February 3, 2014

Sweet and Sour Tilapia

I have been craving for Sweet and Sour Lapu-Lapu since December. It is one of the traditional dishes I prepare for my family for the New Year's Eve dinner. However, I was not able to cook it because I could not find any lapu-lapu in the market. 

Based on my research, sweet and sour originated from Canton, a province in China. The Cantonese thought of combining two different flavors, though others claim that it was invented by Chinese who migrated in America. 

Sweet and Sour Lapu-Lapu 

Last Saturday, while I was preparing my grocery list and weekly menu, my second son E-mann specifically requested for Sweet and Sour Lapu-Lapu. I know he loves the sweet and tangy taste of this dish so I promised him that I will buy one if it is available in the market. At the same time, I decided it is time to recreate my recipe and improve it further. 

Unfortunately, lapu-lapu is very elusive! I still cannot find any lapu-lapu in the market. Honestly, I was really disappointed because I have been looking for lapu-lapu since the last days of 2013. Hence, my husband and I settled for tilapia, which is fleshy enough for a sweet and sour dish. 

Sweet and Sour Tilapia Fillet

500 grams tilapia fillet
1 cup cooking oil for frying
1 tsp cooking oil
1 tbsp. ginger strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup pineapple syrup
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cup sugar
pineapple tidbits, drained (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
spring onion for garnish


1. Wash tilapia. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat oil in a pan.
4. Fry both sides of tilapia until golden brown.
5. Drain on paper towels. 

To prepare the sauce: 

1. Combine water, vinegar, catsup, pineapple syrup, tomato paste, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl.
2. Stir well until all solid particles are completely dissolved.
3. In a separate pan, heat oil and saute ginger, garlic, and onion.
4. Add carrots and strips of bell pepper. Cook for a minute or until vegetables are half-cooked.
5. Pour the sweet and sour mixture. Simmer until thick while stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
6. Add pineapple tidbits.
7. Season with salt and pepper. 

Serving Suggestion: 

1. Arrange fried fish fillet in a platter.
2. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the fried fish.
3. Garnish with chopped spring onion.
4. Serve while hot. 

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