Thursday, October 02, 2014

Swai Fish Recipes - Info and Tips

What is Swai : Delicious Swai Fish Recipes and Interesting History. Have you heard of Swai fish? It is a farm-raised catfish that comes from Vietnam. It is literally a mild and meaty catfish! It is a bit more mild than its relative Basa fish!

Swai Fish and Baby Broccoli Blend
For a number of years, I was purchasing Basa fish at my local Publix grocery store. Each Summer it seemed more and more difficult to source this type of fish. Ultimately, Publix made the decision to stop sourcing Basa fish and replace it with a related fish, Swai.

It was early April 2014 when I first found this fish at my grocery store. It was selling in a 24 ounce package of 3 fillets for $7.99. That's a fairly good per pound price of $5.33. Most of the fish I find in the Publix seafood department sells for $7.99 or more per pound.

I actually was able to buy two 24-ounce packages for $10.00 a couple of times. Gosh, not as high a demand for Swai fish as compared to Basa fish! Just wait for it ... once people find out how good it tastes, you won't be able to find any.

Photo Credit: Delicious Swai Fish and Baby Broccoli Blend made and photographed by JaguarJulie.

Quick! Answer our poll question!
Have you heard of it? Are you familiar with Swai fish?
  1. Yes, I have heard of it and tried it.
  2. I have heard about this but not yet tried it.
  3. First time I am learning about it.

How did I discover Swai fish?

Would you believe? I actually started buying this type of catfish when I could no longer find Basa! Yep, I didn't happen to try this until I couldn't find my favorite type of Vietnamese farm-raised catfish.

Perhaps you have seen my page on Basa Fish? I have a lot of interesting history about it which parallels the story of Swai.

Since the early Summer of 2013, I had been talking with the Seafood Managers of three of my local Publix grocery stores. It seemed that all three of them had the same story.

Basa fishes just didn't seem to grow fast enough! The buyers had to make a decision to find another fish that grew faster. Can you believe that?

At that time, I just knew they were looking for an alternative product -- I didn't know it was going to be a relative!

UPDATE: I've been purchasing and eating Swai for several months. The price is right at $7.99 for a package. At one time, basa fish was that affordable. Then, it got rather popular and probably created too much competition for the United States catfish growers. So, it was on to Swai fish.

Basa catfish was one of my favorite comfort foods. Since I couldn't find it, I needed to fill the void ... after all I was the Official Comfort Foods Contributor on Squidoo, you know?

What is Swai fish?

Swai Fish Pangasius Hypophthalmus
It is a type of catfish. According to the Publix package, this fish is a product of Vietnam where it is farm-raised.

It is technically known as Pangasius Hypophthalmus although in the Wikipedia reference, they state the species as Pangasianodon hypophthalmus.

Swai is often referred to as iridescent shark that is a member of the shark catfish family!

For a bit of interesting history, be sure to read the historical background on Basa fish.

As Basa and Swai both sell for competitive prices and are meaty and mild-tasting catfish, you can well imagine that the United States catfish farmers don't like the stiff competition!

Nutritional Information on Swai Fish
From the Publix package.  It is a bit different from the Basa nutritional makeup.

Serving Size 3oz. [84g / about 2/3 fillet].
Servings per container: 6.
Amount per serving: Calories 90; Calories from fat 15

Total Fat 1.5g - 2% daily value [DV]
Saturated Fat 0.5g - 3 % DV
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 40mg - 13% DV
Sodium 40mg - 2% DV
Total Carbohydrate 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 19g
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium -- each 0%
Iron -- 4%

Compare this with the Basa fish nutritional information. 

My Grilled Swai Fish Recipe

grilled swai fish with baby broccoli blend

Try My Personal Recipe! When I first tried this catfish, I returned to my basic pan-frying recipe that I use for Basa. When trying a new fish for the first time, I like to keep the recipe simple so that I get a good taste of the actual fish. I found this is a great way to learn the taste before trying other fancier recipes.

Side Dishes: This fish is great served with green vegetables and rice. For this recipe, I have selected Birds Eye Baby Broccoli Blend.

