How to Cook Basa

Battered and deep fried basa fillets is just one of the recipes you will find on this page
Battered and deep fried basa fillets is just one of the recipes you will find on this page

Basa is one of those species of fish which are known by many different names around the world. As well as basa, popular names include river cobbler, bocourti and pangassius, among others. Native to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, basa are in present times extensively farmed for the international market. Their sustainability and similar texture and taste to many endangered species of ocean fish make basa a delicious, cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to particularly the Atlantic cod and haddock.

This page will look at a number of different ways in which it is possible to cook basa and provide basa recipes to suit a variety of tastes and occasions.

A fresh basa fillet ready to be cooked
A fresh basa fillet ready to be cooked

Pan Fried Basa Fillet in Breadcrumbs with Homemade Chips

This basa fillet was coated in egg and breadcrumbs and shallow fried in oil
This basa fillet was coated in egg and breadcrumbs and shallow fried in oil

The chips to accompany this breadcrumbed basa fillet can of course be prepared any way of your own choosing. In this instance, a medium to large potato was peeled and chopped in to chip sizes. The chips were firstly boiled in water for five minutes, before being drained and plunged in to cold water for a minute or two only, in order to cool them quickly. They were then drained again and refrigerated in a plastic dish with a lid for a minimum half hour.

The chips should then be carefully patted dry in a clean tea towel and deep fried for five minutes at 150C/300F. They should be drained on kitchen paper, covered and allowed to cool before being placed back in the dish and refrigerator for a further half hour.

Finally, they are deep fried a second time at 170C/350F for six or seven minutes (while your basa is shallow frying) until beautifully golden, before being drained on fresh kitchen paper and served as the perfect accompaniment to your fish.

Breadcrumbs and beaten egg for coating the basa fillet
Breadcrumbs and beaten egg for coating the basa fillet
Breadcrumbed basa fillet is shallow fried
Breadcrumbed basa fillet is shallow fried
Basa fillet plated and ready for the chips
Basa fillet plated and ready for the chips

Ingredients for Breadcrumbed Basa Fillet

1 basa fillet
4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedge and sprig of basil to garnish

Method

Spread the breadcrumbs out on a plate. Break the egg in to a flat bottomed bowl, season and beat lightly with a fork or small hand whisk to combine.

Pour some oil in to a non-stick frying pan large enough to contain the fillet and gently heat.

Draw the basa fillet firstly through the egg and pat on both sides in the breadcrumbs. Draw it back through the egg and pat in the breadcrumbs a second time. This makes for a much more even and crispier coating. Place it in the frying pan and fry over a medium heat for five minutes each side.

Plate the basa fillet and arrange the chips alongside. Garnish with the lemon and basil and serve. Tartare sauce is an optional but delicious further accompaniment to this dish, either homemade or store bought.

Deep Fried Goujons of Basa with Homemade Tartare Sauce

Deep Fried Basa Fillets with Salad and Salsa

Basa fillets coated in batter and deep fried in oil
Basa fillets coated in batter and deep fried in oil

Although the basa fish in this recipe is deep fried in oil, you will see that a deep frying pan has been used, rather than a deep fat fryer. This is entirely optional but it does allow you to better monitor the fish fillets as they cook.

Do be very careful frying in this way and do not overfill the pan with oil. About two-thirds of the way up the side should be the maximum level to which you add oil to ensure safe frying and eliminate any likely overspill.

Ingredients per Serving

(Basa and Salad)

1 basa fish fillet
2 tbsp plain/all purpose flour
Cold water as required
2 large lettuce leaves
2 thin slices red onion
Wedge of fresh lime to garnish

(Salsa)

1 medium tomato
2” piece of cucumber
1 clove of garlic
3 or 4 basil leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

The salsa should be prepared in the first instance and refrigerated for at least a couple of hours for the flavours to fully infuse.

Cut the tomato in half and the cucumber in half, lengthways. Use a teaspoon to carefully scrape out and discard the watery seeds and pulp from each. Finely dice and add to a glass or stone mixing bowl. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the bowl with a handgrater before adding the torn basil leaves, seasoning, olive oil and lime juice. Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Basa fillet halved for deep frying
Basa fillet halved for deep frying
Deep frying basa fillets
Deep frying basa fillets
Basa fillets are drained on kitchen paper
Basa fillets are drained on kitchen paper
Simple salad bed for basa fillets
Simple salad bed for basa fillets

Begin to prepare the basa by cutting the fillet in half with a sharp knife as shown, along the natural line that runs the length of the centre. This makes battering the fillets, placing them in the oil and particularly turning them in the oil a lot easier. It also improves presentation as the batter coating is more even.

