Thursday, October 02, 2014

Basa Fish Recipes - Info and Tips

What is Basa? Why, Basa Fish is seriously and literally a wonderful-tasting catfish! It is a type of catfish that does not really taste like the catfish we grew up with in the United States. This fish is worthy of trying even if you do not like catfish! It's a tasty white fish that my family truly loves and really cannot get enough of ... It's the delicious taste of Basa along with the fabulous meaty texture that has us hooked!

basa fish fillet with broccoli florets
One day about 8 or so years ago, I bought my first fillets of Basa fish from the seafood counter at my local Publix supermarket. "Hmmm, I will try 2 of those please. I have never heard of it before, so I will give it a try!"

I was previously paying $15,99, but am now paying $12.99 for a package of 5-6 Basa fish fillets. I am happy to report that I have spread the word of mouth to many people; so it has become quite popular in Northeastern Florida! Is it popular in your area ... yet? I've heard from many readers who have tried it and say they LOVE the taste of Basa fish!

Learn all about it. Get delicious Basa fish recipes along with a comprehensive history and how it has impacted the United States catfish market! Give it a little taste. By the way, there is a new substitute for this fish being offered at Publix; it is Swai. I've tried it a number of times now. What do I think?

Photo Credit: Delicious Basa Fish and Broccoli made and photographed by JaguarJulie.

Quick, cast your vote!
You don't know what you are missing. Have you tried Basa fish?
  1. Yes, and I love it!
  2. Yes, don't really care for it.
  3. Nope, not yet.
  4. Don't care to. 

My Confession : I Truly Love Basa Fish Any Way You Fix It!

jaguarjulie glamour shot in red dress
A delicious white fish that tastes remarkable! "Gosh, Basa has surely gained in worldwide popularity since I first began promoting it. This white fish has a delectable taste that makes quick converts of those who try it!"

You know, I have been seeing this fish on the menu at a number of the restaurants we have visited in Florida! The most recent visit to one of our favorite Thai restaurants in Jacksonville, Florida, A Taste of Thai, had it on their featured menu. That was ex-hubby's choice. He opted for a pan-fried in medium spicy red curry sauce. It has a nice consistency too when served in curry sauce. Previously, we found it on the menu at a historic restaurant in old St. Augustine Beach. I would say that this fish has arrived!

Oh wow! We were at a class-reunion party of 60-year olds, oh not mine as I'm not yet 60 folks! So, here we are talking with Fred, the best friend of hubby from all those years ago. And, what about that? Well, without prompting, Fred starts talking about "this" great tasting fish that he loves! It's called Basa fish. You should have seen the smile on my face and heard what I day to say about that!

Do you know people around the world are talking about it and asking "What is it?" It is truly remarkable to see that this humble catfish has seemingly hit the big time. Not too many people were "talking" about this fish some 5 or so years ago, but now it's become a popular topic or so it seems!

We'll share recipes for how to deliciously cook this fish. And, we'll share lots of interesting information on the rich history.

October 2013, Jacksonville, Florida: I was in my local Publix grocery shopping and stopped to talk with the manager of the seafood department. I asked why I hadn't see Basa fish for a couple of months. He told me that there was a USA fishery that was farm-raising this fish; however, they recently went out of business! According to him, Publix is sourcing a replacement fish. Well, needless to say, I voiced my opinion that I will miss that fish. It is time to look elsewhere. I'll let you know where I find it.

January 2014, Jacksonville Florida: I was at another local Publix grocery and stopped to talk with that seafood manager. He told me that Publix was no longer going to carry Basa fish. When he heard that news, he called around to all the Publix in Jacksonville and bought up the 5 remaining packages. I had found another Basa fish lover like myself. According to him, this fish grows a little too slow so Publix had to find a replacement. I haven't seen that other fish yet in the store, but I believe it is Swai. Stay tuned for more!

March 2014, Jacksonville Florida: Shopping on a Monday at my local Publix grocery store, I checked the frozen seafood department and was amazed to see Swai fish! It was located in the same area that Basa fish used to occupy. The picture on the package cover looked similar to Basa. For a package of 3 fillets, weighing 24 ounces, I paid $7.99. These are farm-raised in Vietnam. That evening, I prepared one of the fillets.

Check out What is Swai Fish : Delicious Recipes and Interesting History for a taste test comparison!
This fish attained the level of being one of my comfort foods ... so the fact that I haven't been able to find it locally is not so comforting to me. I am thinking that I will have to take a vacation to find this particular comfort food!

Hello readers! Thanks so much for taking time to check out my page on basa fish. It seems just like yesterday when I first discovered it in the fish department of my local Publix grocery store. I would imagine that I have consumed more than a few pounds of that fish in all these years. And? I still love it. Hope you will try it too! --The Brand Ambassador JaguarJulie! Say, did you have any idea that I WAS the Official Comfort Foods Contributor on Squidoo, you know?

Publix fresh frozen Basa Fillets
32 oz. package of Publix fresh frozen fillets

32 oz. package of Publix fresh frozen fillets
I buy all my Basa from the Publix grocery stores located in Florida. I'm sure that other grocery stores in Florida also carry it.

