Guest Post: Escabeche (Sweet and Sour Fried Fish)

I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing bloggers through Taste As You Go, some in person and some virtually via Google Reader and Twitter. In an attempt to introduce my readers to some bloggers they may not know about and to highlight the writing skills of some incredibly talented people, I will be featuring Guest Posts on Taste As You Go from time to time.

Today's Guest Post was written by one of my long-time blogging buddies, Veronica Owens. Veronica has always been a constant source of encouragement and I'm thrilled to feature her here. When you're finished reading Veronica's Guest Post, you should check out her blog, Nila Rosa. Thanks for writing, Veronica!

For those celebrating the "last official weekend of the summer," have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Escabeche = Photo by Nila Rosa
(Above photo resized for formatting reasons.
Original photo can be found here.)

When I saw Michelle's tweet about her looking for food bloggers to guest post, I knew I had to ask. Michelle and I have something in common. We are both of the Filipino heritage and are both trying to learn more about that culture. While I mulled over an apple pie that I took weeks to finally make, I decided to introduce the Filipino dish, Escabeche.

The Filipino culture is made up of so many cultural influences, so it's no surprise to find a Spanish dish transformed to fit the local food staples. The Pinoy version of this dish uses bell peppers, ketchup, and cornstarch. Escabeche is commonly seen using a whole fried fish, but a whole fish is not readily available to most, so using fillets is fine. With the use of cornstarch, the sauce is quite thick and pairs very well with a bowl of steamed white rice. I'm not sure which part I love more, the vegetables or the fish. Both components combined result in a gorgeous and flavorful dish.

Escabeche (Sweet and Sour Fried Fish)

2 pounds whitefish (I used tilapia)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, julienned
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 small carrots, julienned
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Sprinkle the fish with lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 15-20 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

In a skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the oil and fry the fish until it is crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the garlic, onion, and ginger until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the bell peppers and carrots and saute for 3 minutes. Combine the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, soy sauce, and ketchup in a separate bowl. Add the vinegar and ketchup mixture to the bell peppers. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the sauce. Stir while it thickens.

Pour the sauce over the fried fish and enjoy!

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