Put the flour in to a flat bottomed bowl and season with salt. Slowly pour in cold water, whisking all the time with a fork or hand whisk, until a batter is formed with the consistency of thick cream or paint. If you accidentally add too much water, simply add a little more flour. The batter should ideally be covered and refrigerated for half an hour but this is not essential.

Bring the oil in your frying pan up to a fairly high heat. One at a time, draw the basa portions through the batter, holding each above the bowl for a few seconds to let the excess drip off before very carefully placing them in the hot oil. Fry for three to four minutes each side until the batter is crisp and golden.

Lay three or four sheets of kitchen paper on a dinner plate and transfer the fried basa fillets to it to drain and obtain that extra crispness while you prepare the salad.

Wash and dry the lettuce leaves, roll them up together in a cigar shape and shred. Break the red onion in to strands and mix it with the lettuce. Season lightly and arrange on a plate. Taste the salsa for any necessary seasoning adjustments and spoon it carefully alongside the salad.

Lay the drained fillets of basa on top of the salad, top with the wedge of lime and serve.

Baked Basa in Bacon with Roasted Potatoes and Trimmed Beans

The basa in this recipe has been wrapped in bacon before being oven baked
The basa in this recipe has been wrapped in bacon before being oven baked

Cod is the fish which is perhaps most commonly cooked wrapped in bacon but, as mentioned previously, basa is often used as a sustainable alternative to cod and can therefore also be cooked in this way.

Basa fillet and bacon
Basa fillet and bacon
Bacon is wrapped around the basa fillet
Bacon is wrapped around the basa fillet
The skin is rubbed off the potatoes
The skin is rubbed off the potatoes
Basa fillet cooked in bacon
Basa fillet cooked in bacon

Ingredients per Serving

1 half fillet of basa
3 rashers of unsmoked bacon (streaky bacon in UK)
5 baby new potatoes
2oz trimmed green beans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little vegetable oil for greasing foil

Method

Put the unpeeled potatoes in to a pot of slightly salted cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for thirty to thirty-five minutes. Drain the potatoes, return them to the empty pot, cover and leave to cool.

Put your oven on to preheat to 180C/350F.

There should be no need to salt the basa fillet as it will obtain this from the bacon but a little black pepper may be used for seasoning if desired. Carefully wrap the basa fillet in the bacon, almost like bandages. Lightly oil a large sheet of tinfoil and lay the wrapped fillet carefully in the centre. Fold the foil to form a loose but sealed tent and place it on a baking tray. Bake for twenty minutes.

The skins should rub or peel from the cooled potatoes fairly easily. They are then deep fried in hot oil for six or seven minutes until beautifully crisp and golden, before being drained on kitchen paper.

The beans are simmered in boiling, slightly salted water for three minutes.

Remove the basa fillet from the oven and carefully unwrap the foil (beware of escaping steam!) Use a fish slice to transfer it to a chopping board and half with a sharp knife. Lay it on a serving plate, with the roasted potatoes and drained beans alongside.

Basa Mini Fishcakes with Spicy Tomato Dip

Simple and delicate basa fishcakes and spicy tomato sauce make a great starter or appetizer
Simple and delicate basa fishcakes and spicy tomato sauce make a great starter or appetizer

Pour the tomatoes in to a small saucepan. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the tomatoes with a small hand grater. Very finely chop the chilli and add it to the pan, along with the sugar. Note that the seeds can either be removed or left in, depending upon how hot you want the sauce to be. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the pan on to a moderately high heat and stir well. When the mixture starts to simmer, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer only for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.

After twenty minutes, a lush sauce should have formed. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow it to cool.

The spicy tomato dip for this recipe was homemade but you may prefer to buy one from your supermarket. If you do wish to make it yourself, you can even prepare it the night before and refrigerate it. The dip here was served cold. The ingredients for the dip featured here are immediately below and the simple cooking method is to the right. These quantities will make enough dip for two portions of fishcakes.