Checking out my 32 oz. (2 lbs.) 907g package of Fresh Frozen fillets boneless and skinless it says they are 100% Natural Farm Raised. According to the Sell by date, they would appear to stay fresh frozen for a one-year period. I was paying $13.99 per package, but found the price went up to $14.99 on June 1, 2009. And, the price increased to $15.99 in January, 2010.

The back-side of the package states that the ingredients are BASA. Product of Vietnam Farm Raised.

It has the Publix guarantee: Complete satisfaction or your money back.
What's interesting is that the Nutrition Facts states a serving size of 3 oz (85g) cooked (approximately 1/2 fillet) with servings per container about 10. That doesn't make sense as my package contained 4 individually sealed fillets. I'm wondering if maybe 2 fillets are missing from my package?

During the summer months, it may be difficult to find
This is the most frustrating situation!

In 2009, it was April and Basa was not available at our local supermarket!!! It was not until June 1, 2009 that it became available again in Northeastern Jacksonville. Even Publix Supermarkets had it on back order, but it was just not coming into their warehouse. When it finally was available, I bought 3 of the 32 oz. packages.

It was funny at checkout that the cashier thought they were priced buy 1 get 1 free. But they weren't priced that way. However, in the fish department the price showed $13.99 even though they rang up at the cash register as $14.99. Because I pointed out the discrepancy, I got one of those packages for free! Wow, I sure am glad that it is available again -- and glad that I've helped to make it popular in Northeastern Florida because all of my word-of-mouth promotions!


For THREE consecutive years, for many weeks, if not a couple of months, it was NOT available for purchase during the summer months. Three years ago, when I inquired I was told something about U.S. customs? Last year, it was unavailable for a longer period of time and the reason was the FDA? This year, the fish and meat manager has NO idea why the fish is not available to Publix.

This prompted me to investigate what is up with the fish that is our family's favorite fish. You see, we used to eat it at least twice a week! What I learned is that this fish has been the subject of some controversy going back several years. There's been a lawsuit, talks of dumping with lower than market prices, and even mislabeling of product! There's been some scuttle-butt that some of this fish was possibly Tra [P. hypophthalmus] or China Sole.

Nutritional Information from the Publix package

Amount per serving: Calories 150; Calories from fat 50
Total Fat 6g - 9% daily value [DV]
Saturated Fat 2g - 10 % DV
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 20mg - 7% DV
Sodium 120mg - 5% DV
Total Carbohydrate 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 25g
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron -- each 2%

Basa has a Wonderful Taste

basa fish pangasius bocourti picture
According to the Publix package AND personal experience ..

With its clean, fresh flavor and delicate, moist texture, basa tastes delicious regardless of the recipe. Supremely versatile, this fish is mild enough to take on other flavors, but flavorful enough to shine in the simplest preparations.

These fillets were frozen fresh after being harvested and trimmed, making it easy to serve a healthful, fresh-tasting seafood meal anytime.

See this picture? I created that picture in PhotoShop several years ago; when I originally researched the topic. Oh, my original article on Basa Fish was created on September 13, 2007 on Squidoo.

How to pan-fry Basa Fish - Part 1

basa fish fillet in frying pan
From my own kitchen to yours! First you should thaw the fish fillet.

Take out how many fillets you would like to cook from the package outer wrapper. What works well for me is to keep the frozen fillet in the individually sealed plastic wrap. Put them in a sink with cool water that covers the fillets. They will usually thaw within 2 hours.

Remove from the wrappers and rinse. As you can see from this fillet, it has a nice light pink color. As the fillet cooks, it becomes white and flaky!

In a frying pan, I add a tablespoon of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter along with a tablespoon of olive oil. After the butter has melted, I add the fillet.

This particular fillet is probably nearly 8 oz. and could serve two depending upon appetite and side items.

How to pan-fry Basa Fish - Part 2

basa fish fillet in frying pan
Oh, it is going to taste great! In this picture, you have an idea of just how much seasoning I like to add to the fillet.

I sprinkle it lightly with garlic salt, lemon pepper and cayenne pepper!

I then cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes; flip and season sparingly with garlic salt, lemon pepper and cayenne pepper if you want!

As I like it spicy, I do season both sides, but a little less on the flip side.

Cook for additional 5-10 minutes. I flip one more time to "wet" the seasonings and then I serve.

Grilled Basa Fish and a Side of Buttered Broccoli 
Cayenne pepper is the secret spice!

Grilled Basa Fish and a Side of Buttered Broccoli

This is the actual fish I had for dinner! I like 'green' vegies with mine. As I had some broccoli spears that had been in my refrigerator for a few days, I decided to have that as my side dish as opposed to the rice and spinach that usually accompanies my "favorite" recipe. The grilled Basa Fish and broccoli florets makes a nutritious, low-calorie, vitamin-enriched dinner!

Delicious Recipes for Preparing Basa Fish
Some hand-selected options for you!

