Basa fish is a catfish, scientifically referred to as Pangasius Bocourti. It is also commonly called river cobbler, Vietnamese cobbler, and swai. Native to Vietnam, Basa fish is found abundantly in the Mekong and Chao Phraya rivers and is extensively exported worldwide.
Over the years, Basa fish has gained popularity amongst people who are cautious about their diet. It is suitable for one following a Keto diet. Basa fish is also very versatile. You can incorporate it into any cuisine you like.
Basa has a light pinkish flesh and a firm texture. It is a single bonefish with a broad frame and small head. In addition, it is an economical alternative to cod or haddock due to its similar taste and texture. Western countries sell it as a boneless fish fillet. Basa fish is prevalent in restaurants owing to its low price and mild smell. In addition, It is easily harvested in wild rivers and fish farms at a low price.
Nutritional Facts of Basa Fish
Fish is always a good source of protein and essential nutrients. Basa is a white fish rich in high-quality protein and is low in calories. Due to its low-calorie content, it is a perfect choice for people who wish to lose weight or are on a low-calorie diet.
1 serving (126gm) of basa fish contain:
- Calories: 158
- Protein: 22.5 grams
- Fat: 7 grams
- Saturated fat: 2 grams
- Cholesterol: 73 mg
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Sodium: 89 mg
In addition to this, Basa is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to maintain good heart health and strengthen cardiac muscles. They also promote brain health.
Health Benefits of Basa Fish
Like other fish, Basa too has some good health benefits.
1. Basa Fish Promotes Weight Loss
Basa is high in protein and low in fat. Therefore, people trying to cut down their calorie intake can opt for Basa. Since it is high in protein and low in fat and calories, it helps get rid of excess stored fat in the body.
So, if you want to lose weight, you can add Basa fish to your diet. High protein, low fats and low calories in Basa fish help you lose weight.
2. Basa Fish High In Protein
Basa contains high-quality proteins. That means it provides all the essential amino acids that our body needs. For example, one hundred grams of Basa fish contains 13 grams of protein. As you know, protein is critical for our body to repair cells and make new ones. It, in turn, creates a foundation for tissues, muscles, and an overall fit body. In addition, proteins are essential for growing children, pregnant women, and young adults.
3. Basa Fish Low Carbohydrates
Being an animal food, Basa is devoid of carbohydrates. Therefore, it is an ideal option for weight loss diets. In addition, it is an excellent meal for lunch. It will not make you feel lethargic or sleepy.
So, you can add Basa fish to your meal for lunch and still feel energised throughout the day.
4. Helpful for Asthmatic Patients
As per a study on asthmatic mice, consumption of Basa fish for long durations shapes colonic bacterial communities and aggravates pulmonary inflammation in asthmatic mice. Therefore, it provides reasonable food guidance for asthmatic patients.
5. Basa Fish Improves Brain Health
Eating fish improves brain health. Basa has DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which boosts brain health. We know that omega-3 fatty acids are good for our health. But, docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is directly responsible for neural cell growth. It is an omega-3 fatty acid required to keep the brain functioning normally and efficiently.
Long-term consumption of adequate DHA can help improve memory, improve learning ability and reduce the rates of cognitive decline. To reap the brain benefits of DHA, you can maintain a consistent intake of DHA-rich foods like Basa fish.
6. Basa Fish Helps Maintain Blood Pressure
Basa has low sodium content. One hundred grams of a serving of Basa provides 48 mg of sodium.
Therefore, people suffering from high blood pressure should regularly include Basa in their diet.
7. Basa Fish Contributes to Longevity
Basa fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and can significantly reduce your risk for stroke, heart attack, and brain.
In addition, research proves that people with higher levels of omega-3 fats in their bodies lived for 2.2 years longer than those with low levels of omega–3 fatty acids.
8. Basa Fish Provides Vital Minerals
Basa is rich in minerals like zinc and potassium. Zinc and potassium are essential for boosting immunity, healing injured tissues, and regulating electrolyte balance in the body.
