How To Make The Best Escabecheng Tilapia Recipe

Traditionally, the Filipino’s way of cooking fish ranges only from stew, grill, fry, or stuffing as such styles are common in most Asian countries. On that note, this segment features how to make the best Escabecheng Tilapia.

It is not typical for Filipino to marinate fish in a souring agent such as vinegar, lemon juice, or others to cook then with contrasting tastes like sweet and sour. They stick to one dominant flavor, either salty or sweet and others.

But as the Spanish came in the country, they also brought their culinary techniques to influence Filipino’s cooking routine. So the Filipino learned to adapt the style and found that the method is delicious and easy to cook.

So with this, we will help you learn how to cook the best Escabecheng Tilapia that will be a people pleaser once put on the table.    

What is Escabecheng Tilapia

Escabeche is a style of cooking a dish in Latin America and Mediterranean cuisines. This dish includes any fish or meat cooked and marinated in an acidic mixture and spiced with pimento (Spanish paprika) or saffron. In Spain, they use rabbit, chicken, or pork to make this dish.

(Photo Credits To: Casa Veneracion)

This dish was introduced in the Philippines by the Spanish during the 1500s. In the Philippines, it is specifically a sweet and sour fish. It is where the fish is first fried and then drenched or marinated in the sweet and sour sauce.

In the Philippines, Tilapia is the typical fish used in making Escabeche. You can still use any available type of fish, like the red snapper (Maya-Maya), or grouper (Lapu-Lapu). 

Any fish that is wide and flat and is suitable for frying should make a fine Escabeche. So are you ready to know the ways you can cook this delicious and colorful dish? Read through!     

Ways to cook Escabecheng Tilapia

(Photo Credits To: Ang Sarap)

Some pieces of kitchen equipment can make a great dish out of any ordinary recipes. Here, we listed some kitchen appliances that can make your dish incredibly savory and simultaneously give you time for other things while it cooks silently.

Instant Pot – in Instant Pot, everything is done in a matter of a few minutes down to a few hours of cooking, as this equipment lives up to its name. In this version, you can cut the ingredients in huge chunks as it will quickly get mushy if chops into thin cuts.

You can fry the fish first and put it in the Pot with all the ingredients, or you can put the fish as it is and let it cook for a few minutes. Seal the lid and let it cook on high heat for about 8 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps, you can release the pressure immediately. 

You may now serve your healthy and tangy Instant Pot Escabecheng Tilapia with a little bit of fresh cracked pepper and chopped parsley as garnishing.

CrockPot –  If you have a CrockPot at home, use it for cooking this delightful meal. If you have nothing but frozen fillets of Tilapia, you might need a long time to cook it into perfection, about one and a half hours to two hours. 

Place all your ingredients inside the Pot and let it cook in manual mode in the said time frame. In no time, you will be enjoying this medley of spices on a hot plate while keeping everyone healthy.

Pressure Cooker –  if what you have at home is a Pressure Cooker, then it’ll do just fine to cook you an Escabecheng Tilapia. What you need to do is place the sauce in the pressure cooker. Together with all the ingredients, put the Tilapia on top or if what you have is fillets of Tilapia meat.

Cook it for about 8 minutes or so. Remember that the meat of this fish isn’t that tender, and when overcooked, the chunks of it will fall off. To avoid this, you can open the lid and peek once to check everything inside. You may now serve your colorful and zesty Pressure Cooker Escabecheng Tilapia steaming hot on a plate. 

Slow Cooker – Let’s take a look at the power of a slow cooker.

While this dish cooks in a slow cooker, you cannot just leave it and walk away. Remember that what we are cooking here is fish. Fish tend to get mushy when overcooked. 

This dish is with some spices and vegetables, so with that, it will make your cooking time a little longer. If you want to get this perfect on your first try, you can open the lid halfway through though you’re not supposed to, for the sake of checking it if you are unsure how long it will cook, in this case, it’s okay.

