Filipino cuisine is a melting pot of several different types of cuisine, but it is said that 80% of Filipino dishes have been influenced by Spanish cuisine. The Philippines was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898. Almost 400 years of Spanish rule certainly left its mark, many Filipino specialties are local adaptations of Spanish dishes.
One of our family favorites is Escabeche, or a Sweet & Sour Fish dish. Escabeche is a common Spanish dish that is popular in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine. Typically it refers to a dish of poached or fried fish that has been marinated in an acidic sauce before serving. It can also composed of other meats including chicken and pork, or vegetables. The Filipino version of Fish Escabeche is fried fish in a Sweet & Sour sauce. It is a favorite Filipino party food, specially when it’s made with a whole fish that’s artfully arranged on a platter and topped with colorful veggies and sauce.
I’ve made it the traditional way using whole fish, but my grandsons have difficulty with the small fish bones. To make it easier for them to eat I have started making Escabeche using fish fillets than have no bones. Any kind of white fish will work. We have used Tilapia, Flounder, Orange Roughy, and other white fish we find in the market.
Like many Filipino dishes Escabeche isn’t difficult to make, but it is “fussy” meaning its preparation requires several steps; in this case dredging, frying, chopping, and making the sauce. It takes about an hour or so tho cook so it’s not something I make very often, but when I do my family loves it!
6 – 8 Fish Fillets (any white fish: Tilapia, Flounder, Halibut, etc.)
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 1/2 + 1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Ketchup
2 Tbls. Corn Starch
1 Large Onion Sliced into strips
2 Medium Green Peppers Sliced into large chunks
4 Cloves Garlic roughly chopped
Serve right away. It goes great with steamed white rice.h
Escabeche - Filipino Sweet & Sour Fish
Popular Filipino dish featuring fried white fish in sweet & sour sauce.
Combine flour, garlic powder, salt & pepper and place in a shallow dish.
Heat oil over medium - medium high stove.
Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towel.
Dredge fillets in flour mixture and place in heated oil.
Fry fish until cooked and turns golden brown - about 4 - 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness
Remove from pan and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Set aside.
Combine sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. About 10 minutes.
Mix 1/4 cup water with corn starch until smooth.
Slowly stir corn starch liquid into the boiling vinegar mixture to thicken. Reduce heat to low and let sauce gently simmer. Keep an eye on it, you don't want it to get too thick. If it gets too thick add a bit of water to thin.
Saute onions in the oil you fried the fish in until it starts to turn a bit soft.
Add garlic, saute until cooked.
Add green peppers and cook until peppers turn slightly soft.
Return fried fish fillets to pan with veggies.
Gently stir fish mixture for about 3 - 4 minutes.
Arrange fish and veggies in a platter.
Pour sauce over all.
The most efficient way to make this dish is to start making the sauce while the fish is frying. Keep the sauce simmering over low heat while you finish sauteing the veggies. Stir the sauce periodically to keep a skin from forming on the top.
When you drain the fried fish and set it aside keep it warm by placing it in a warmer or on the stove top. Don't cover the fried fish, it will get soggy.
When you replace the fish in the pan gently stir it so that the fillets warm up a bit. Transfer fish and veggies on to your serving dish (or you can keep it in the frying pan) and pour the hot sauce over all.
This dish is perfect served with steamed white rice.
I recently started seeing pins of “Earthquake” Cakes on Pinterest. They looked yummy! I made me curious, what exactly is an “Earthquake” Cake?
I read descriptions about how delicious these cakes were and looked at recipes for various flavors. The “original” seems to be a chocolate cake with shredded coconut and chopped pecans, sort of like a German Chocolate cake without the icing. There was also a recipe for a pumpkin earthquake cake that I may try for Thanksgiving.
After looking at recipes and reading the raves people have posted about these cakes I gathered that the reason for the name is because the cake is made with a cream cheese concoction that will seep into the cake batter as it bakes. This is what gives the top surface an uneven churned look, sort of like the sidewalk upheaval after a fairly strong earthquake. This also results in the sweet gooey yumminess when you cut into the cake. The name could also be due to the fact that this cake is so good it will rock your world!
I decided I should make one of these cakes, it quite easy. But I didn’t want to make it using the recipes I found online, basically because my family does not like shredded coconut in anything, and think that pecans belong solely in their beloved Pecan Pie. The pumpkin flavored cake wasn’t going to work for me either, the only one who likes anything pumpkin is my younger daughter and she lives in another state. Besides, I was hungry for something with bananas and chocolate!
To make a long story short I made up my own version of the Earthquake cake. It’s very simple to make using Duncan Hines Supreme Banana cake mix. Instead of water I use sour cream for a moist rich cake. The cream cheese mixture that’s layered on the cake batter seeps into the batter during baking resulting in a cake with a sweet gooey center that is oh so good!
Here’s my recipe, enjoy!
1 Duncan Hines Supreme Banana Cake Mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream – softened to room temp
1 stick of butter
1 package of cream cheese
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Generously spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray
3. Melt butter on the stovetop using a heavy saucepan. You can melt it in the microwave as well, but I feel I have more control on the stovetop.
4. Remove from heat and stir in softened cream cheese until it mostly melts.
5. Stir in white chocolate chips. Chips don’t have to melt completely. Set aside.
6. Put cake mix in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, oil, and sour cream. Mix until smooth.
7. Spread cake batter evenly in oiled baking pan.
8. Drop dollops of the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter. Make sure you get some around the edges.
9. Sprinkle chocolate chips over all.
10. Bake for 50 minutes. Don’t over cook it, remove from oven after 50 minutes. If you test the center with a toothpick the toothpick will not come out clean, you might think the cake is not done, but it is, the center is supposed to be gooey.
Serve warm or cold, it’s delicious either way. My son loves it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Rock Your World with this Banana Chip Earthquake Cake!
Generously spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray
Melt butter on the stovetop using a heavy saucepan. You can melt it in the microwave as well, but I feel I have more control on the stovetop.
Remove from heat and stir in softened cream cheese until it mostly melts.
Stir in white chocolate chips. Chips don't have to melt completely. Set aside.
Put cake mix in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, oil, and sour cream. Mix until smooth.
Spread cake batter evenly in oiled baking pan.
Drop dollops of the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter. Make sure you get some around the edges.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over all.
Bake for 50 minutes. Don't over cook it, remove from oven after 50 minutes. If you test the center with a toothpick the toothpick will not come out clean, you might think the cake is not done, but it is, the center is supposed to be gooey.
Serve warm or cold, it's delicious either way. My son loves it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Here’s a really easy lemon cake recipe. It’s really moist and yummy! Hard to believe it’s from a boxed cake mix!
The recipe makes 6 mini loaves. I like to make them in mini loaf pans but you can make them in 2 large loaf pans if you prefer. I make them mini so I’m not tempted to eat too much, they’re that good! I freeze the cakes and thaw them as needed.
Lemon Chip Mini Loaf Cakes Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
1 box lemon cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups white chocolate chips
1. Spray 6 mini loaf pans with baking spray.
2. Dump all the ingredients in a bowl and mix very well. Be sure you have no lumps of cake mix.
3. Spoon into mini loaf pans.
4. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
5. Cool for about 10 minutes and remove from pans – you may have to gently run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake.
You can drizzle it with your favorite glaze if you like, but wait until the loaves are completely cooled.