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Sarciadong Tilapia

Sarciadong Tilapia is a delicious Filipino fried fish dish made special with the addition of the savory rich tomato and eggs sauce. Simply, fried fish covered in a savory rich tomato sauce made of simple seasonings of garlic, onions, salt, pepper, sometimes with a hint of sugar, and fresh tomatoes simmered, adding whisked eggs to help thicken before adding back the fried fish that soaks up most of the sauce.

how to cook Sarciadong Tilapia

What does Sarciado mean?

Sarciado meaning-“cooked with thick sauce” thus “sarciadong isda” in English would mean “fish cooked in a thick sauce”. The term came from the Filipino word ‘sarsa’ from the word ‘salsa’ in Spanish which similarly means ‘sauce’. This Filipino fish dish features mashed tomatoes seasoned then thickened with eggs.

Why try Sarciadong Tilapia? 

Sarciadong Tilapia is not just a tilapia with tomato sauce dish, nor is it escabeche even if it closely resembles one another. Sarciadong Isda has a rich and very strong savory taste that has strong roots in Filipino cuisine. This delicacy is made from a choice of fish freshly bought from the wet market, descaled, cleaned, and depending on your preference, deboned. Seasoned with a good amount of salt and pepper, shallow fried till both sides have turned a crisp golden brown, taken out of the pan to cool down over a kitchen towel or strainer to remove any excess oil. The Sarsa or pièce de résistance of the dish is the simple tomato sauce made of real tomatoes, garlic, onions, some seasonings, simmered and mashed to a soft paste, diluted with water then thickened back with eggs. Adding back the fried fish and giving it some time to simmer with the sauce to help it soak up all the flavor.

It’s also a great quick and easy healthy dish to make for dinner since sarciadong isda calories amount to just around 239 calories per serving. A dish with just a few preparations, customizable to fit your diet or food preferences, filling, and warm. This dish is great for a quick dinner or a hearty lunch,when trying to finish out leftover fish or other ingredients in the fridge.

fresh and cooked tilapia

Sarciadong Tilapia Alternatives to try:

  • No Tilapia?

Try using different fishes like:

  • Galunggong – also known as round mackerel scad, these are considered dark meat, are slightly oilier but more flavorful.
  •  Bangus – has a natural subtle sweet and milky taste. These are also the most tender and soft out of the other choices, but have more bones. Some recommended using deboned bangus to make it easier to eat.
  • choice of dried fish – these will taste saltier, it’s recommended to simply fry these then add into the unsalted sauce after, giving it a taste before adding more salt if needed, or adding sugar and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon to cut through the saltiness.
  • Precooked, leftover, or raw then fried meats like chicken, pork, beef.
  • Or simply use tofu or more eggs – these being protein filled can make you feel fuller faster. These also take less time to cook as these won’t need to be fried.
  • Tomatoes aren’t in season?

Tomatoes might not be the most affordable fruit-vegetable in the recent years, so a cheaper but still delicious recipe alternatives like Sarciadong Isda with Tomato Sauce, and Sarciadong Isda with Ketchup have been popping up and making it easier to ebony this savory rich dish.

  • Adding other ingredients?

Aside from the simple but delicious tomato-egg based sauce which represents the  “Sarciado” dish, there are many who do add their own twist like adding vegetables that you might need to take out from the fridge like “sarciadong isda with carrots”, or making a Chinese-Filipino fusion dish by adding preserved black beans to make “fish sarciado with tausi”.

Sarciadong Tilapia

Course: Main




  • 1 kilo tilapia

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 medium onion

  • 6 – 7 pieces tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

  • 1 & ½ cup water

  • 1 egg, whisked

  • Oil for frying


  • To prepare the tilapia: once it’s descaled, give it a slight scoring at both sides. Season the whole fish with salt and pepper.
  • Heat enough oil for frying in a nonstick pan, once hot enough add in the fishes by batches. Flipping each side till it turns golden brown. Once golden, take it off the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, keep only 1 – 2 tablespoons of the oil and sauté the garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Saute till the tomatoes are soft enough to crush. Mix and crush till you get your desired texture. Add in salt, pepper, and sugar (optional) to taste.
  • Pour in the water, adjusting to a thicker or more liquid-y sauce to suit your preference. Bring to a boil before adding the whisked egg, mixing till it curdles.
  • Place in the fried tilapias, let it simmer in the sauce for a few minutes or till almost half of the sauce evaporates. Take it off the heat, the sauce thickens as it cools down. Serve hot.

Recipe Video

Other Sarciado recipes:

Sarciadong Tilapia Resipi: (Tagalog version)

Mga Sangkap :

  • 1 kilo tilapia
  • Asin at paminta
  • 4 butil ng bawang
  • 1 sibuyas
  • 6 – 7 pirasong kamatis
  • 1 kutsaritang asukal (opsyonal)
  • 1 & ½ tasa ng tubig
  • Batihin ang 1 itlog
  • Mantika pang prito

Paano Lutuin :

  1. Para ihanda ang tilapia: kaliskisan ito at lagyan ng slit sa magkabilaan ng isda. Kuskusin ang mga isda nang asin at paminta.
  2. Ihanda ang mantika sa non-stick na kawali. Pagmainit na, iluto ang mga isda hanggang magmukhang golden isang gilid bago ibaligtad at lutuin din ito hanggang magkulay kape. Pagluto na ang parehong pantig tanggalin ang mga ito sa kawali.
  3. Sa parehong kawali, mag iwan ng 1-2 kutsrang mantika at lutuin ang bawang, sibuyas, at kamatis. Lutuin hanggang malambot na ang mga kamatis, pigain gamit ang spatula habang hinahalo. Ihalo ang asin, paminta at asukal (opsyonal) depende sa panlasa.
  4. Ibuhos ang tubig, depende kung gaano mo kakapal o kanipis mo gusto gawin ang sarsa. Pakuluin bago isama ang binati na itlog, haluin hanggang mamuo.
  5. Ibalik ang mga pritong tilapia, pakuluan ng ilang minuto o hanggang nabawasan na ng kalahati ang sarsa.
  6. Tanggalin sa init. Lalapot ang sarsa pag lumamig na ito. Ihain habang mainit.
Sarciadong Tilapia

Sarciadong Tilapia is along the long list of yummy “Sarciadong isda” varieties. A Filipino fried fish dish that uses a choice of fish from the smaller galunggong to the bigger tilapia or bangus, and even using dried fishes like tuyo for a stronger saltier taste. No matter the fish you’re sure to have a delicious dish by the end of this recipe!

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