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Escabeche - Food with Mae-9

Salmon Steaks Escabeche

Salmon Steaks with Sweet & Tangy Sauce

What is Escabeche 

The Origin story is nicely written by I was so fascinated by this information. The origin of the word “escabeche” is Persian. The Arabs brought the word “escabeche” to Spain in the 8th Century. The word is derived from “Al-sikbaj,” a popular meat dish that was cooked in a sweet and sour sauce, usually vinegar and honey or date molasses.

It can be said that Spain brought escabeche (eskabeche in Chamorro, the native language of Guam) to the world as it is found in the cuisine of most former Spanish territories from Europe to the Americas, the Philippines, and Guam. (from

After reading this information it made me think, what is Paksiw? From my own knowledge, it’s poached fish cooked in onions, garlic and it’s seasoned with salt and pepper. That’s it. That seems a lot closer to the original recipe of Spain without any vegetables, right? There are still so many questions and soul searching about Filipino cuisine in general. I am so fascinated and so intrigued to know more about my cuisine than ever! It has become my personal goal to find more history about Filipino food as I continue on my cooking journey. It’s a little difficult to search while I am in London, UK but the internet so far has been a great tool to find out crumbs of information. 

SO many unanswered questions like, when did they introduce ketchup and thickening to the sauce? Or why add bell peppers? 

I have a story, in search for more history or background about Filipino food I contacted an organisation apparently preserving Filipino cuisine. I asked for help and advice for a book I’m writing. I wanted some guidance so that I am not on a path that is moving away from my culture. The person who responded to me sadly passed me another name who I could contact, fair enough that person might be more knowledgeable than him but surely the person who I contacted has their own views and opinion. Anyway I’m digressing. 

I think you can probably feel the frustrations I have about my cuisine and the lack of information about our food history. BTW I found a book that apparently talked about Philippines culinary history, guess how much it costs as it’s rare? £200+! 

Back to Filipino Escabeche…this dish from what I remember growing up as a child in the Philippines was a centerpiece dish, a statement and a way to show abundance. It’s usually served at Fiestas and special occasions. The most common fish used for Escabeche is Lapu Lapu fish (a whole fish), this is pretty expensive but some can use Tilapia too for a cheaper option. 

Escabeche in the Philippines is only cooked with fish but other Spanish colonies might use meat too.

Escabeche - Food with Mae-9


4 salmon steaks
1 medium onion
3-5 garlic
80-100g ginger
1-2 red bell peppers
1 large carrots or 2 medium size
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons ketchup
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
80ml vinegar
80-100g sugar
Oil for frying and sautéing

FOR THICKENING mix 200ml water and 2 tablespoon cornflour



Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a frying pan, once it’s hot fry the fish on each side until golden brown. Once cooked, take it off the pan and onto a serving plate for later.


To make the Escabeche sauce, add ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, sugar, black pepper and water. Mix them well until incorporated and leave it on the side. Next, mix the thickening sauce, add corn flour and water in a bowl. Mix them well and leave it on the side later.


In the same frying pan where you fried the salmon, saute ginger for a minute, add onions, garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Then add bell peppers and carrots. Cook for 3 minutes, pour the sauce into the pan and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling turn the heat to medium and pour the thickening mixture while mixing until the sauce thickens. 


Turn the heat off, serve the Salmon steaks Escabeche with rice topped with the sweet & tangy sauce. 

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