Ingredients

1 8oz can chopped tomatoes in tomato juice
1 clove of garlic
1 red chilli pepper
½ tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Basa fillet is poached in milk
Basa fillet is poached in milk
Basa, mash and seasoning are mixed together
Basa, mash and seasoning are mixed together
Prepared basa fish cakes ready for refrigerator
Prepared basa fish cakes ready for refrigerator
Pan frying the basa fishcakes
Pan frying the basa fishcakes
Salad and dip ready for basa fishcakes
Salad and dip ready for basa fishcakes

Fishcake Ingredients per Portion

1 large baking potato
½ basa fillet
½ pint milk approx for poaching
1oz butter
2 tsp plain/all purpose flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
3 basil leaves (plus 2 for optional garnish)
Salt and white pepper

4 lettuce leaves
¼ small white onion

Method

Peel the potato, chop it in to large chunks and add them to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil on a high heat then simmer for twenty-five minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot, along with the butter. Mash, cover and allow to cool.

Chop the basa strip in half and add it to a small saucepan, along with enough milk to ensure it is covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for two minutes only. Turn off the heat, cover and cool.

Scrape the cooled mash in to a small glass or stone mixing bowl. Add the flour and stir to combine. If it is too dry, add a little of the cooled milk from the poached basa but make sure the mixture is firm enough to mould in to fishcakes. Flake the basa fillet in to the bowl, add the roughly chopped basil leaves and season with salt and white pepper.

Scatter a little flour on a plate. Divide the fishcake mixture in to four and roll in to balls. Gently flatten between the palms of your hand to a thickness of around a half inch. Lay them on the floured plate. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.

Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to a small non-stick frying pan. Bring it up to a fairly high heat and add the basa fishcakes. Fry on medium for four minutes each side until beautifully golden.

Shred the lettuce leaves and finely slice the onion to form a bed for the fishcakes. Lay the dip alongside before plating the fishcakes and serving.

What do you Call Basa? Have you ever Tasted it?

3.8 stars from 5 ratings of Basa Recipes

Whether you call it basa, river cobbler, pangassius, or something else entirely, hopefully at least one of the recipes on this page has appealed to you. I hope you will give some of them a try to find out - if you don't already know - just what a tasty eating fish basa can be, at the same time helping in the fight to promote sustainable fish.

Thank you for your visit to this page and your time spent here. Any comments you have may be left below.

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8 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, robie2 and thanks for visiting and commenting. I hope it's a fish you can find and get to try. It is tasty and versatile and these are just a few ideas for how it can be cooked.

Hi, Tony and thanks. Yes, you can buy it here. I get it from Morrisons in vacuum packs of two fillets by Young's Seafood from the fish counter. I know Asda and Tesco also sell it but it may only be in frozen form and labelled river cobbler or even Vietnamese catfish. Definitely a fish you should try and probably would be ideal for a fish curry! Cheers.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 5 years ago from Yorkshire

Hi Gordon

you've dug deep here, Basa fish is a new one for me. It looks good and I'm sure it tastes good too. The fish cakes are good idea in case you are not too keen on the taste as you can add any tastes you like into the mix. Can you buy it in this country? cheers tony


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

The basa is a fish I do not know-- very interesting and informative and the recipes and pix have whetted my appetite.


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Hi, ladyrain. Thanks for the visit and comment. The deep fried option is probably my favourite. I hope you enjoy it.


lady rain profile image

lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

Looks delicious! I can't wait to try the deep fried basa recipe. Thanks!


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom Author

Thank you, InTuneWithCooking. I've heard it's a very popular fish in Australia. I hope you enjoy the fish cakes :)

Thank you, snakeslane, for the visit and comment. I hope you will try out one or more of these ideas and enjoy what you try very much.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

Wow! This is a very informative recipe article. You have enough here for several Hubs. Really great easy to follow recipes for Basa and potatoe side dishes. Thank you very much Gordon Hamilton! Photos are also really attractive. Regards, snakeslane


InTuneWithCooking profile image

InTuneWithCooking 5 years ago from Australia

Great ideas. Basa is very cheap here in Aust. I don't tend to use it much myself, I'm not too keen on the taste, but maybe in a fishcake it might be better.

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