Lemongrass Fish Escabeche (Sweet and Sour Fish in Lemongrass)
Try this fish escabeche with a twist with the addition of lemongrass and kinchay. Lemongrass is one of the culinary herb that enhances the flavor of meat dishes but can also be used on fish or seafood. It acts as a deodorizer too like ginger. And with regards to fish used in this recipe, you can use white flesh fish like grouper (lapu-lapu) or red snapper (maya-maya). Buying the fish is sometimes tricky not knowing how fresh it is when sold in the market. It is not enough to look at the clear eyes or red gills. Fish skin should be oily and not dry, firm and not soft. Check for that sea or freshly cut cucumber smell. Any weird odors are signs of a stale fish.
- 1 whole lapu-lapu or maya-maya fish
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 egg white
- 1 stalk lemongrass, bottom and white part only, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. kinchay, chopped
- ½ Tbsp. ginger, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
- ½ Tbsp. vinegar
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Clean and scale the fish and remove gills and innards. Rinse in running water then drain.
- Make 4 diagonal slits on the fish. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in the refrigerator.
- For the sweet and sour sauce, heat oil in pan and saute kinchay, red bell pepper, ginger, and lemongrass for a minute.
- Add sweet chili sauce and vinegar then season with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes and set aside.
- Coat the fish with egg whites then coat with cornstarch. Deep fry until crispy.
- Heat the sauce again then immediately glaze with simmering sweet and sour sauce.
- Serve hot.