We suggest less than an hour of cooking it will do, but it all depends on how slow your cooker cooks food. Do not worry if your fish have gotten tender, it’ll still come out super moist, and that’s the power of slow cooking! Now you have your tender, sweet, and sour Escabecheng Tilapia to serve on the table.


Vegan Escabeche – In this version, we will use the same ingredients as what we employ in the meat version. However, it is the sauce that will make it a unique vegan dish. You can use vegan meat products that are readily available in the market.  

But the main ingredient for meat substitution is the tofu, which is the most suitable substitute for the meat. After you finished with the dish, you won’t even tell the difference. Serve your Vegan Escabeche hot and enjoy!

Keto Escabeche – this variant is simple to make using the simplest of ingredients you can find even at your kitchen cabinet. This version uses chicken breast for the meat element. The chicken needs to cook in oil and vinegar sauce, let it marinate for a few days to boost the flavor. You can also use tuna for this version. 

If you are using breast, add some chicken stock for more flavorful taste, and if you aren’t a huge fan of vinegar, you can use lemon juice (though it will have more carbs.) Serve your sweet and tangy Keto Escabeche with hot steaming white rice and devour.

Gluten-Free Escabeche – in this variant, we will use Salmon for the fish meat. You want to pan-fry the Salmon to give that crispy textured in a smooth sweet, and sour sauce. The Salmon and some sauteed vegetables are all marinated in a mainly vinegar and soy sauce mixture.

For the vegetables, you may use carrot and cucumber, but you also may use mushrooms, paprika, broccoli, and eggplant, and whatever vegetable that seems suitable for this dish. And voila! You will now have your Gluten-free Escabeche to serve for lunch.

White Meat Fish Escabeche – if you are planning a beach getaway with the family, then dish adaptation of Escabeche is just perfect for it. In this version of Escabeche, you can use white meat found in the country, such as the red snapper (Maya-Maya) or Milkfish (Bangus).

 In a skillet, saute everything first before frying the fish. After browning the meat, pour the sauce and cool it at room temperature, cover, then refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or more. 

Stuff it in the pre-warmed tacos and serve with pina colada or any refreshing drink.


You might find yourself adding or lacking in some of the ingredients mentioned here, or maybe you made the fish a little overcooked, and it gets mushy, or perhaps you chose the wrong combinations of spices. Whatever mishaps you may encounter, here are some remedies to salvage your dish.

  • Too sour add anything sweet to it. To salvage this food, you may add more sugar or any sweetening agent. However, if you don’t want it too sweet, add a little dash of baking soda as your last resort. This element will help make your sauce alkaline. 
  • Too sweet – if your sauce became too sweet for your liking, you might squeeze lemon juice or lime juice to it. Or if you have none, you can add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. 
  • Overcooked veggies – there is no remedy for overcooked veggies; however, if it is still appropriate, you can scoop it out and give it an ice bath to prevent further cooking. 

If the veggies are too overcooked, you can make a separate soup using it. Cook a new batch of vegetables and put it in your Escabeche. 

  • Overcooked fish – stick to the rule of frying fish for 4-5 minutes to prevent it from being overcooked. Do not turn the fish more than once. A well-cooked fish has a flaky, opaque, and moist look.
  • Too salty – if your Escabeche is too salty, you may add some more sugar to the mix or dash of vinegar to neutralize the saltiness. 


This dish can be very beneficial to your health and is suitable for every type of diet preference there is. Below are the lists of nutrients you can get from eating your Escabeche. 

  • Tilapia –  is a pretty vital source of protein. It is low in calories and is high in protein. This fish is also rich in vitamin B12, selenium, niacin, phosphorus, and potassium.

This dish can be very beneficial to your health and is suitable for every type of diet  preference there is. Below are the lists of nutrients you can get from eating your Escabeche. 