Health Risks of Consuming Basa Fish
Eating any type of fish comes with certain risks. Whether freshwater or saltwater, fish can take in harmful or dangerous chemicals from the water or food. In addition, chemicals like PolyChlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Mercury can develop in their bodies over time. High levels of these chemicals can cause harm to your brain and nervous system. Hence the water from which we harvest the fish must be clean and free from chemicals and pollutants.
Being a farmed freshwater fish, the ponds in which Basa fish grow can be infected. In addition, its ability to survive in all types of contaminated water makes it a risky food. Moreover, fish farmers also use various kinds of chemicals and drugs to get rid of microbes in the pond. Fish like Basa ingest all these harmful chemicals in their bodies and can become toxic.
According to a study, Vibrio Bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning, was detected in Basa fish exported to European countries like Germany and Poland. Always make sure that Basa is adequately cleaned and cooked. According to experts, you can remove toxins from the fish if you cook it well on high heat. Look at the colour of the flesh. It should not have any dis-colouration anywhere. Even if you are steaming or pan-frying Basa, ensure that it is entirely cooked to perfection.
Healthy Basa Fish Recipes
Basa fish can be grilled, baked, pan-fried or steamed. It blends well with Indian spices and gives a unique aromatic taste to the dish.
1. Basa Fish Curry in Coconut Milk Recipe
A flavourful Indian curry prepared with coconut milk and basa fish, a great accompaniment to rice or rotis.
- Oil – 2 Tsp
- Basa Fish Fillet, Cut into pieces – 1
- Big Onion, chopped – 1
- Ginger and Garlic paste – 2 Tsp
- Big Tomato, Chopped – 1
- Coconut Milk (Thick) – 1/2 Cup
- Water – 1 Cup
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 Tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 Tsp
- Coriander powder – 1 Tsp
- Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves – 2 Springs
- Salt to taste
- Heat 1 Tsp oil in a pan and add the chopped onions.
- Saute till translucent and add the ginger – garlic paste followed by the chopped tomato.
- Saute till the tomato turns soft
- Cool and grind into smooth paste by adding little water.
- Heat the remaining oil in a pan and add curry leaves followed by the ground paste.
- Fry it for a couple of minutes and add turmeric powder followed by chili and coriander powder.
- Saute till the raw smell goes off and add half a cup of water along with the required amount of salt.
- Cook it for 5 minutes on a medium flame.
- Add coconut milk along with water, if needed, and fish pieces.
- Lower the flame and cook till the fish gets cooked about 5 minutes.
- Add the garam masala.
- Simmer for a minute and serve hot.
2. Pan Fried Basa Fillets Recipe
A quick and easy recipe using Basa fish
- Baby potatoes, quartered – 350g
- Extra-virgin olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Vinegar – 1/2 tbsp
- Lime zest and juice – ½
- Chilli, seeded and finely chopped – 1
- Garlic cloves, crushed – 2
- roughly chopped coriander – 3-4 tbsp
- Olive oil – 1½ tbsp
- Plain flour – 3 tbsp
- Skinless and boneless Basa fillets – 2
- In a medium pan of salted, boiling water, cook the potatoes for 12 minutes, or until tender.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the salsa: In a bowl, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, lime zest, and half lime juice.
- Add chili, half garlic, and coriander. Season and add extra lime juice as per your taste.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Season the flour and use it to coat the Basa fillets
- Transfer the coated fillets to the pan.
- Fry for 30 seconds over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-high.
- Fry for two more minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.
- Drain the potatoes. Return to the pan, along with the remaining olive oil and garlic.
- Lightly crush with a potato masher or a fork, and then divide between 2 plates.
- Top with the fish and drizzle over the chili and coriander salsa.
Fish is a highly healthy option for non-vegetarians. Basa fish contains high-quality protein and essential micronutrients. This fish primarily feeds on plants and can grow to a length of 4 feet. Basa fish is quite a popular choice in the international market due to its reasonable price and rich flavour. Eating Basa fish once a week is sufficient to reap all its health benefits.
