Lapu-Lapu (Grouper) Escabeche (Sweet and Sour Sauce)

Jun 24


The lapu-lapu is always a special dish. Childhood memories of our family dinner involves a feast of lapu-lapu topped with sweet and sour sauce known escabeche. Escabeche has a slight ginger taste to it unlike the Chinese version of sweet and sour sauce. I am not sure if this is a Cebuano version of the sweet and sour sauce because I have not tasted it here in Manila.

Here is how I prepare it:

1. Clean the Lapu-lapu (around 1 kilo), slice diagonally along the fish, then rub salt on it and inside the fish cavity

2. Deep fat fry. (An alternative cooking method is to rub olive oil around the fish, then wrap with foil to grill it ) . Drain in paper towels. Set aside.

3. Prepare the sweet and sour sauce.

1 cup water
3 tablespoons vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
a slice of ginger, julienne

1/2 head garlic, minced
2 medium-sized onions, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1 carrot, julienne
1 red pepper, julienne
4 green onions, sliced (leave some for garnishing)
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges
2 tablespoons cornstarch, diluted with 2-3 tablespoons water

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients.
2. Thicken with cornstarch mixture (2 tablespoons cornstarch, diluted with 2-3 tablespoons water)
3. Add tomatoes, onions, carrot, tomatoes, garlic, red pepper and the other ingredients. Place pineapple tidbits last
4. Boil once. Make sure the sauce is slightly thickened and not runny.
5. Pour the sauce on fried lapu-lapu (prepared in number 1) and serve immediately. Don’t pour the sauce on the fish if you are not ready to eat it. The crispiness of the fish will be gone. You can always set aside the sauce and serve it once everyone is ready to eat.

6. Garnish with green onions.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (348 Posts)

Noemi, Editor of Blog Watch and features editor of Philippine Online Chronicles is a 55 year old mother to three kids and is married to Atty. Luis H. Dado. She loves being a full time mother and homemaker after retiring as a Researcher/Consultant from the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries in 1987. Now that her children are all college graduates, she devotes her time to grief support, blogging, new media events and using her blogs to promote online advocacies. Her personal blog is at aboutmyrecovery.com, which garnered numerous awards such as Best Website, Blog Category during the 9th and 10th Philippine Web Awards. Her blog also won in the Blog- Personal Category of the DigitalFilipino.com Web Awards 2007 and Globelines Broadband Family Blog Award (in honor of family-oriented blogging) 2007 Philippine Blog Award. Globe also recognized her as Digital Elder in the 2009 Philippine Blog Award.


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  • Heidi Hermoso Prada

    This looks really tasty. The trouble is I can’t get lapulapu here in UK. Can you recommend an alternative fish that can replace it? Trout, salmon, cod, haddock, pullock???? Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.myfilipinokitchen.com/ ziggy

    is our lapu-lapu native to the philippine mam noems? because the nearest looking lapu-lapu fish that i find abroad looks like our rainbow fish in the phlippine local market.
    .-= ziggy´s last blog ..A Quick and Easy Mechado Recipe =-.

  • noemi

    The Lapu-lapu is a grouper and there are varieties around the world. Maybe the Rainbow fish is a grouper

  • mert

    Try Red Snapper. Lapu-lapu is a Grouper and it is not common here in New Zealand market and I reckon Snapper is closer to lapu-lapu in taste. Hope it helps. Cheers.

  • Dot

    Thank you!! My lola used to cook this. Cannot wait to try it.

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