All about basa

by Sanjeev Kapoor

A native to Thailand, Basa is a species of catfish with mild flavoured white meat and is on menus across the world. Let us see why this fish is becoming such a favourite.

Why basa is best - 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. This is perfect for any preparation because it easily blends with the flavours of the ingredients it is being cooked with. Basa is grown in one of the best and most suitable environments for fish farming - The Mekong River in Vietnam.

Health – Fish in general are healthy because of the low fat and high protein content. Basa fish comes loaded with essential omega 3 fatty acids, which are fatty acids essential for good health. Besides being beneficial to the hair and skin, regularly including basa in your diet also helps curb cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease. The proteins in a large fillet of basa fish are almost equal to that in a piece of chicken breast and that too, minus all the fat! 

Pocket savvy - The cost of growing basa is minimal when compared to the cost of breeding other fish which makes it commercially viable, hence can feature regularly in your diet without weighing down your pockets too much. 

Storage and buying – Basa fish has taken over world markets and is easily available in super markets in packaged frozen fillets. However, finding a whole fresh Basa fish in local fish markets in India is rather difficult. When buying basa look for firm white flesh and avoid the ones that have brownish coloured markings or a pale yellowish flesh. Store basa in an air tight container or cling wrap and always refrigerate. Make sure the fillets are properly thawed before using them. Also avoid storing for more than 3 days and re-freezing the basa once you have thawed it.

Varied ways to cook – This delicately flavoured fish compliments mild seasonings beautifully. The fish is such that you can grill, pan fry, steam and even cook these fillets in a tandoor. You can use them in Indian fish curry recipes or to make quick Asian stir fries. One fabulous easy way to make this fish is to grill it and serve with a lemon butter caper sauce. Serve this with some couscous or brown rice and you have a wholesome healthy tasty meal ready in minutes! 

These are my 3 favourite recipes made with Basa fish! 

Air Fried Lemon Fish Air frying the fish gives it the unmatched gorgeousness of fried fish with barely any use of oil. Served with a tangy lemon sauce this is a healthy recipe filled with textures and flavours!

Grilled Fish with Coriander Butter Mildly seasoned basa fish fillets served with coriander flavoured butter on a bed of arugula leaves and iceberg lettuce. Quick ‘n’ easy, healthy and delicious – all in one!

Steamed Fish with Orange Sauce - Capsicum strips steamed along with the basa fish, lends it a delicate flavour. Served with roasted capsicum pieces cooked in an orange sauce this recipe when served with a portion of glass noodles topped with the remaining sauce and a salad makes for a light and tasty meal.

The Heart foundation recommends eating two portions of fish in a week and what better option than basa to fulfill this requirement! has several more recipes using basa and other seafood

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.