lot of variations for escabeche and you can even make your own. This is a good way to impress your loved ones and a good way to make them remember you. And also, don’t forget to side this dish with hot rice and you will surely satisfy your loved ones cravings and hunger.