Fish Sarciado
Philippines Dinner Filipino Lunch Meats and Seafoods Seafoods

How to Cook Fish Sarciado

How to Cook Fish Sarciado

What is fish sarciado?

Fish sarciado means fish with sauce. “Sarciado” is a term derived from the Tagalog (Philippine language) term “sarsa” or sauce in English. Interestingly, it also came from the Spanish term salsa, which is sulsa in Arabic. I like the similarity in the sound of all these terms; they seem to sound like they are the same, but all mispronounced, asking us to guess which one of them is indeed the right term.

Ingredients for fish sarciado

Sarciado is really of tomatoes and eggs, so fish sarciado means “fish + tomatoes + eggs.” Filipinos have sarciado (eggs and tomatoes) for breakfast. And for some reason, the same recipe ended up on top of fried fish where we now get the dish featured here today. Clearly now, we would have fish, tomatoes and eggs as our ingredients for fish sarciado. However, if you are already familiar with Filipino cooking, your guess is good that garlic and onions will definitely be part of the entourage!

How to cook fish sarciado

Fry your fish – set aside.
Make the sauce from garlic, onion, tomatoes, salt, eggs!
Top the fish with the cooked sauce.
Easy, right?

Firsh Sarciado of Francis

Now, I am not sure if mom has simplified the original dish or she had another reason for having deleted the eggs. I grew up eating this idsh with all of its basic ingredients sans the eggs, but with the addition of parsley. This is what I would feature here today. No, it is not a deviation, because at the end of cooking, you can still add the beaten eggs and you will have that basic, quick and easy fish sarciado that most Filipinos are familiar with.

What fish are good for sarciado

Tilapia, bangus (milk fish) are most popular for sarciado. That is to answer that question straight away. Did you notice that sarciado asked for meaty fish? What’s meaty fish? I would define it as one that has more fish meat and less of those rather bothersome fish bones that reside in the fish meat. Tuna, grouper, halibut are also good for sarciado. The idea here is to have the fish meat, the saucy tomato and rice all in one bite, and that is better without being bothered by the fish bones.

My big brother, Francis Perez, is a good cook. I would call him every now and then just to ask for recipes or recipe ingredients. Thirty years ago, we pay for phone calls, and I do that then just to speak with him. Ah, to my parents and other siblings as well. Yes, asking for a recipe or an ingredient was usually about 15-30 minutes of paid phone calls. Nowadays, that would be an SMS or an FB messenger, whatsapp, and all other similar apps. And nowadays, calls to family would be at least an hour!  Below is Francis’ rendition of sarciado which we featured in Inang’s book.

Sarciado has a counterpart in Middle Eastern Imam Biyaldi

I know that in Saudi Arabia, they have eggs and tomatoes, spiced differently, for breakfast as well and it is called shakshuka. However, they do not end up as fried fish topping! The reason, which was obvious for me, is that their shakshuka recipe has more eggs while we have more tomatoes in sarciado.

On the other hand, they have Imam Biyaldi. Here, what is replaced in the dish is the fish – by the eggplant. The sauce (source) is practically the same.

Imam Biyaldi,

Other names for fish sarciado

Fish sarciado is also called “sarciadong isda” – interesting play on words again! And “kinamatisang isda” – this one is Tagalog to the core! This does not play on words, it describes the dish literally – fish in tomatoes.


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Sarciadong Isda

Fish Sarciado

  • Author: Magida
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x


Fried fish topped with sauteed tomatoes


  • 1 k fish fillet (or any type of fish, fried)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • ¼ k fresh ripe tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3 tbsps chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil


  1. Saute garlic in oil for half a minute.  Add onions and stir for 2 more minutes or until the onions become transparent.
  2. Add tomatoes and cook till the mixture combines well.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir.
  3. Remove from heat and add chopped parsley. Stir again.
  4. Sprinkle cooked mixture over fried fish.


Serve with plain rice and fried eggplants on the side.
(The eggplants still make it to this dish :-))

Below video shows my late mom’s recipe which Marcie features here. Thanks to Marcie!
Marcie’s Kinamatisang Isda



  1. Looks delicious, but i also like your sinigang na hipon, Would you please share that recipe too,


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