For Mother's Day, we asked local chefs to share a family recipe that they loved making with a maternal figure in their life. Chef Jeffrey Salazar, Executive Chef at Parsnip in Cambridge, shared this family recipe.

"I used to watch my mom cook every day for my family and me," he told us. "That sense of wanting to take care of people really instilled my passion for wanting to go into cooking. It meant so much to me - not just the nourishment she was providing for us, but also the passion that led me to my future career."

Chef Jeffrey Salazar's Family Recipe for Sweet and Sour Fish


  • 6 tilapia filets
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple Juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 small Vidalia onion - julienned
  • 1 bulb whole garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil, for frying, plus 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, for sauteeing
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup ketchup


Heat one cup of oil in a frying pan. Mix the flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
Season fish with cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Fry the fish on both sides until golden brown. Remove fish from pan and drain on a serving grate.

In a saucepan, sauté garlic, ginger, and onion in 1/4 cup canola oil. Add the carrots and bell peppers and stir. Pour in the vinegar, pineapple juice, dissolved cornstarch, and ketchup. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and let it simmer until it thickens.

Once fish is drained, place on individual plates or a family-style plate and pour the sauce over it.

A man in a gray t-shirt and cargo shorts holds a baby girl while a woman in jeans and flip-flops hugs them.
Salazar and his mom.
Courtesy of Jeffrey Salazar