• Michael Laxer

Basa Fillets in Spicy Tomato Sauce



Basa is mild and inexpensive Asian catfish that works with a wide array of sauces and flavours. It has become widely available in grocery stores.


Today we are going to make basa by simmering it in a delicious and slightly spicy tomato and vegetable sauce.


To begin you want to chop up both 1 onion (medium to large) and one yellow bell pepper into slices. Heat some olive oil to medium-high heat and sauté the onion and pepper slices, adding 2 cloves of minced garlic, in a large saucepan for around 4 minutes.



To this add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and half of a cinnamon stick, and salt to taste, stirring it all together for about a minute. Then add 1 can of whole plum or San Marzano tomatoes with the liquid. Blend this into the saucepan's contents, stirring constantly, for around 2 minutes.


Then add 1-2 scotch bonnet peppers that have been sliced down the middle. Do not slice the pepper in half. Simply cut it lengthwise on one side with a knife so that the inside seeds are exposed. Add the pepper to the mix. 1 pepper will make for a mildly spicy dish, while 2 will be that much more intense!


Finally, add 1/4 cup of V8 vegetable cocktail and stir in. Bring it all to a boil and then reduce heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.



Meanwhile, take 3- 4 medium sized basa fillets and slice them into 2-3 inch pieces.



Add the basa pieces to the tomato sauce in the saucepan along with around 1/4 cup of white wine. You want enough liquid and sauce to just cover the basa pieces. Bring to a boil again and again reduce the heat and simmer for around 10-12 minutes or until the basa is cooked to your liking.


When done, remove the cinnamon stick and the peppers from the pan and serve the fish in the sauce atop rice. The dish goes perfectly with a squirt or two of lemon, a Greek style salad and some white wine. It is one of my truly favourite fish dishes!


(This recipe was originally posted on the first The Left Chapter blog in 2016)

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