One fillet of Swai
One Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One Tablespoon of I Can't Believe Its Not Butter
One half teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
Dash of Garlic Salt
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Side Dish: Birds Eye Baby Broccoli Blend

  1. Thaw your fillet in pan of cold water.
  2. Heat up frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Add olive oil to pan.
  4. Add butter to pan and allow to melt.
  5. Place fillet in pan.
  6. Season with cayenne pepper.
  7. Grill on one side for about five minutes.
  8. Flip fillet and season with a little more cayenne pepper.
  9. Grill for another five minutes.
  10. Put your package of vegetables in the microwave!
  11. You can grill a little longer if you like a crispier fillet.
  12. Serve with vegetables and optional rice dish.
Prep time: 5 min; Cook time: 15 min; Ready in: 20 min; Yields: One.

Duel : Basa versus Swai Taste Comparison
For those of you who have tried both of these catfishes!
I must say that I feel like an EXPERT when it comes to the taste of these two. Whilst both fillets seem to look and cook similarly, I say the taste is different! When I have tasted the Swai a number of times, I have yet to match it to the exquisite taste of Basa.

I don't want to influence my readers' opinions, but I do think Swai has a much MORE mild taste. Both of these fish have great texture and meatiness. They hold up well through a variety of cooking methods. BUT, I yearn for that elusive mystery taste of Basa.

This makes me seriously think that I need to come up with a recipe that adds a little mystery. I believe marinating this fish can help to add zip and zest to the taste.

What do YOU think?

swai fish personal tips graybox
Some Personal Tips!
Check out my tips and techniques for thawing and preparing this fish.

Tips on Thawing

swai fish in plastic wrapper
It's easy to do! First of all, you get a good idea of what the fish fillet looks like. For those of you familiar with basa, it surely looks similar!

I love how each fillet comes vacuum-sealed in the plastic wrap.

To thaw, I do it two different ways!

If I have plenty of time, I will place the entire unopened individual vacuum-sealed package in temperate water in the kitchen sink. You'll be surprised how soon it thaws! At the most twenty minutes.

If I don't have a lot of time, I snip the one end of the individual package. Then I fill it with temperate water and stand it up in the sink. In about ten minutes, it is semi-thawed and ready for the pan.

Tips on Pan-Frying

swai fish pan frying tips
I usually prepare it this way! I don't like a pan that is too hot, but usually keep it to medium heat.

Adding a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan before the butter helps to keep the fish from sticking. I know; yes, the pan is teflon-coated, but I still like a little oil.

When you are seasoning your fish in the pan, you can add the amount of cayenne pepper that you like. However, please sparingly apply garlic salt, salt and pepper as you don't want to add too much of those.

You might opt to hit the one side with a light dash of garlic salt and hold the salt and pepper for serving.

IMPORTANT: I like to try and get a little crispiness and will often lower the heat and let it crisp up and get a little darker.

Tips on Serving

pan fried swai fish on corelle dinner plate
It helps to have fancy dishes! Presentation is important and I present my pan-fried swai fish fillet on my Corelle Bamboo Leaf Square Dinnerware Set.

That is actually a picture of the luncheon plate which is much smaller than the dinner plate. That's probably the best tip on this page; i.e., downsize your plates to control portion sizes for a healthier lifestyle!

When I place my fillet on the plate, positioning is important - this one is on the diagonal. Then, you can place your vegetables and rice on either side.

Oh, and I will also empty all the frying pan crispy oil and butter and crust over the top of my fillet when serving. When I add rice, I will put that over the rice too!

other delicious recipe for swai fish graybox
My Other Delicious Recipe!
You can grill this or bake it ... your choice.

Parmesan Crumbed Swai Fish Recipe by JaguarJulie
I prepare it in the frying pan!

Parmesan Crumbed Swai Fish

Here is another one of my tasty recipes! This is the type of recipe that you will want to try in the oven. Baking is a great option for this type of catfish.

It also helps to melt the flaked parmesan cheese and have it meld with the bread crumbs.

One fillet of Swai
1/4 cup flaked Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Vigo Italian Style Bread Crumbs with Romano Cheese
One Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One Tablespoon of I Can't Believe Its Not Butter
One half teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
Dash of Garlic Salt
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Side Dish: How about rice?

  1. Heat up frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Add olive oil and butter to pan and allow to melt and blend together.
  3. Place fish fillet in pan.
  4. Season with cayenne pepper.
  5. Grill on one side for about five minutes.
  6. Flip fillet and season with a little more cayenne pepper.
  7. Sprinkle bread crumbs uniformly on top.
  8. Sprinkle flaked parmesan cheese on top.
  9. Grill for another five minutes.
  10. You can grill a little longer if you like a crispier fillet.
  11. I like to flip my fillet to crisp up the bread crumbs and cheese.
  12. Serve with optional rice dish of your choice.

Sweet Onion-Glazed Swai Fish

Sweet Onion-Glazed Swai Fish
From the back of the Publix package! As you will find that the taste of this fish is very mild, it helps to add some extra flavors to the recipe. I like how this recipe uses a browning sauce along with brown sugar. The addition of balsamic vinegar surely helps to mellow out the sweetness.

12 oz. Publix Swai Fillets, thawed
1 -1/4 cups frozen diced onions
1 teaspoon browning sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Cooking spray
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 deg. F.
  2. Coat baking pan with spray.
  3. Season fish with salt and pepper; place in baking pan.
  4. Preheat medium saute pan on medium-high.
  5. Coat pan with spray.
  6. Add onions, cover, and cook 4 minutes until tender - stir often.
  7. Add browning sauce and brown sugar; cook 2-3 minutes, uncovered - stir often.
  8. Add balsamic vinegar, cook 1-2 minutes - stir often.
  9. Spoon mixture over fish, bake 10-12 minutes.
  10. Serve with steamed vegetables.
Prep time: 10 min; Cook time: 15 min; Ready in: 25 min; Yields: Two.

Tex-Mex Crusted Swai Fish

Tex-Mex Crusted Swai Fish
From my Publix seafood department! I personally like a recipe with a little spice or kick. You use taco seasoning along with cheesy crackers for the coating! Plus this one offers a little crunch!

4 Swai Fish Fillets, thawed
1 -1/2 cups fish-shaped cheese crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons reduced sodium taco seasoning
2 eggs, beaten [or 1/2 cup egg substitute]
Cooking spray
Prepared salsa [optional]

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.
  2. Coat baking sheet with spray.
  3. Crush crackers finely, then combine with seasoning.
  4. Dip fish into eggs [allow excess to drip off].
  5. Dip fish into cracker crumbs, press with fingertips to coat evenly.
  6. Place fish on baking sheet, coat fish with spray.
  7. Bake 13-15 minutes or until fish is opaque and separates easily.
  8. Serve with salsa.
Prep time: 5 min; Cook time: 20 min; Ready in: 25 min; Yields: 4.

More Tasty Swai Fish Recipes
Keep in mind that Basa and Swai recipes are interchangeable! I've got to get busy and try these other recipes so that I can make my recommendation on the best way to prepare the fillets!
  • Panko and Parmesan-Crusted Swai
    This recipe has a breading of combined breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. It is reportedly crunchy and tasty too. Personally, I love this cook's presentation and delicious photography!
  • Seasoned Swai Fish Fillet
    Spices you'll need include cilantro, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. White wine and lemon juice are additional ingredients.
  • Swai Recipes: 10 ways to cook the budget-friendly fish
    Swai fillets work well with any topping. On this page you will find references to other people's recipes for this fish. It has become popular for budget-conscious cooks.

Basa Fish vs. Swai Fish Pictures

Basa Fish vs Swai Fish Pictures
A visual comparison of two fishes -- Basa Fish vs Swai Fish! In comparing these two related catfishes, you be the judge.

Take a look at these two fish pictures which I have prepared. These are the images that you will find on the plastic packages.

What do you think about the way they look as to any noticeable similarities?

You know, before I compared these two images side by side, I really thought they were more similar in appearance.

Oh, pardon the pun!

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.

Seriously, have you tried this type of catfish yet?
Have a favorite recipe? What's you take on this Asian food?

History: What is Swai? Recipes and History was originally created on Squidoo by JaguarJulie on April 25, 2014. On April 25, 2014 this lens earned the Squidoo Purple Star Award for quality content.

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