Also known as basa, swai is a species of catfish native to the Mekong and Chao Phraya basins of Mainland Southeast Asia.
Despite perhaps being a fish most people haven’t heard of, swai is an important food within the international market, and is a tasty fish served throughout the world in many different ways.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best swai recipes out there!
1. Lemon Butter Swai Fish
As with cod, and other kinds of white fish, swai pairs well with lemon flavoring, which is why this dish is immensely popular amongst swai proponents.
Pan fried, and incorporating simple ingredients that include salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and Italian parsley, this dish really brings out the flavor potential that the swai has to offer, and can be served alone, with pasta, salad, or a potato dish of your choosing.
2. Oven Baked Swai
Served with a simple marinara sauce made from petite (diced tomatoes), chopped onions, garlic, and salt and pepper, this oven baked swai dish takes the plain white fish and imbues it with a Mediterranean flair to create something memorable, comforting, and delicious.
Rich and tasty, this goes from start to cooked in 45 mins, and can be a great way to get essential oils, vegetables, and flavor into your midweek menu.
3. Smothered Swai
This unconventional yet highly appealing dish might not be how the swai was originally intended to be prepared, but the taste cannot be argued with.
Forming a rich tomato based sauce made with garlic and basil, this is then drizzled over the swai, before being smothered (hence the name) with heapings of sharp cheddar cheese, and oven baked until melted and golden brown.
This truly is a delicious way to consume this fish, and speaks of the true, versatile potential that the swai has to offer.
4. Easy Garlic Swai
Taking a Greek approach to the swai, this recipe takes garlic and Greek seasoning and applies them to the swai, where it is then oven cooked for 20 mins.
In many ways, the taste palette of this dish resembles a standard Mediterranean chicken dish, and this can be paired with seasonal roasted vegetables or salad to create that true Mediterranean feel.
5. Chili Lime Swai
If you are feeling more in the mood for Thai food, then this chili and lime swai recipe might be right up your alley.
Incorporating lime wedges, chili powder, salt and pepper, and olive oil, these filets are then pan fried, searing the flesh just enough to create an attractive crispiness to the taste.
Serve with stir fry vegetables, or with noodles for a refreshing taste of Thailand that is laden with spice, tanginess, and flavor.
6. Breaded Baked Swai
These oven baked swai filets are coated with panko breadcrumbs to create a crispy outer layer, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and combined with Italian grated cheese to create a gooey, crispy, and utterly indulgent fish dish.
Perfect served with seasonal vegetables, choice of potatoes, or with a salad dish, these really are an all round delicious way to prepare this incredibly versatile fish.
7. Spicy Catalina Swai
For something altogether different, these spicy Catalina swai filets are grilled to perfection, incorporating chile-garlic sauce, mustard powder, red chili flakes, white and black pepper, salt, and topped with Catalina salad dressing, to create the perfect blend of rich and spicy.
Serve with salad or fries for a great taste of Catalina, or experiment with stir fried vegetables to give a little flavor and crunch to your dish.
8. Braised Swai Steak
This dish is essentially swai stew, with the swai meat being cut into chunks, braised, and served with a Vietnamese sauce composed of Vietnamese fish sauce, garlic powder, paprika powder, oyster sauce, Asian red shallots, green onions and fresh chili.
In many ways, this is a perfect all round dish, as effective in the summer heat or the winter months.
Rich and complex, this stew is perfect served with steamed or stir fried vegetables – such as runner beans, which will give a perfect crunch to this indulgent, comforting dish.
9. Blackened Swai With Mango Salsa
This spicy swai recipe incorporates a somewhat South American/Iberian vibe to create a complex and delicious flavor palette that will leave you wanting more.
Combining the spice of cayenne pepper, chili powder, and onion powder, and combining this with the coconut sugar and nutmeg to provide the perfect balance between sweet and spicy, the rich and sticky mango salsa adds the perfect release from the heat, making a refreshing and complex dish that perfectly complements the natural taste of the swai.
10. Deep Fried Swai With Chips
Everyone has heard of the stereotypical British dish, fish and chips.
Well this version takes that well known classic and gives it a distinct Asian twist, swapping the usual cod or haddock for swai, and deep frying it in batter to create a crispy, salty treat.
Perfect to be served with crispy, deep fried chips, this dish is the perfect coming together of past traditions and the intermixing of global cuisines.
Season with salt and vinegar, or with a lemon wedge for a perfect citrus burst amongst the fish and potato.
11. Panko & Parmesan Swai
While normally reserved for an Italian oven baked chicken dish, this panko and parmesan swai recipe pushes the versatility of the swai to new limits, creating a crunchy, cheesy concoction that is the perfect winter warmer.
Lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, and served alongside a small selection of salad vegetables or fries, this is the perfect feel good meal, taking an already delicious fish and combining it with cheese and breadcrumbs to create the perfect comfort dish.
For those seeking healthier fats, this dish can be served alongside avocados, or a potato salad, giving a light and summery feel to this warming, indulgent recipe.
12. Pan Seared Swai
As with any fish, the best way to enjoy the natural flavors is to pan sear it with basic seasoning.
Taking paprika, onion, garlic and chili powder, sear the fish in the pan until golden brown, using butter to stop it sticking to the pan.
Then lightly season with salt and pepper to bring out the flavor of the fish, before serving on a bed of mixed rice and stir fried vegetables for the perfect healthy fish dish.
For additional flavor, add a fresh lemon wedge to add a much needed jolt of citrus amongst the spice.
13. Baked Cajun Swai
Incorporating banana peppers, habanero peppers, cayenne peppers, and cajun seasoning, this creole inspired dish could be straight out of New Orleans.
For the best taste, bake, or steam the fish until tender, or lightly fry it in the pan to add a slight crisp to the flesh. Then serve with the cooked peppers, adding a devilish kick to this delicious, light dish.
In many ways this is the perfect coming together of flavors and textures, with the delicate flesh of the cooked fish contrasting with the crunch of the peppers, and the spicy bite of the habaneros and cayenne peppers.
This really is delicious, but isn’t for the faint of heart!
14. Swai Fish Tacos
Drawing on a Mexican classic, these swai fish tacos take the spice of chili powder, red bell peppers, and jalapeno peppers, and combine it with minced garlic and monterey jack cheese to create a delicious taste of summer.
Consumed with warmed corn tortillas, and served with a selection of fresh, crunchy salad vegetables, this can be the perfect way to spend time with family and friends.
Spread everything out and let them create their own concoctions, and enjoy the delectable flavor palette that this perfectly seasoned fish creates.
For the best taste, deep fry the swai to create a crunchy texture for the tacos, or pan sear for a filet taste.
And there we have it, 14 of the best recipes for swai fish.
If there is one thing that can be said about the swai fish, it is that it is extremely versatile in terms of how it can be cooked, topped, and enjoyed – perhaps going some way to explaining why it is so incredibly popular around the world.
Why not try some for yourself? Something tells me you won’t regret it!
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