In the last decade, the popularity and demand of Basa have grown significantly. Now, even India harvests Basa fish known as ‘Indian Basa.’ You can eat this fish to keep your heart and brain health in check. In addition, It does not take long to cook Basa fish. You can experiment with different recipes and cooking styles using Basa. Always buy fresh Basa fish from the market and avoid frozen quality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can Basa fish help in weight loss?
A. Basa is high in protein and low in fat. People trying to cut down their calorie intake can opt for Basa. It prevents the accumulation of excessive fat in the body, especially around the hips, thighs, and stomach areas. Consuming Basa once or twice a week can help in weight loss.
Q. How to consume Basa fish?
A. Basa can be fried, steamed, or pan-fried. It blends perfectly with Indian spices and gives a rich flavor to the dish. Basa should be cooked completely. Always cook Basa on high heat to remove any toxins and impurities. You can consume Basa every week without any worries. It is packed with high-quality protein and is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Q. What are the health risks of consuming Basa fish?
A. Fish live in water and can take in harmful or dangerous chemicals from water or from the food they eat. Chemicals like PCBs and mercury can develop in their bodies over time. High levels of these chemicals can cause harm to your brain and nervous system. The ponds in which Basa fish is grown are prone to infections and its ability to survive in all types of contaminated water makes it a risky food. In addition to this, fish farmers also use various types of chemicals and drugs to get rid of microbes in the pond. Fish like Basa ingest all these harmful chemicals in their bodies and can become toxic.
According to a study, Vibrio Bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning, was detected in Basa fish exported to European countries like Germany and Poland. Ensure that Basa is properly cleaned and cooked. According to experts, toxins in the fish are removed if it is cooked well on high heat. Look at the color of the flesh. It should not have any discoloration anywhere. Even if you are steaming or pan-frying Basa, ensure that it is not partially cooked.
Q. Why is Basa fish so cheap?
A. Basa fish can grow easily in any kind of water. It feeds on plants and can even survive in contaminated water. Farmers grow Basa easily and without much effort. It is cheap as it requires less maintenance and survives irrespective of the condition. Basa is now grown in different countries and is available easily in abundance which contributes to its cheap price.
Q. Is Basa rich in protein?
A. Basa is packed with high-quality protein. 100 grams serving of Basa fish contains 13 grams of protein which is higher than that in eggs. Basa provides all the essential amino acids required by our body.
Q. Can Basa fish help in weight loss?
A. Yes, a moderate level of consumption once or twice a week can help in weight loss because of its high protein and low-fat content.
Q. How to consume Basa fish?
A. Basa should be cooked thoroughly in high heat. You can fry, steam or pan-fry it with spices to provide rich flavour to the dish
Q. Why is Basa fish so cheap?
A. Basa can easily be cultivated in any kind of water, requires less maintenance, and feeds on plants. In addition, Basa is now exported to different nations and easily accessible in abundance.
Q. What are the benefits of Basa fish?
A. High protein content, essential fats, Omega-3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA, naturally low on sodium, contributes to building muscle mass and maintaining heart and brain health, weight management, and blood pressure regulations.
Q. Which is the best fish to lose weight?
A. Salmon, Trout, Mackerel and Tuna are some of the examples of the best fish that can help you lose weight
Q. Is Basa fish bad for health?
A. No, on the contrary, basa is low in calories and high in protein. Eating lean fish-like Basa promotes longevity and reduces the risk of heart disease. It’s a healthy addition to a balanced diet in moderateness
Q. Is Basa fish healthy?
A. Yes. It is a healthy addition to a balanced diet. But you should cook it properly before consuming. Also, the benefits outweigh the risks of toxins present in the breeding grounds of the fish.
Q. Why should you not eat Basa fish?
A. Basa can survive extreme conditions and absorb nutrients from contaminated waters. Thus, it has a risk of hosting toxins in its body and overconsumption of basa fish can lead to chemical toxicity.
Q. Is Basa high in mercury?
A. Basa fish may collect contaminants like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). But studies found that these residues are within safe limits.
Q. Are Basa fillets good for you?
A. Yes, basa fish is loaded with proteins, healthy fats, omega3 fatty acids and low in sodium and cholesterol boosts overall health. If you adequately prepare Basa fillets, it fetches you all the benefits.