Thursday, July 16, 2009

grilled curried swai

I had an itch for grilled fish so I swung by the HT Oak Tree Asian market to see what looked interesting. They had really big fat fillets of basa catfish at the counter, but when I asked for a couple I was directed toward the frozen packages in a nearby cooler. English is not the first language of any HT employee I've ever spoken with, but I think the deal was that she was doing me a favor by steering me toward some that were still frozen and were two to a package. They may also have been less expensive.

Well, they weren't as nice and thick as the ones that caught my eye, but looked like they'd do fine so I grabbed them. At home, upon closer inspection, I noticed that they weren't labeled basa after all. They were swai, or Pangasius hypophthalmus. Swai is also a southeast Asian catfish, and is frequently sold as basa. Those two wikipedia links, as well as this Basa buyer's guide, have some interesting history about the "catfish wars" and fish counterfeiting.

In any event, I cut up the fillets, marinated them for 90 minutes in a curry sauce, and skewered them.

The grill wasn't as clean as it should have been so I lost some tasty bits, but they turned out decently. It's a very mild fish, of course, and I thought the combination overall was excellent.

I used a similar marinade for grilled chicken thighs the other night. Very, very good. The ingredients are:
  • mayonnaise
  • enough olive oil to thin it a bit
  • mild curry powder
  • ground cumin seed
  • minced garlic
  • cracked black pepper
  • salt
I just wing the proportions. It's good with powdered ginger, too. It doesn't have much heat, so cayenne or another hot pepper can be added for that. It stands up really well to grilling, even at high heats. I think it would be great on lamb, too.

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