Basa in Ginger Sauce: Indonesian Style: You'll need milk, cornstarch, olive oil, onion, ginger, chili sauce, soy sauce, lemon, sugar, salt and pepper, and of course the fish! With the nice, tasty sauce, you'll like to serve it with noodles. Yumm!

Grilled Basa Fish: Ingredients include olive oil, lemon juice, butter, black pepper, chopped parsley. You probably have these ingredients for preparing a tasty dish. Fast and easy!

Another Favorite Recipe : A Taste of Thai
It's my personal recipe for a spicy dish!

My Favorite Recipe: When I prepare Basa fish, my favorite recipe has the SPICY touch. I use the leftover package of A Taste of Thai Red Curry Paste, 1.75 Ounce, after making my "chicken red curry Thai style!"

In a frying pan, I add a tablespoon of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter along with a tablespoon of olive oil. After the butter has melted, I blend in the red curry paste and stir until I have a red liquid mixture.

I then add the fillets; sprinkle with garlic salt and lemon pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes; flip and season lightly with garlic salt and lemon pepper.

Cook for additional 5-10 minutes. I flip one more time to "wet" the seasonings and then I serve. My favorite side item is rice and creamed spinach.

The two different rices that I prefer to serve are #1 Zatarain's New Orleans Style Jambalaya With Cheese [I add a little red pepper + 2 tablespoons of olive oil when cooking] or #2 Uncle Ben's Country Inn Broccoli Rice au Gratin.

How Do You Feel About Thai Food?
Please take a moment to answer our poll question Are you a fan?
  1. I have been a big fan of Thai food and cooking for years!
  2. I am new to this food and cooking and love it.
  3. I haven't tried it yet.
  4. I want to try this food soon.
  5. Not a fan.

A Bit of Interesting History

The Seafood Business November 2001 Buyer's Guide-Basa Catfish has the MOST interesting and comprehensive information on this fish.

While this information dates back to 2001, I believe it is just as pertinent today in distinguishing whether or not you are getting true basa or tra. That makes me wonder if this was not the issue of why I could not get my fish from Publix for several months this past summer?

Fillets cuts from Pangasius bocourti will be whiter than fillets cut from P. hypophthalmus, which will tend to be more beige.
  • Grown by Vietnamese and Cambodian fish farmers in cages along the Mekong River for decades.
  • After the U.S. trade embargo with Vietnam was lifted in 1994, U.S. seafood importers began traveling to the Southeast Asian country and started shipping the first containers of basa fillets to California.
  • At the same time, another fish began showing up on the West Coast: China sole. In addition to P. bocourti, Vietnamese fish farmers started farming P. hypophthalmus, known locally as tra and elsewhere as swai.
  • Tra aka Swai became the preferred species among fish farmers along the Mekong; in eight to 10 months, growing to almost 3 pounds, big enough to yield two 8-ounce fillets.
  • By 1999, production accelerated with more exports of frozen fillets to the United States.
  • In order to differentiate tra from basa, some importers created a new name, river cobbler, although most importers simply call it basa.
  • From 1999 to 2000, U.S. imports of Vietnamese catfish fillets more than tripled.
  • U.S. imports of Vietnamese catfish increased another 300 percent the first six months of 2001. The U.S. catfish industry was unhappy when their wholesale prices for U.S. catfish nosedived.
  • In 2001, according to the Ministry of Fisheries, tra must be labeled either basa, Mekong or Pangas catfish.
  • In 2001, more than 90 percent of the catfish being imported from Vietnam was Pangasius hypophthalmus, or tra.
  • In 2000, Vietnam's seafood export turnover exceeded US $1 billion. In 2002, over US $2 billion and in 2006, it was more than US $3 billion.

A Question About Catfish Please!
How do you feel about it? Do you have a love of catfish to eat?
  1. I love this fish from the United States especially.
  2. I love it from the U.S.A. and other countries.
  3. It is OK, but my favorite fish is something else.
  4. Since I've tasted Basa, I like it!
  5. I'm not really a catfish food lover.
  6. Hey! I'll eat whatever kind of fish you want to prepare.
  7. I don't eat fish.

You'll Need a Good Teflon-Coated Frying Pan
My Pick is the TeChef Art Pan 11" Frying Pan, Coated 5 times with Teflon Select. When you are cooking with artistry and creativity, you want a frying pan that fits the style.

I knew this was the right pan for me the moment I saw it!

This is billed as "the world's finest cookware with DuPont Teflon Select." That impresses me plus the fact that it has 5 layers of coating.

It is a "healthy" pan to use as it has no PFOA, Cadmium, or Lead. I personally love the Aubergine Purple color.

Have you tried Basa Fish yet?
If you have, how do you like it? How do you prepare it? Got a recipe to share? More importantly! Where are you buying basa fish these days? Not at Publix! So, maybe you too are transitioning to Swai Fish? I'd surely love to hear from you too!

History: What is Basa? Basa Recipes and History was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on September 13, 2007. On January 11, 2012 this lens earned the Squidoo Purple Star Award for quality content. This lens was honored as lens of the day on July 21, 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment