Basa, a Vietnamese catfish has suddenly caught the fancy of many chefs and fish lovers in the city. Rhea Hemant Samtani, owner, Call For Fish, started a business selling Basa fish and today proudly says, “Basa is a fresh water fish and is produced in fish pond farms where it is fed with soya beans, hence making it more nutritious to consume.
These fast growing fish produce large white fillets with no bones, flesh that is moist with a light firm texture, and a mild fish flavour — exactly the combination preferred by most people. Hence we wanted to get this fish to the taste buds of people who stay away from sea food just because of the fish smell.
Also we are conscious our products being healthy and nutritious to consume.” Chef Arindam, from Oakwood Premier adds, “Though imported but easily available in India, similar to sole which is widely used in different kind preparation in varied world cuisines. Captive breeding makes the price very competitive.”
Why is BasaSpecial?
Samtani says, “It is nutritious, healthy to consume, easy to clean. Above all, this it is extremely versatile and can be cooked in a variety of cuisines. You could saute this in a black bean or a garlic sauce and get an Oriental preparation, toss it up with Pasta in Pesto or Arrabiata sauce and get a Continental preparation.
It can be served as snacks in the form of fish fingers along with chips. Finally you could do a up an Indian style curry with this fish. All this without spending too much time cleaning the fish and de-boning it.”
Chef Arindam says, “South East Asian sweet water fish which does not have any distinct taste or smell of its own hence it automatically blends according to the dish. The flaky texture of this fish suits all preparations — grilled, fried, poached, steamed, smoked and tandoori style.”
Chef Arindam’s Panko and Herb Crusted Basa fillet with Wasabi Pea Mash
• 180-200 gm white Basa fillet
• Half cup batter (combine beaten eggs, flour and water)
• 100 gm panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
• 10 gm finely chopped fresh parsley
• 10 gm finely chopped fresh basil
• 10 gm finely chopped fresh thyme
• 200 ml refined oil to fry
• Salt and black pepper powder to taste
Wasabi Pea Mash:
• 80 gm Frozen Peas
• 10 gm wasabi
• Few cloves of garlic
• Orange Ginger Sauce
• 1 tsp butter
• 5-10 strands fine ginger juliennes
• 50 gm Orange Marmalade
• 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Method: In a bowl, whisk the batter along with salt and pepper. Coat the fish fillet evenly with the batter draining out the excess. In a plate, combine the panko with chopped herbs.
Place the batter coated Basa fillet on the panko herb mixture and evenly coat both the sides. Shallow fry the fish in pre heated refined oil, till its golden brown and crisp, place it on top of wasabi pea mash.
Wasabi pea mash
Thaw the green peas, heat little butter in pan, sauté chopped garlic add the green peas toss them and set aside. Ensure not to overcook the pea as they are pre-blanched, over cooking will make the colour look dull. Cool it and puree it along with the wasabi till you get a smooth texture.
Orange Ginger Sauce
Heat some butter, sauté ginger. Remove from heat, let it cool for a few minutes. While it’s still warm, add orange marmalade and finish with dash of soy sauce to taste.
Spread warm wasabi pea mash on a plate and place fried fish on it. Drizzle with orange ginger sauce and serve with lemon wedges.
Rhea Samtani's Basa Fish Fillet Recipe
• 2 medium basa fillets
• Salt & fresh ground pepper
• 1 (14 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
• Half sweet green pepper, cut in large chunks
• Half red onion, cut in large chunks
• Half medium cauliflower, cut in large florets
• 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning, divided
Method: Rinse and dry the basa fish fillets on a paper towel. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of the cajun seasoning and salt and pepper. Spray both sides with veggies spray, set aside. Spray a large non stick fry pan with veggie spray. Add green pepper, onion, cauliflower.
Sprinkle with the other teaspoon of the cajun seasoning; stir fry for three minutes. Add stewed tomatoes; place a lid on the fry pan and simmer for five minutes. Move the veggies around the edges of the fry pan and place the basa fish fillets down the middle. Spoon some of the veggies and juices over the fish.
Replace the lid and simmer for five to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish or until the fish flakes easily. The basa fish fillet recipe is ready to serve over rice or with baked potato.