  • Ginger – Ginger is a spice wonder. It is packed with a lot of healthy benefits. It can relieve pain and inflammation, reduce the risk for diabetes, cure an upset stomach, and curb morning sickness.
  • Garlic garlic, like ginger, is a spice wonder with its many health benefits. Have you got acne? Rub raw garlic to it; just make sure don’t overdo it if you have sensitive skin. Its antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties will benefit your skin.
  • Carrot carrots are specifically a good source of beta carotene, vitamin K1, fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. Garlic is also a weight-loss-friendly food known to improve eye health and lower cholesterol levels.
  • Tomatoes Tomatoes are the primary source of an antioxidant called lycopene, which has been associated with numerous health benefits, including lessening the risk of cancer and heart diseases. They are also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate.


Here in Eat Like Pinoy, we love to make your dishes as easy and as healthy and tasty as possible. That is why you listed below some tips on how you can achieve the best Tilapia Escabeche for the whole family to enjoy.

  • Do not overcook your veggies. A delicious Escabeche has to have that crunch from the vegetables. 
  • Once you put the vinegar, you must wait for it to boil and cook before you stir it. It will release that perfect savory punch to the dish. 
  • You may keep your Escabeche for two to three days in the chiller and about a week in the freezer. Just put it in an air-tight container and heat it before serving. Do not use any of your electric cookers to do this, instead use the stove.
  • Before frying your meat or your tofu, always pat it dry using a kitchen towel or tissue. This way will help cook them properly inside and out, and this will also avoid oil splatters when you fry it.
  • After frying, place your meat or tofu in a tissue towel to absorb the excess oil.

Best Served With

Escabeche is a dish that is best eaten with another set of food. It could be dessert, another meal or some staples. Here, we listed below some food that will go exceptionally well when paired with your Escabeche.

  • Fried rice the slightly crunchy grains will be a knock out pair with this dish. The salty taste of the fried rice will go well with the sweet and sour taste of your equally crunchy Escabecheng Tilapia. 
  • Stir-Fry Veggies – the medley of vegetables in stir-fry veggies combined with this dish could be the combination you need for a healthy lunch meal. It is both light courses for your digestion, and at the same time, packed with all the nutrients your body needs.
  • Beef broccoli – the smokiness of Beef Broccoli is an excellent combo with this dish tangy and sweet dish. Each dish’s taste is distinct but will surely complement one after another.
  • Buko Pandan wouldn’t you love a real fruity sweetness of coconut that will surely freshen up your taste buds. This pair up won’t disappoint; it will just boost your already raging appetite. 


Filipino cuisines have been challenged and improved through times. It shows a deep-rooted resiliency of the Filipino. Like a simple Tilapia that turned into such a beautiful and luscious expensive-looking gourmet dish proves that Filipino, are people of simplicity, but with many layers of cultures put together to be as colorful as their culinary expertise.

We hope we have inspired you to make this dish with your tweak put into it. All information put in here is a guide to help you on how to make the best Escabecheng Tilapia should you decide to pull an easy dinner fix on a busy Friday night.

For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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Best Escabecheng Tilapia Recipe

Craving for  a fish menu? This menu can satisfy your cravings! Aside from that it is a one mal already assuring that you can be full just by eating it alone. Cook and enjoy!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Seafood Recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 36kcal
Cost $5-$20


  • 4 pcs Tilapia medium size, sliced and cleaned
  • 2 cups Cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp Salt to taste
  • 1 thumb Ginger julienned
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 pc Onion sliced
  • 4 pcs Tomatoes sliced
  • 1 pc Carrot small size, sliced
  • 1 pc Bell Pepper small size, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper


  • Wash the fish and rub with salt.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry the fish until golden brown. Then, place in a plate after frying.
  • In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp cooking oil and sauté garlic, ginger, and onion. Then add tomatoes and stir until tomatoes are cooked.
  • Add the black pepper, water, vinegar, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Then, put the carrot and bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diluted cornstarch. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Get the fried fish and pour over the sauteed sauce.
  • Serve while hot!


Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1750mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 42IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg
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