My husband has been talking my ear off lately about the difference between Fish Escabeche and Sweet and Sour Fish. Honestly, I didn't even notice there was a difference between the two. And it wasn't until he started the issue that it got me thinking about the two.
|Marinating the fish|
According to MR, Sweet and Sour is Chinese. That makes sense I guess, considering Escabeche is a Spanish name. He also said that Chinese Sweet and Sour is less runny and has less sauce. After ordering Sweet and Sour Fish at 2 different Chinese restaurants, I couldn't help but notice that he might be right. The fish fillets were fried and lightly coated by the sauce. Then we had dinner at a Filipino restaurant and ordered Fish Escabeche and there was indeed more sauce. Looked more like a stew and with more ingredients (pineapples and mushrooms). It got me thinking, was he right? Have we been wrongly interchanging the two?
|Fry the fish fillets.|
This got me bugging and I knew I needed to research this online. Turns out, I read that Escabeche in English means "acid food". I was hoping it might mean stew or something else, but no. So maybe, it's in the cooking style. You'll never find Fish Escabeche in a Chinese restaurant, Sweet and Sour is what you'll see.
|Assembling the vegetables|
These 2 dishes are very similar though. I thought Escabeche was limited to fish, but Wikipedia mentioned that in Spain it is also served with chicken, rabbit, and pork. In the Philippines, escabeche is commonly made with fish only. Sauce is more runny, but the primary acidic ingredient is present.
|The cornstarch mixture|
|The fried fish fillets|
You will find Sweet and Sour in most Chinese restaurants. Its sauce is thicker. And if you're not liking fish, you can have its other version, chicken and pork. These are highly popular as well. So is it safe to say that Escabeche and Sweet and Sour are similar, but Sweet and Sour is the Chinese-style whilst Escabeche is Mediterranean-inspired?
On another note, there are different styles of making these dishes aside from the consistency of the sauce. While we personally prefer less ingredients in our Sweet and Sour, we've tried it with the complete works. Pineapples, mushrooms, spring onions, unripe papaya, green bell pepper, and coriander. And not just that, but the "sour" can be anything you prefer and if you want to experiment, here's what I found online: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar. And the "sweet": pineapple juice, brown sugar, white sugar. The sky is your limit, just as long as you have a sour and a sweet factor. :)
This got me excited to try my own experiment.
SWEET AND SOUR FISH FILLETS
Prepare the fish:
2 fillets of cream dory fish
Rinse the fish. Pat dry and then cut in 2 inches pieces.
For the marinade:
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Prepare a medium bowl. Put in beaten egg, salt, and pepper and mix. Add in the fish fillets and coat with egg mixture. Keep refrigerated for 10-15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, coat the fish fillets with cornstarch. Heat oil in a pan and fry the fillets for a couple of minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate.
Preparing the sauce:
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons white sugar
Mix in all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
For the cornstarch mixture:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Mix together in a small bowl. Set aside. You may want to mix it again when you're just about to use it.
Assemble the vegetables:
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, peeled
2 red bell pepper, seeded
1 ginger, thumb sized, peeled
Roughly mince garlic and set aside on a plate. Cut other vegetables in julienne form and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Saute all vegetables and cover for a couple of minutes. Uncover and add in the sauce. Simmer until it slightly boils. Add in cornstarch mixture, mix well, and let it simmer until sauce thickens. Taste and season if you desire. I didn't add anymore salt or pepper at this point. Add in the fish fillet pieces and coat with sauce. Transfer to serving plate. I originally wanted to drizzle this with sesame oil but I forgot. Anyways, serve hot and enjoy!
So, the final verdict? MB liked it. I'm still not sure if this was sweet and sour or escabeche, but it definitely got the thumbs up!