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 make them with contrasting tastes like sweet and sour. They stick to one dominant flavor, either salty or sweet, and others.

But as the Spanish came into the country, they also brought their culinary techniques to influence Filipino’s kitchen cooking routine. So the Filipino learned to adapt the style and found that the method is delicious and easy to make.
So with this, we will help you learn how to make the Escovitch Tilapia that will be a people pleaser once put on the table.      

What Is Escabeche Fish Menu

Escovitch is a style of making a dish in Latin American 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. The fish is first fried and then drenched or marinated in the sweet and sour dressing.

In the Philippines, Tilapia is the typical fish used in making Escovitch. You can still use any 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 Escovitch. So are you ready to know the ways you can make this delicious and colorful dish? Read through!

Ways To Make Escovitch Tilapia

(Photo Credits To: Ang Sarap)

Some pieces of kitchen equipment can make an excellent 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 simmers silently.

Instant Pot – in Instant Pot, everything is done in a matter of a few minutes down to a few hours of simmering, 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 it 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 simmer for a few minutes. Seal the lid and let it finish 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 Escovitch 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 making this delightful meal. If you have nothing but frozen fillets of Tilapia, you might need a long time to finish it into perfection, about one and a half hours to two hours. 

Place all your ingredients inside the Pot and let it simmer 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 make you an Escovitch Tilapia. What you need to do is place the dressing in the pressure cooker. Together with all the ingredients, put the Tilapia on top or if what you have is fillets of Tilapia meat.

Simmer it for about 8 minutes or so. Remember that this fish’s meat isn’t that tender, and when overdone, 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 Escovitch Tilapia steaming hot on a plate. 

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

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

This dish is with some spices and vegetables to make your preparation 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 finish, in this case, it’s okay.

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

Recipes Variations

Vegan Escabeche Fish Recipes

In this version, we will use the same ingredients as what we employ in the meat version. However, it is the dressing 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 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 Escovitch hot and enjoy!

Keto Escabeche Fish Recipes

This variant is simple to use, the simplest of ingredients you can find even in your kitchen cabinet. This version uses chicken breast for the meat element. The chicken needs to finish in oil and vinegar sauce and 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 a 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 Escovitch with hot steaming white rice and devour.

Gluten-Free Escovitch – 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 dressing. The Salmon and some sauteed vegetables are all marinated in a mainly vinegar and soy sauce mixture.

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

White Meat Fish Escovitch – if you are planning a beach getaway with the family, then the dish adaptation of Escovitch is just perfect for it. In this version of Escovitch, 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 dressing 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 overdone, 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 into it. Or, if you have none, you can add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. 
  • Overdone veggies – there is no remedy for vivid veggies; however, if it is still appropriate, you can scoop it out and give it an ice bath to prevent further simmering. 

If the veggies are too overdone, you can make a different soup using them. Prepare a new batch of vegetables and put it in your Escovitch. 

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


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

  • 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 suitable for every type of diet preference. Below are the lists of nutrients you can get from eating your Escovitch. 

  • Ginger – Ginger is a spice wonder. It has lots 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; 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 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 recipes as easy and as healthy and tasty as possible. That is why you listed below some tips on how you can achieve the perfect Tilapia Escovitch for the whole family to enjoy.

  • Do not overdo your veggies. A delicious Escovitch has to have that crunch from the vegetables. 
  • Once you put the vinegar, you must wait to boil and prepare before you stir it. It will release that perfect savory punch to dishes like this. 
  • You may keep your Escovitch 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 equipment 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 finish them properly inside and out, and this will also avoid oil splatters when you fry them.
  • After frying, place your meat or tofu in a tissue towel to absorb the excess oil.

Best Served With

Escovitch is a dish 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 Escovitch.

  • Fried Rice: Fried rice is the slightly crunchy grains that will be a knock out pair with recipes like this. The fried rice’s salty taste will go well with the sweet and sour taste of your equally crunchy Tilapia Escovitch. 
  • Stir-Fry Veggies – the medley of vegetables in stir-fry veggies combined with recipes like this 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: Beef broccoli is a fantastic pair because its smokiness has an excellent combo with recipes like this tangy and sweet dish. Each dish’s taste is distinct but will surely complement one after another.
  • Buko Pandan: Buko Pandan is a dessert no one can resist. Who wouldn’t 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 time. 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 Pinoys are people of simplicity, but with many layers of cultures in their cuisine that put together to be as colorful as their culinary expertise.

We hope we have inspired you to make recipes like this with your tweak put into it. All information put in here is a guide to help you make Escabecheng Tilapia 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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