Sunday, October 3, 2010

Escabeche na Galunggong (Pinoy Redtail Scadfish in Sweet and Sour Sauce)

The first time I had this dish was at my Pinoy friends house Shantall :) she made a delicious Escabeche using a delicious Silver Pomfret. So let me explain what it is in the first place.To Filipinos (this is just based on my observation) "Escabeche" is a deep-fried fish, in a sweet and sour sauce that can be either thin like a water consistency or thick like gravy with colorful strips of vegetables.

The fish can either be simmered in the sauce with no thickener in which it will lose it's crisp but absorb it really well, and the other is have a crispy fried fish and pour a thickened version of the sauce so you have a crispy fried fish glazed and coated in a sweet and sour sauce.
(see the notes at the end of this for details) I however chose to make it with thickener this time. I got the idea from "Overseas Pinoy" (I love that blog) however the recipe I'm using is Shantalls recipe I simply used the technique I saw at overseas pinoy's which was to pour a thickened version of the sauce over fried fish and served immediately


-2-3 lbs Redtail Scad fish (deep-fried or pan-fried)
-salt to season fish
-1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced
-1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced
-1 carrot cut into match sticks
-2 stalks celery cut thin diagnolly into thin strips (optional)
-1/2 onion thinly sliced
-2 inches of peeled ginger root cut into thin rounds or thinly julienned (if you like to eat the ginger root thinly julienne it if not then cut it into rounds)
-4 cloves garlic minced
-1/4 cup soy sauce (more or less to taste)
-1/4 cup white vinegar (more or less to taste)
-1/2 cup dark brown sugar (more or less to taste)
-salt to taste
-1 1/2 cups water
-1- 2 tablespoons cornstarch diluted in 1/4- 1/2 cup water
-chopped cilantro or scallions to garnish (optional)

(1) Have your fish well cleaned (scaled, gutted, black layer of inside skin removed, wash well pat dry), season both the inside and outside liberally with salt, set aside for 15 minutes.

(2) Meanwhile in a bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water set aside. Chop all your vegetables and set aside your garlic, ginger, and onion seperately.
(3) Set wok to high heat, when it smokes add your oil, and heat it until a chop-stick or piece wooden utinsil bubbles when dipped into it. Add your fish in batches and deep-fry your red tail scad fish, on one side 5 minutes then flip on the other side 5 minutes (please be careful it will splatter)
drain out and set aside in paper towels, when done with all the batches transfer to a deep dish.
(4) Carefully pour oil out of wok into a large bowl to cool, or strain it into a glass jar (be careful I am impatients and do it while hot, however you can leave the oil there to cool and then discard it I honestly re-use it to fry fish after straining)

(5) Now heat oil in a large deep- pan or wok, sautee ginger, garlic, and onion.
add soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar mixture bring to a rolling boil, add veggies let it break into a rolling boil again, then add cornstarch solution when thickened
pour over the fried fish the whole sauce and veggies and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro
(6) Ready to serve with rice. Serve immediately if you like it crispy :)
This can be done with any fish you like, it goes especially well with any variety of Pomfret (black or silver pomfret), Grouper (called Lapu-lapu sometimes), Redsnapper, Tilapia, almost any large white fleshed fish deep-fried whole or meaty medium sized fish (in this case I used six scadfish) to make your life easier you can buy a fish and have the store deep-fry it for you then bring it home and whip up the sauce, it is also good for leftover fried fish. Also in addition this may not be very traditional or how it's normally done but one could use fish filets, salt & pepper them, flour them and deep-fry arrange them in a platter and pour this delicious sauce over them :)

NOTES ON OPTIONS (I'm repeating myself but this is for those who didn't read it in the intro) :
My Pinoy bestie Shantall makes this dish with Silver Pomfret (also called Pompano), when she makes "Escabeche" she uses no thickener, the sauce is runny and light, and she adds the fish into the boiling sauce and let's it cook an additional 5 minutes in the sauce, 3 minutes into cooking the fried fish in the sauce she adds the vegetables 2 minutes then turns off. This produces a more flavorful fish but get's rid of the crunchy texture of the fried fish. Both are good the choices :)

Also another note (yes I haven't shut up yet lol) in my Spaniard/ Cuban culture side for us fish cooked in "Escabeche" means the fish is salted, floured and fried in olive oil, then preserved in a mixture of the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and spices. Usually sardines and smaller fish are prepared this way. See my post for "Sardinas en Escabeche" if interested :)