5 Basa Fish Dishes Beyond The Curry That You Should Try Out
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A type of freshwater catfish, the basa is native to the Mekong River Delta in Southeast Asia. The fish gained widespread popularity in various regions around the globe, including India, due to its gentle, mild taste, juicy texture, and reasonable price. It is available in fresh and frozen varieties and is commonly sold as fillets. It is often enjoyed by people who don’t like their fish “too fishy." It is odourless, doesn’t have an overpowering fishy taste and the fillets eliminate the bone, making it easier to eat. 

It is a good source of protein, low in fat, and contains essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Basa cooks quicker than most other fish, thanks to its tender flesh. It’s important to be careful while cooking, as it can get overcooked easily and become dry if overcooked.

This versatile fish can be cooked in numerous ways, apart from being used only in soups and curries. It can be grilled, baked, pan-fried, or steamed. Marinating the basa with salt, lime juice and herbs is a good idea. Its mild flavour allows it to absorb the flavours of marinades and sauces easily. Here are some delicious ways to cook the basa. 

Basa Tacos 

To make basa tacos, marinate the basa fillets with a blend of salt, paprika, lime juice, chilli powder, cumin, minced garlic, and cilantro for 15-20 minutes. Grill or pan-sear the marinated basa for about 3–4 minutes on each side, until the fish turns opaque. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before flaking the fish into bite-sized pieces. Heat the tortillas in a pan over medium heat for about 30 seconds on each side. Add shredded cabbage or lettuce, diced tomatoes and mayo or salsa. Squeeze some lime on the top.

Basa Burgers 

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To make basa fish patties, chop the basa fillets finely by hand or in a food processor. In a large bowl, combine the chopped basa, breadcrumbs, egg, minced garlic, chopped onion, parsley or cilantro, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Shape the mixture into patties. If the mixture is too sticky, you can add a little more breadcrumbs to help bind it together. Cook the patties for 4–5 minutes on each side. Serve the basa burgers on toasted buns with lettuce, tomato slices, onions, ketchup, tartar sauce or aioli.

Basa Fish Tikka 

Marinate basa fillets with a mixture of yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), lemon juice, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it refrigerated for at least 2–3 hours for the fish to absorb the marinade adequately. If using a grill, preheat it to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated basa pieces onto skewers, place the skewers on the preheated grill and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve the Basa fish tikka hot with mint chutney, sliced onions, and lemon wedges as a flavorful appetiser or side dish.

Basa and Avocado Salad 

Video Credit: Cooking With Raisa

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Marinate the basa fillets in this mix for at least 15–20 minutes. Preheat a non-stick pan. Cook the marinated basa fillets for about 3–4 minutes. Remove the fish from the heat and let it cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the diced avocados, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, thinly sliced red onion, and mixed greens. Add the fish to the pan and drizzle the salad with a tangy dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, and minced garlic.

Basa Fish Stir-Fried Noodles 

Cook rice noodles according to the instructions on the pack and set aside. Marinate the basa fish in a mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, ginger-garlic paste, and black pepper. Let it sit for about 15–20 minutes. Stir-fry vegetables of your choice in a pan. You can pick bell peppers, snap peas, carrots, and mushrooms. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, heat the oil and cook the marinated basa for 3–4 minutes. Add the cooked noodles and the stir-fried vegetables and pour in soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Toss everything together.