Sweet and Sour Tuna (Escabecheng Isda)

This is Sweet and Sour Tuna (Escabecheng Isda). Escabeche essentially means sweet and sour sauce in the Philippines. Isda refers to fish in general. In this case we are using tuna. This Filipino style sweet and sour tuna is a bit different than the typical Chinese sweet and sour fish dish. As common as it may be, the curious thing about sweet and sour sauce is just how many variations there are of it. Definitely don’t underestimate the importance of ginger in this dish. That is what makes the sauce pop. Enjoy this recipe from all of us at Filipino Chow.


  • 1-2 pounds of tuna, deboned and cut into large chunks
  • 4 bulbs of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup of bell pepper, red and green.
  • 1 medium-sized onion,chopped
  • 1 small carrot, cut into strips
  • 1 scallion, cut into strips
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks, reserve the juice
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 cup of cooking oil


  1. Put the cooking oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, put the fish in the pan and briefly stir the fish so it does not stick to the pan.
  3. Let one side of the fish cook until it is brown and crispy (usually takes about a minute).
  4. Turn the fish over to let the other side cook until brown and crispy.
  5. When both sides of the fish is fully cooked, remove it from pan and set it aside on paper towels.
  6. Using a clean pan, add a little cooking oil over medium-high heat.
  7. Once the pan is hot, add the the garlic and onion to saute for one minute.
  8. Add the carrots, ginger, half of the pineapple chunks, and bell pepper to the pan and continue to saute briefly.
  9. Now add the water, soy sauce and pineapple juice to the pan.
  10. Stir and bring this to a simmer.
  11. Reduce the heat to low and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  12. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and vinegar to the pan then mix thoroughly.
  13. Add the cornstarch in 1/2 cup water then stir to dilute it.
  14. Slowly pour the cornstarch into the sauce while continuously stirring to thicken the sauce.
  15. Remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside.
  16. Plate the fish on a serving dish and pour the sauce on top of the crispy tuna.
  17. Garnish with the scallions and serve immediately.

Please note that cooking time may vary. As with most recipes, you can adjust seasonings, ingredients, and preparation methods to suit your tastes to a certain degree. Be creative in the kitchen.


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