Monday, December 16, 2013

Basa Fillets in Yogurt Sauce

Basa Maach-er Doi Maach
Basa is also known as Mekong catfish and Swai. The latter has recently become available in mainstream grocery stores in our area. It is a white fish that has a more delicate flavor than catfish.

When I begin cooking a meal, I raid the fridge and lay out all the vegetables on the counter. Then items get paired with the three or four, sometimes five, dishes I plan to make. That's how half a red pepper or Kashmiri Mirch/Capsicum made its way into this fish dish. Half a container of plain Greek (or hung) yogurt was used in this dish and the other half in a Beet & Cucumber Raita.

In this way, every vegetable plays an important part in the meal and rarely, if ever, do I discard one because it's past its prime.

Reduce and keep the heat on low before adding yogurt to the pan. Do not allow the yogurt sauce to boil as this may cause it to separate or curdle.

1 lb. Basa fillets (or Orange Roughy, Halibut or Tilapia)
½ red pepper/capsicum, sliced
4 oz. plain Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
¼ tsp. cumin seeds or Shah Jeera
1 large onion, sliced
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger paste

2 tsp. Hunt’s tomato sauce or tomato puree
½ tsp. Kashmiri mirch/chili powder or to taste
2 tsp. chopped cilantro (optional)
2-3 green chilies, stem removed and slit
Salt to taste


  1. Cut fish into large pieces, apply salt and set aside. 
  2. Stir yogurt into a smooth paste & set aside.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat & add cinnamon, star anise and cumin.
  4. When cumin seeds begin to sputter, add onions & fry until translucent.
  5. Add tomato, chili powder, ginger & garlic pastes and stir well.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes until oil resurfaces and add fish pieces.
  7. Brown fish on one side, turn over and brown other side.
  8. Add red pepper slices & turn heat down to low.
  9. Pour yogurt into a well in the center of the pan.
  10. Stir gently to combine yogurt with gravy, basting the fish with sauce.
  11. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes, 
  12. Adjust salt to taste and garnish with cilantro & chilies.
  13. Transfer to serving dish & enjoy with Basmati rice.

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